27 Oct 2009

Police to use discretion enforcing cellphone ban

10:15 pm on 27 October 2009

Police say they will use discretion when deciding whether people should be ticketed during the early stages of the new ban on hand-held cellphones in vehicles.

The ban takes effect on 1 November as part of the Road User Amendment Rule, which outlines 24 new or updated road rules designed to improve safety and efficiency for road users.

People caught using a cellphone while driving from Sunday will face an $80 fine and 20 demerit points.

But motorists will be able to use their phones if they have a hands-free device installed in their vehicle.

National road policing manager Superintendent Paula Rose says when any new law comes into effect there is a bedding down period and staff will be encouraged to use their discretion.

Ms Rose says she expects the biggest issue around the ban will be helping people understand what the law actually says.

The legislation is being introduced primarily for safety reasons. At least one study has found that using a mobile phone while driving can increase a driver's risk of being involved in a crash by up to four times.