A NSW woman has been slapped with a $1,033 fine and four demerit points for using a mobile phone while driving despite the evidence showing she had two hands on the wheel.
Tracey says she almost had a heart attack when she opened the infringement notice on Tuesday after returning from an overseas trip.
“The first thing I did before unpacking was check the mail to see if there was anything urgent,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
“When I opened it and saw the amount, before even seeing what it was for, I almost got a small heart attack.
“My first thought was, ‘I must have read it wrong or there must be a typo’, until it dawned on me that it was the actual amount.
A very confused Tracey said she “almost couldn't believe it” when she read that it was for "driver use mobile phone handheld/resting on body".
“The ‘evidence’ they supplied was a photo of me driving with two hands on the steering wheel and three shadows on my body,” she said, “which made them conclude that at least one of them was a phone.”
The 33-year-old argues there is no way that any of the shadows could be her mobile.
“I was in the car with a friend next to me who was doing the GPS on her phone, so mine was either in the mid-console or in my bag,” she insisted.
“But definitely not on my body.
“I checked the size of my phone and it’s not that long and narrow [compared to the shadow].”
‘Bulls**t’: Fine sparks outrage online
Tracey was heading from Noosa to Brisbane back in January when the photo was snapped near Mount Coot-tha.
After only picking up the fine this week, she took to Facebook to share her outrage.
“I’m in a bit of shock,” she said online.
“I would like to contest it as the photo is based on shadows, not the actual footage of a phone.
“Also that would mean I had three phones on me as there were three shadows?”
Social media users responding to Tracey’s post slammed the fine as “such bulls**t”
“There’s no evidence,” one woman wrote. “Do not pay!”
“That’s unbelievable,” said another.
“Definitely write in and dispute the photo if it’s questionable,” suggested someone.
Fighting the fine for eating chocolate
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, Tracey, who describes herself as a “cautious driver”, says she’s requested additional footage to rule out the shadow was anything other than a phone.
“I get there is confusion about what the shadow is,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
“So I have asked if they have other footage that is more conclusive, and no doubt existing, that it is in fact a phone and not something else.
“We were eating snacks at the time so I believe it was a chocolate slate but with the black and white you can’t make out the colour of the wrapping.
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, the Department of Transport and Main Roads says drivers who feel that they have been incorrectly fined can view a high-resolution image online.
“Every person issued an infringement notice for a mobile phone or seatbelt offence can have the matter heard in a magistrates court,” a spokesperson added.
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