Australian drivers may wonder how contesting mobile phone camera fine works. We can’t deny that mobile phones have been an indispensable part of our day-to-day activities. However, their use while driving poses a significant road safety hazard.
To curb this dangerous practice, Australia has implemented strict laws and penalties for illegal mobile phone usage. Mobile phone fines are a relatively new enforcement mechanism, utilising sophisticated technology to detect drivers who are using their phones illegally. Authorities issue these fines on the basis of photographic evidence captured by roadside cameras.
Read on to learn about contesting a mobile phone camera fine.
- Using a mobile phone while driving is a serious offence in Australia, carrying hefty fines and adding demerit points to your traffic record.
- If you believe that authorities have wrongly issued a mobile phone camera fine against you, you have the right to contest it.
- The process of contesting a mobile phone fine involves requesting a review from the issuing authority or challenging the fine in court.
- Gathering evidence, understanding legal grounds, and seeking professional advice can be helpful when contesting mobile phone camera fine.
Information About Roadside Cameras
Roadside cameras in Australia can capture illegal mobile phone usage. These cameras specifically detect drivers who are using their mobile phones while driving. They use high-resolution cameras and artificial intelligence to identify drivers who are holding or using their phones illegally. The cameras can capture images of the driver, the phone, and the vehicle’s registration plate.
Roadside cameras are a relatively new technology in Australia, but they are becoming increasingly common. The cameras are typically located on major roads and highways, and they can operate in all weather conditions. The use of roadside cameras to detect illegal mobile phone usage is a controversial issue.
Some people argue that the cameras are an invasion of privacy, while others believe that they are a necessary tool to deter drivers from using their phones while driving. Despite the controversy, there is no doubt that roadside cameras are effective in detecting illegal mobile phone usage.
NSW Mobile Phone Laws
What are the rules for learner and provisional licence holders? In New South Wales (NSW), the regulations pertaining to mobile phone usage and associated penalties are more stringent for individuals holding Learner or Provisional licences compared to those with full, unrestricted licences.
For those holding an unrestricted driver’s licence in NSW, it is possible to face a charge and fine under Regulation 300 of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW). This is true if the driver is caught using a mobile phone while operating a moving motor vehicle or when the vehicle is stationary but not parked. Moreover, drivers may be ticketed for merely holding a mobile phone while driving.
The definition of use of a mobile phone in a moving or stationary vehicle is:
- Turning a mobile phone on or off while driving or in a stationary vehicle.
- Holding a mobile phone in a moving or stationary vehicle.
- Gazing at the screen of the mobile phone.
- Sending or typing messages on the mobile phone while driving or when the vehicle is stationary.
- Operating functions like making calls, sending messages, or using mobile apps.
These are important factors to take note of when contesting mobile phone camera fine. Nevertheless, unrestricted driver licence holders have some exceptions, as they can:
- Answer calls using a hands-free device.
- Respond to calls when the mobile phone is securely placed in a cell phone holder.
- Utilise a GPS navigation system if the phone is in a cell phone holder.
- Answer calls or use a mobile phone when the car is parked off the road with the engine turned off.
Defences for Mobile Phone Offences Defences to using a mobile phone while driving are contained in Regulation 300 of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW) and include:
- The mobile phone was in your pocket while driving;
- You used the phone in a police vehicle or emergency vehicle;
- You were using the phone screen as a visual display, or the phone was securely mounted to the vehicle;
- The vehicle was not being driven while you were using the mobile phone.
Requesting a Review of Your Fine
This is an important step to take before contesting mobile phone camera fine. If you believe a fine issued to you by a police officer is unjust or inaccurate, you have the right to request a review. This process allows you to challenge the fine and present your case for reconsideration. To initiate a review, you can choose from three convenient methods:
- Online: Visit the Service NSW website and follow the prompts to submit your review request electronically.
- By Mail: Download and complete the ‘Request for Review of Fine’ form from the Service NSW website. Mail the completed form along with any supporting documentation to the address provided on the form.
- In Person: Visit a Service NSW centre and speak to a customer service representative who will guide you through the review request process.
Contesting Mobile Phone Camera Fine: Special Circumstances
A police officer may instead choose to issue you with a Court Attendance Notice (CAN). This means that the matter will directly proceed to Court. Here are some special circumstances that the NSW Government considers when contesting mobile phone camera fine in a court:
- Medical Emergencies: Authorities may consider leniency if you were a part of medical emergency at the time of the offence where there was a need of immediate medical intervention. Proof of medical treatment or emergency documentation is necessary.
- Personal Circumstances: Revenue NSW takes into account personal circumstances when reviewing fines. Examples of personal circumstances include trauma, homelessness, mental illness, cognitive disabilities, or inability to control behaviour. Supporting documentation from medical practitioners, support agencies, or government departments is required.
- Personal Circumstances Including Disability and Mental Ill-Health/Homelessness: Leniency may be considered for those experiencing mental or medical illness, cognitive disability, or homelessness. A medical practitioner’s report is required to support the claim.
- Temporary Hardship: If you’re experiencing financial, medical, or domestic hardship, documentation supporting your claim is necessary, such as income statements, bank records, medical reports, or police documents.
- Financial or Domestic Abuse: Victims of financial abuse or domestic violence may seek leniency, and specific evidence requirements are discussed on a case-by-case basis.
- Deceased Persons: When the offender is deceased, documentation like the death certificate or other relevant evidence must be provided for review.
Looking to Dispute an Infringement Notice?
Did you receive a false mobile camera offence recently? Do you believe you have sufficient evidence to contest a mobile phone offence? If that is the case, you can seek legal help from JB Solicitors. Our team of traffic lawyers can help you gather evidence and present a strong appeal against traffic law offences.
Seek legal advice and message us today for all your traffic law matters.