Traffic Offence, Officer Said I Was Playing My Phone with Two Hands (VIC)

Hi all,

This is my first traffic offence, I was driving home in the CBD area. 2 officers on motorbike looked at my car from the left side (according to my brother, he was the passenger).
They asked me to park and said that I was using my phone with my two hands. But I wasn't, I told him I took my phone out from my pocket (this was during red light) to put in on my cup holder, but I wasn't playing with them. Then they said that doesn't make sense, it was all recorded in their camera I was playing with my two hands.

I didn't know I wasn't supposed to touch my phone even during red traffic light no matter what the reasons are, I just read it up once I got home.
Is there anything I can do? Or I have to pay the fine?

I'm so disappointed at myself.

EDIT:

Okay, I didn't know before posting this will gather so many camps. There is left and right.

I know that I wasn't supposed to play with my phone while you are driving be it at a traffic light.
Somehow why I posted here is that I wanted to get an opinion on what I can do if from my not so great memory that I didn't play my phone with my two hands as the officer said. I just took out my phone and maybe the raise to wake function was up and the screen lighted up and at that moment the cop saw it and thought I was playing with my phone.

As I have written, I have been driving for ages and this is my first offence. I followed the rules like mad, never speed, or drive recklessly etc. I am against people playing their phone while driving as I know that it would cause many things. My uncle once went through an unfortunate event when someone was playing their phone while driving. So we know in our family we do not want to put people in that situation.

As for the law, I have broken I did touch my phone while in a traffic light, but I wasn't playing with it I just took it out and place it at cupholder this I admit and I will sure pay the fine.

What I don't get is that, as some have said that you can legally pass your phone to a passenger. That for me is a distraction as well right? So I don't get it why they picked on like the small things I did tell the truth I wasn't playing my phone with my two hands, just took it out and put it in the cupholder.

Yea, of course, I will move on people :D hahaha you will feel so shitty for few days but oh well like some of you have mentioned, it is not worth the time to think it over and over, I have better things to do. We make mistake, learn from it and move on.

and why I posted it here, because I wanted an opinion on it as this is my first offence and where else would I go because literally, I'm on this website every single day looking for bargains.

Thank you for those that have shed some lights onto this topic and most of you that have read this thread as well as written up long suggestions, I am grateful and hope this will be a good reminder for all of us that they are watching us everywhere and every time hahaha

P.S. If you know how I can stop people from commenting that would be great, I guess we can end it here :-)

closed Comments

  • +42

    No MS Paint diagram?

  • +20

    The traffic police hate mobile phone use so don't expect any mercy. You can go to court and hope for some procedural error in evidence but unlikely.

    • -5

      Yea, I know. But I wasn't using them at all.

      • +22

        OP, are you a P holder?

        I told him I took my phone out from my pocket (this was during red light) to put in on my cup holder, but I wasn't playing with them. Then they said that doesn't make sense, it was all recorded in their camera I was playing with my two hands.

        Your phone was perfectly fine in your pocket. No reason for taking it out. The court will tell you it doesnt make sense either.

        Lesson learned, now pay up & don't use/touch your phone while driving, ever.

        • +1

          No, fully licensed.
          Yea I have no idea why I went and reached for my phone too, like no call no nothing just want it out of my pocket…
          guess it was my unlucky day.

          • +5

            @froddoog: It's called nomophobia.

          • +7

            @froddoog: No, fully licensed.

            Everyone knows using/touching mobile while driving is illegal. Ofc the exceptional of touching for GPS while in the cradle, for full license drivers.

            Yes it is your unlucky day. Don't try to contest it.

            • +3

              @Yummy: Most states allow for you to pass it to a passenger.

              Some states allow playing with GPS and music apps when in a cradle (others must be set before take off). Most allow you to use it to pay in a drive though. But you can't use voice to text to listen to a text message…

              Taking a phone out of your pocket to put it in the cup holder would be a grey area, just like putting a phone in a cradle while driving.

            • -1

              @Yummy: I thought as long as the phone in the cradle you can touch whatever you want? like text message etc

            • @Yummy: Yeap I guess I was unlucky and I have no reason to take out my phone, I just don't know why I did lol.

              Super uncluky

          • @froddoog: I sometimes take my phone out of my pocket when I'm expecting a call because it's much easier than fiddling around your pocket when your phone rings. Maybe that was your reason? I usually do this before driving though.

            • @baskinghobo: It was my fault that I took out my phone, I didn't even know why I took it out for.

              • @froddoog: The screen on your phone may have turned on ( lock screen ), enough for the observer (police), to think you were “playing” on the phone, as you had mentioned your 2 (even if 1) hands were used… :(

            • +1

              @baskinghobo: Take it out and put it where?

              On the seat next to you? If you push the answer button on the phone this is most likely an offence.

        • -16

          So what happens if your phone is vibrating or making noises in your pocket while driving? Don't you have a right to put it away out of sight/sound so you don't get distracted? What if your passenger urgently needs to make a call or check something?

          Seemingly we live in a country that wants to keep us safe by taking away any shred of personal decision making. Just follow a blanket rule for all 25 million people, and some people swallow it like pancakes with maple syrup.

          • +1

            @SlavOz:

            So what happens if your phone is vibrating or making noises in your pocket while driving? Don't you have a right to put it away out of sight/sound so you don't get distracted?

            OP’s fine seems a bit harsh. Probably safer to put the phone out of sight before driving or use cradle with BT/CP/AA.

            pancakes with maple syrup.

            Yum.

          • +12

            @SlavOz:

            Seemingly we live in a country that wants to keep us safe by taking away any shred of personal decision making. Just follow a blanket rule for all 25 million people

            Poor personal decision making is what makes us end up with rules for 25M people. Each rule has been developed as specific response to a danger caused by ‘personal decision making’.

            When a personal decision puts the rest of us at risk, it is not the right decision.

            • -18

              @Euphemistic:

              Poor personal decision making is what makes us end up with rules for 25M people. Each rule has been developed as specific response to a danger caused by ‘personal decision making’.

              Actually, no. The overwhelming majority of drivers never caused an accident by using a mobile phone. 95% of us consistently made the right personal decision.

              In typical Australian fashion, the mobile phone laws were a knee jerk response to a few accidents where mobile phone use may have been a factor (although most likely had to do with other things such as poor driver education, but of course the government needs to shift the focus away from their own incompetence)

              • +3

                @SlavOz:

                Actually, no. The overwhelming majority of drivers never caused an accident by using a mobile phone. 95% of us consistently made the right personal decision.

                So it’s acceptable for 5% of drivers to cause accidents? And probably have a lot of near misses with the 95%?

              • -1

                @SlavOz: Yes you are right and not just a knee jerk reaction only but also probably someone used a situation to lobby the government to make these stupid lawas and government jumped at the chance of it due to the revenue they can make from it. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In an era where phones having become vital for alot of tradies and other business. Its a pretty stupid law. I understand if you are texting or driving erratically etc. But if the car was at a stand still / red light, it should have been different rules. That would have saved the mess. As it is, people basically feel if there is no difference at the lights or while i am driving, and at the lights i am more vulnerable to be caught (due to standing still and other people / cops being able to see you as well as cameras…

            • @Euphemistic: What was the risk of a person taking their phone out of their pocket at a light?

              There's a lot of posts saying "It's the law" like somehow the law is always right and never needs to change.

              Laws are fallible and this is a good example of it.

              • +2

                @dmac: Never said it wasn’t a dumb bit of the law, but it is the law. It’s for the 1% that can’t be trusted to interact with the phone and to make it simpler for the police to determine if you are doing the wrong thing. It straight away stops the arguement that ‘I DidN’T UsE iT, i JuST ….’

                • @Euphemistic: Do we agree that it is a dumb law that has been misapplied?
                  I agree that we need laws so that reckless actions can be punished. For example, we have laws about how adults should cross a road but I don't expect adults to follow them to the letter of the law. The law is there so that reckless actions can be punished, by trusting police to have common sense. I trust that people can generally make reasonable decisions that don't fit neatly within the law i.e. crossing the road within 20m of a crossing when there is no traffic.

                  Do you think the letter of the law always applies or that police should be taught to use common sense i.e. fining people for taking their phone out of their pocket at a red light.

                  I'm concerned that people aren't encouraged to think for themselves and instead are treated as imbiciles that need laws to know how to behave. That we simply need to follow laws to be a good citizen. Laws are important but if it's the only lens that we see an issue through its very limiting and hands all power over to authority i.e. government, who are invested in interpreting and creating laws to line their pockets.

                  • @dmac: Right now phone use is a serious problem. We need full enforcement of the ‘draconian’ laws until everyone realises you just can’t use your phone while in command of a vehicle.

                    The police do apply some leniency to many laws, but the two biggest problems on our roads, DUI and phones, don’t get any leniency for a reason. If there is any leniency to be had for these, it’s up to the magistrate, not the police.

              • +1

                @dmac: Not saying I agree, but the risk is distraction.

                I've seen people go through red lights after stopping because they were distracted and by the time they realised the green light was for the turning cars and not them, they are most of the way through.

                I've also seen where the front car moves forwards anticipating the green light, but then stops, and the car behind moves. But because they were not fully focused, they didn't stop.

                • -1

                  @dizzle: Yes. The law is there for those people and actions but why do you think it should apply in this case?

                  I've used my phone at a red light plenty of times - remember this is legal if it's to change a song or search for directions and I never have done those things you mentioned. Is there something intrinsically different about searching for directions than other actions i.e. checking the weather at a stopped light or taking your phone out of your pocket?

          • +1

            @SlavOz: So what happens if your phone is vibrating or making noises in your pocket while driving? Don't you have a right to put it away out of sight/sound so you don't get distracted?

            Leave your phone at home, please.

            • +1

              @Yummy: Some of us are adults.

              • @SlavOz: Some adults does not have any sense.

            • @Yummy: Hahaha, now be realistic

            • @Yummy: my iPhone has a 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' function

          • -1

            @SlavOz: The anti-vaxxer strikes again

          • @SlavOz: Who keeps their phone in their pocket whilst driving?

            • +3

              @smartazz104: Many of us. I don’t like to take calls while driving, and don’t get many anyway so quite often my phone is in my pocket. My phone is not my first thought when I get in the car, driving is.

              Occasionally I’ll get a call while with passenger and will fish it out and pass to passenger to answer for me.

              • +1

                @Euphemistic: I think this is what’s the ridiculous part though, in that when you fish it out and get caught in the process, you’ll get fined. The rule is very restrictive and often does not allow for leeway.

                • +2

                  @Jaystea: Yes, it’s probably a silly rule, but the line needs to be drawn somewhere. If you are fishing it out of your pocket you’d better pass it to a passenger, or you could be fined.

                  • +2

                    @Euphemistic: The law says you're not allowed to touch your phone at all while driving. So if your phone rings in your pocket or on the driver side storage, your passenger needs to reach over you and start fiddling with your pants.

                    Imagine thinking this makes the roads safer.

                    • @SlavOz: Leave your passenger at home, please!

                      Dont forget to use your bluetooth.

                    • @SlavOz:

                      The law says you're not allowed to touch your phone at all while driving.

                      No it doesn’t - at least in NSW.

                    • +1

                      @SlavOz: is that your phone in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me … ?

        • That is not true at all. Unless you unlock and play with your phone, a phone is just a metal rectangle. Shouldn't be any different to any other rectangle you can own and take out of your pocket.

  • +1

    You can get away if you did have a toy phone or calculator that look like a phone.

    • Totally correct

      • Then they said that doesn't make sense, it was all recorded in their camera I was playing with my two hands.

        Take em on their bluff

    • +10

      "I was doing a calculation at a red light"

    • Really?

      I thought anything that could caused a distraction, even eating while driving, could be an offence.

  • -1

    check the road rules and if you have breached then too bad, If not, ask to see the evidence. Did they record it on a mobile phone?

    • They’d have had helmet cams on.

      • -1

        Yea they said it was recorded on the helmet camera, should I actually ask for internal review?

        • +1

          Waste of a stamp

        • +1

          Wait a few weeks then ask for proof then.

          After all, its not illegal to pass a phone to a passenger, for example.

          • @ATangk: Your request for 'proof' will be rejected.

            That evidence will only be available if the OP objects to the ticket and takes it to court.

        • +1

          What do you have to lose?

  • +13

    Tell them you were playing with yourself.

    • -6

      That is a good idea actually. WOW! brilliant.

      • +1

        The offence of obscene exposure is found in s5 of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW). It states that 'a person shall not, in or within view from a public place or a school, wilfully and obscenely expose his or her person'. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 penalty units (fine) or six months' imprisonment.

        • +1

          I guess this is worst than touching phone.

        • What if you're busting and need to do it behind a tree? Does this mean you should leave your pants on and just wet it, because then you're not exposing yourself?

          • +1

            @ihbh: Busting to urinate beyond comprehension or not, in NSW, it is an offence to urinate in public.

            Section 4 Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) prohibits anyone from conducting themselves in an offensive manner in or near (or within hearing or view from) a public place or school.

            This offence is a summary offence with a maximum penalty of 3-months imprisonment or $660 fine with a criminal conviction in the Local Court.

        • +1

          I don’t have to expose it to play with myself …😂😂
          No fine or jail for me.

          Driving lately I’ve seen people all over the road, eventually pass them and you know there texting, they need to come down harder on this behavior.

          I have a remote for my radio i often think will i get done while using it because they think I’m using my mobile.

      • Just don't say you were spanking the monkey with your phone.

  • +15

    I told him I took my phone out from my pocket (this was during red light)

    I didn't know I wasn't supposed to touch my phone even during red traffic light no matter what the reasons are

    Is there anything I can do? Or I have to pay the fine?

    I don't think so (not a lawyer) but you basically admitted to breaking the law, the government can't exactly say "well you know what mate, if you didn't know then don't worry about it". Maybe if like you had a reason to make it a bit grey, but I just don't see what you're going to argue besides "I didn't know the road rules" which kind of makes it sound worse to be honest.

    I'm so disappointed at myself.

    Many people are going to make a mistake in life and get fined for something. So I wouldn't take it too hard, just accept you made a mistake, know not to do it in the future, and continue to enjoy life.

    • That is true, It's like arguing that I didn't know the rules. But I guess could argue that the cop was saying I was using the phone two hands but I didn't I was just taking it out of my pocket?

      Yea, I have been thinking about it since yesterday and being so hard on myself. I just couldn't help it…

      Do you know whether if I do pay them, can I ask for instalment payment?

      • +1

        Again not a lawyer or anything but they did say they recorded it so maybe ask them for the recording, if they don't give it to you, maybe it helps you because maybe they don't actually have the evidence? And then compare it with the fine you have, the fine should tell you exactly what you're being fined for, as then you can see whether they have evidence for what you're being fined for (so it doesn't super matter what the cop says, if they fined you for "holding a phone" and they have a camera of you holding a phone, you're kind of stuck).

        Not hundred percent sure, but checking the fines vic you can do installments

        https://online.fines.vic.gov.au/en/Pay-by-instalments/Instal...

        If you have cash problems try talking to them about it, apparently they can help out on it, maybe free volunteering or something? Not sure if thats true though.

        • You are right, I will wait for the fine to come first and see what they say on the fine and then ask for evidence.

          Many people are going to make a mistake in life and get fined for something. So I wouldn't take it too hard, just accept you made a mistake, know not to do it in the future, and continue to enjoy life.

          Thank you for the light-hearted comment. I guess I should just take it easy and learn from this.

          If you have cash problems try talking to them about it, apparently they can help out on it, maybe free volunteering or something? Not sure if thats true though.

          Yea will definitely ask them about this too.
          thank you :)

          • +1

            @froddoog: The evidence could be the sworn testimony of of one or two police officers.

            The fine will probably be $455. You could start saving now rather than waiting for the infringement notice.

            • @trongy: I think it's $485 without processing fees.
              Yea gotta save up now :/ I heard it will take at least 6 weeks.

  • +2

    You can't even use your phone to pay for your maccas drive through for op's info.

    • Okay really? I have been paying with my phone while doing Maccas drive through. Is there any clear information on this?

      • +1

        Yes. It is illegal.

        • +3

          McDonald’s drive-through sign raises questions about controversial road rule
          “If you intend to use your mobile phone to pay at the drive-through window, apply the hand brake, switch the engine off and then access your mobile phone,” Victoria Police wrote. “In doing so, you are not considered driving.
          https://www.news.com.au/technology/motoring/on-the-road/mcdo...

          • @holdenmg: So why cant I do that at the traffic lights???
            Specially easy if you have one of those cars that shuts itself off at lights. ??

            • +1

              @pharkurnell:

              So why cant I do that at the traffic lights???

              It’s a combination of two things.
              1. People using phones at traffic lights tend to be distracted and disrupt the flow by not being aware when to move off. Therefore rule is don’t use it unless parked.
              2. Often it is difficult for an officer to determine if you are using your phone or just holding it. The temptation is to use it while holding. Therefore the rule is don’t touch your phone unless it is in a cradle or you are only passing to a passenger.

              Combining the two: Don’t touch your phone at traffic lights.

            • +3

              @pharkurnell: I don't think you are allowed to park your car in the middle of the road.

              • -2

                @Krankite: I regularly wack on the handbrake at red lights.
                And if my car is one that shuts off automatically, I'm now considered parked

                “If you intend to use your mobile phone to pay at the drive-through window, apply the hand brake, switch the engine off and then access your mobile phone,” Victoria Police wrote.

                “In doing so, you are not considered driving.”

                • +1

                  @pharkurnell: I don't disagree but I suspect that your car is either classified as driving or parked. If it is driving you can't use your phone and if it is parked you can't be on the road.

                  The whole drive thru situation just highlights how much easier the law would be if we could actually trust common sense discretion to be appliad properly

                • @pharkurnell:

                  regularly wack on the handbrake at red lights. And if my car is one that shuts off automatically, I'm now considered parked

                  You best go and read up on what is considered parking, and where you can do it. You can’t park in the traffic lane.

                  Edit:

                  "park" , in Part 12 and for a driver, includes stop and allow the driver's vehicle to stay (whether or not the driver leaves the vehicle).
                  Note 1 :
                  "Driver's vehicle" is defined in this Dictionary.
                  Note 2 : Part 12 deals with restrictions on stopping and parking.

          • +1

            @holdenmg: interesting - I would have thought McD's would be considered private property and outside police jurisdiction over public roads

            unless McD's has voluntarily signed an agreement for the police to treat their private property as public for the purposes of policing and writing parking tickets

            you know - all those hyped-up teenagers getting into knife fights in the carpark over the last Chicken McNugget …

            the linked news.com article - 'A Transport NSW spokesperson told news.com.au that mobile phone rules applied to drivers on all roads and road-related areas.

            “A road-related area is an area that is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking vehicles and therefore includes drive-throughs,” they said.

            “If you want to use a handheld mobile phone, your vehicle must be parked out of the line of traffic.”'

            that looks onerous and egregious to me - the article says some laws may be changed - and this one looks to me like one due to change …

        • +2

          Isn't it private property? Curious, not arguing

          • +1

            @mctubster: that's what I would have thought. Just like you can use your phone in your driveway.
            In fact your car doesn't even need to be registered if you don't take it off your property.

            • +1

              @bohn: OK read the article. Seems the law is getting left behind as usual - would be an interesting argument in a court re "parking" in a drive through. Sounds like that would technically not be legal either. Maybe McD's can just rename it into Park and Buy (fast food).

              Don't get me wrong, I ride a bicycle 36KM round trip most days to the office and see a lot of crazy phone usage, but this seems over the top even to me

              Cheers

          • +2

            @mctubster: It says:
            “A road-related area is an area that is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking vehicles and therefore includes drive-throughs,” they said.

            • +1

              @holdenmg: So they just need to have a club or membership where you have to be a member to enter the drive through. A free membership. That way not open to the public ;)

  • +2

    You can’t touch your phone while driving. If you want to touch it, pull over and put the car in Park, and then take it out

    • +4

      What if you drive a real man's car with a manual gearbox?

    • +6

      You can’t touch your phone while driving.

      Fully-licensed drivers can actually touch their phone, but only to make/receive a call or to use it's navigational and audio features while it's in a commercially designed phone holder that's attached to a vehicle. I know this for NSW/VIC and but not sure about the other states and territories.