On the 10th day of Christmas . . . don't let your phone drive you to distraction

On the 10th day of Christmas . . . don't let your phone drive you to distraction

Central

There are plenty of things we want for Christmas - fines and demerit points don't tend to be on our lists, so remember that it is now against the law to use a mobile phone in the car while you are driving.

Central District's Road Policing Manager, Inspector Neil Wynne, says: "The legislation is new enough for us all to be very aware of it, and old enough that we are past the point of issuing warnings. The rush and stress of Christmas is not an excuse that will wash if you are found by police to be using your phone. I'm sure you have all have better things to spend $80 on."

The rules
• You cannot answer of make calls with a handheld phone while you are driving unless you are making a 111 or *555 call in a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop and park the vehicle.
• You cannot create, send or read texts, email messages or video messages while driving.
• The ban applies even if you are stationary at traffic lights, intersections or roadworks.
• If you have to answer a phone you need to carefully pull over to a safe location and stop.
The penalty - an $80 fine and 20 demerit points.

"Our best advice is that while you are in the car you turn your phone off," says Inspector Wynne. "If it can't ring it can't distract you, and if someone wants to get hold of you urgently they will leave a message or try you again."

This advice forms part of the 12 Crime of Christmas campaign by Central District Police who wish you a very merry and safe Christmas and New Year.

Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 06 351 2546 or 027 234 8256.