A number of P-platers are getting caught breaking road rules they probably didn’t know existed.
While most are aware of speed restrictions and bans on consuming any alcohol before driving, some are unknowingly breaking the law when it comes to rules around mobile phones.
There can be confusion when it comes to certain mobile phone rules, as those on their full license can use their devices hands-free if the phone is secured in a mounted fixture or used through the car’s Bluetooth.
But these same laws do not apply to P-platers in most parts of the country.
P-platers are not allowed to mount their devices to use GPS maps or use Bluetooth to talk on the phone hands-free, or listen to audio.
In all states except for WA and Tasmania, the law states P1 drivers must not use their mobile phones (hand-held or hands-free) for any function while driving.
The law also extends to P2 drivers except for in Queensland where they are allowed to use phones hands-free.
Researcher Verity Truelove from Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety found many P-platers were actually not aware of the laws, despite them being in place for more than 10 years.
“The P1 license phone-related restrictions were widely unknown and the least complied with, particularly regarding using the phone for Global Positioning Service applications and the use of Bluetooth to listen to music,” Ms Truelove said in a statement.
“The drivers I spoke to were also unaware of the penalties involved, with several stating they were now much more likely to comply given they’d been made aware of the laws and the severity of the punishments.”
Ms Truelove’s research also found the P-platers who were aware of the restrictions on playing music on their phone through Bluetooth broke the law “because they thought legislation had not caught up with technology, so dismissed the law as not ‘valid’.”
The laws apply to NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia.
But in WA and Tasmania the same mobile phone laws apply to all drivers, meaning P-platers can use GPS and Bluetooth as long as the device is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle.
In Queensland you can be fined almost $400 and three demerit points if a P1 driver breaks mobile phone laws.
In NSW drivers will be fined $337 and penalised five demerit points, which would result in a P1 driver losing their license.
In Victoria a driver will lose four demerit points and fined $484 for breaking the law and in South Australia P1 drivers will be fined three demerit points and $334.
In the Northern Territory provisional drivers are fined $250 and three demerit points.
Those in Western Australia who drive while using a hand-held mobile phone cop three demerit points and a $400 fine.
Drivers who also use a hand-held phone while driving in Tasmania are slapped with three demerit points and a $326 fine.