We get it, trying to navigate the new mobile phone laws in NSW for 2021 is a difficult task. There’s a lot of confusing information that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Because of this, we’ve gone through it all, spoken to NSW Police and can break it down in simple terms for you! We’ve also got information about what can be done for a P-plater Mobile Phone solution.
It should go without saying, but, we’re not lawyers, we’re just providing our best interpretation of a law to assist you. For any official standings, seek out qualified legal advice.
What are the new mobile phone laws in NSW?
Basically, for unrestricted license holders, the new mobile phone laws say holding your phone at all whilst driving is a big fat no. If you have a fixed mobile phone cradle, such as the Scosche MAGDM Magnetic Phone Mount, you’re able to:
- Make or receive phone calls (including manually dialling the number)
- Set audio settings and functions, such as choosing a song from Spotify
- Setup and follow GPS guidance, such as Waze and Google Maps
Pretty much anything else will land you a $349 ($464 if in an active school zone) fine and make 5 demerit points (10 if double demerits) pull a vanishing act.
What about P-plater mobile phone laws?
So, everything is illegal under mobile phone laws NSW. For a P-plater, you just can’t touch your phone at all whilst driving; for any reason. Your phone can’t even be in a cradle. Left in your pocket or bag is the safest bet to avoid that ~$350 sting and 5 demerit points.
If a P1 driver is caught using a mobile phone, they will instantly lose their license. A P2 driver will be left with 2-points (unless it’s double demerits, then both licenses are gone).
When it comes to new, techno-leading Wallet services, like Apple Pay, GPay etc. iGen (or Gen Z) you can still use it. Your car must be stationary and you have to be off the road, like in a car park, Drive-Thru etc. The same goes for those who have their digital license – however, you’re only permitted to access it after the Police have requested it.
So what’s a P-plater to do?
The P-plater mobile phone solution is simple. Get some Apple CarPlay, Android Auto in your car. Through these services, your phone can be left in your pocket, purse or bag and you still have the ability to utilise features, through the car stereo.
It’s perfectly legal to have and use these features in a car, as long as it’s not a mobile phone.
Thanks to Siri and the Google Assistant, you never have to see, touch or hold your mobile phone to access music, GPS or podcast features. Fundamentally it’s the same as if you were driving a car with in-built GPS (which is perfectly legal for you to use) and a massive music library.
Great! What’re the next steps?
At this point, I want to make it very clear that there are other costs than just the head unit. To change the head unit of a car, you need to be mindful and budget for:
- Dashboard fascia kits
- To install something aftermarket, we have to make changes to your dashboard so the unit can fit
- Adapter harnesses
- Your car has Steering Wheel Controls (volume up and down etc.), want to keep them? You’ll need the harness to do that
- ISO plug and play harnesses
- Installing the new head unit into your car requires harnesses to connect your car to international standard connections
- Installation of the whole thing
- With the install, you want someone who knows what they’re doing and who’s not going to damage the delicate electrical system of your car
What’s in an install?
To demonstrate what I mean by all this, we’ll take an example car, a 2008 Toyota Corolla (with Steering Wheel Controls) and quote an upgrade.
- Sony XAV-AX1000, currently, is the cheapest Apple CarPlay unit that we supply. It’s a fantastic unit that’s Apple CarPlay focused
- Aerpro FP9016K, luckily, for this car, there’s a complete installation kit available (check out Aerpro for information about your car). This kit includes the Fascia and any and all adapter harnesses that are needed for the installation into the car
- Aerpro APP9SP4, this small part connects from the Sony plugs to the Toyota plugs from the installation kit
- Installation (by us) includes a professional, audio installation by a qualified team of Auto Electricians backed by a lifetime warranty
All up, it costs $740 (at the time of writing) to upgrade a 2008 Toyota Corolla with a Sony XAV-AX1000 head unit providing wired (USB) Apple CarPlay functionality for the P-plater mobile phone user.
What do we think about the new mobile phone laws?
Obviously, we want everyone to be safe, to not have accidents and arrive home safely every time. That goes without saying. We also want drivers of all ages to benefit from the technology on offer. We have found that implementing Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto into your car has heaps of benefits.
As with all things, use common sense when behind the wheel and the mobile phone laws NSW for both unrestricted and P-plater mobile phone users shouldn’t affect you at all.
If you’re wanting to upgrade your car to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, please give us a call and we’d be more than happy to walk you through your options and the best solution for your car.