As compensation lawyers we see the aftermath of a driver’s momentary distraction every day.
The most common are from people checking a text message or reaching for a phone which has fallen under a seat.
There are so many more reasons for a driver not paying attention to the outcome being catastrophic – not just for the driver but for other occupants in the vehicle, other road users and pedestrians.
Tough new penalties for distracted drivers are now in effect (commencement 1 February, 2020).
The Government has rightly had enough.
Since the new penalties for distracted driving commenced if you use your phone illegally whilst driving the fine has been increased to $1,000 and a minimum of four demerit points.
It is illegal to:
• hold your phone in your hand to text or email,
• hold your phone in your hand to talk,
• hold your phone in your hand to receive a call, or
• perform any other function while driving or riding a bicycle.
Penalties apply even when you’re stopped at traffic lights, and includes holding the phone up to, or near your ear.
Though slight variations exist on the penalties and rules vary depending on what type of license you hold, overall the laws are even tougher.
Drivers holding a Learner level or P1 license cannot use a mobile phone in any way whilst driving.
Learners will lose their license after one offence.
P Platers will lose their licence or be given a one year good behaviour period after one offence.
Find out how your level of license is effected by the introduction of driver distraction penalties on the safety awareness campaign page here.
Further information can also be obtained from the Motor Accident Insurance Commission.
This article was written by Mike Klein, Compensation Lawyer and Partner at GKS Law.
Mike works in Compensation Law and has more than eighteen years’ experience working with GKS Law clients to secure their future.
You can contact Mike or any of the Compensation Law team by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 07 3284 5093.