A Brisbane motorist has been fined and convicted after he was busted by police charging his mobile phone while behind the wheel.
Drew Richard Robinson pleaded guilty to the mobile phone offence when he appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
The court heard Robinson was stopped at the lights in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley in May when police spotted him plugging his mobile into a car charger, the Courier Mail reported.
A remorseful Robinson insisted he was unaware that he was breaking the law.
‘I simply did not know that connecting my phone to the charger while in my vehicle, inadvertently seeing the time up on the phone, constituted an offence,’ he told the court.
Robinson was fined $250 and had a conviction recorded.
‘If you’re charging it you’re using it,’ Magistrate Andrew Moloney told him.
‘You just can’t touch a mobile phone in a motor vehicle at all. It’s very distracting and it is on the evidence .. a major cause of accidents.’
Queensland implemented tough new laws for illegal mobile phone use in February when the fines more than doubled from $400 to up to $1000.
The aim is to deter drivers from being distracted by their phones in a desperate bid to reduce state’s road toll.
Double demerit points apply for second or subsequent mobile phone offences committed within 12 months of a previous offence.
‘Driving while using a mobile phone held in your hand is illegal—even if you’re stopped in traffic,’ the Queensland government website states.
‘If you need to use your mobile phone, pull over and park in a safe place first.’
The penalty for using a phone while driving is $337 and five demerits in New South Wales while in South Australian drivers are slapped with a $308 fine, a $60 Victims of Crime levy and three points.
In Western Australia, drivers lose three points and are fined $400, which increases to $484 in Victoria and up to $577 in the ACT.
The Northern Territory has the most lenient laws, where using a mobile will cost you three demerits and a $250 fine.