On 1 February 2012, changes were made to the Northern Territory's road rules. The amendments followed those made at the national level by the Australian Transport Council under the Australian Road Rules and apply to all road users.

Below is a simple explanation of the law change for mobile phone use from the Northern Territory Department of Transport website - Current as at 1 June 2013.


Use of mobile phones (Rule 300)

The driver of a vehicle can make or receive a phone call on a mobile phone if the phone is either secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle or remotely operated. All other functions (including video calls, texting and emailing) are prohibited. There must be no touching of the keypad unless the phone is fixed to the vehicle. The driver may touch the ear piece or headset to operate the phone or pass it to a passenger.


Outlined below is a full description of the NT laws for mobile phone use including the recent amendments made for using a mobile phone as a driving aid and use by provisional drivers.

The information is from the Northern Territory Department of Transport Traffic Regulations - As in force at 1 February 2013.


300 ‘Use of mobile phones’

(1) The driver of a vehicle must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, unless:

(a) the phone is being used to make or receive a phone call (other than a text message, video message, email or similar communication) and the body of the phone:

(i) is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being so used; or

(ii) is not secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle and is not being held by the driver, and the use of the phone does not require the driver, at any time while using it, to press anything on the body of the phone or to otherwise manipulate any part of the body of the phone; or

(b) the vehicle is an emergency vehicle or a police vehicle;

Or

(c) the driver is exempt from this rule under another law of this jurisdiction.

(2) For the purposes of this rule, a mobile phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle if, and only if—

(a) the mounting is commercially designed and manufactured for that purpose; and

(b) the mobile phone is secured in the mounting, and the mounting is affixed to the vehicle, in the manner intended by the manufacturer.

(3) For the purposes of this rule, a driver does not use a phone to receive a text message, video message, email or similar communication if:

(a) the communication is received automatically by the phone; and

(b) on and after receipt, the communication itself (rather than any indication that the communication has been received) does not become automatically visible on the screen of the phone.

(4) In this rule:

affixed to, in relation to a vehicle, includes forming part of the vehicle;

body, in relation to a mobile phone, means the part of the phone that contains the majority of the phone's mechanisms;

held includes held by, or resting on, any part of the driver's body, but does not include held in a pocket of the driver's clothing or in a pouch worn by the driver;

mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two-way radio;

use, in relation to a mobile phone, includes any of the following actions by a driver:

(a) holding the body of the phone in her or his hand (whether or not engaged in a phone call), except while in the process of giving the body of the phone to a passenger in the vehicle;

(b) entering or placing, other than by the use of voice, anything into the phone, or sending or looking at anything that is in the phone;

(c) turning the phone on or off;

(d) operating any other function of the phone.

15A Prohibition on mobile phone usage

A learner or a provisional driver, while driving a motor vehicle, must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked.

Note

The prohibition under this regulation extends to any use of a mobile phone, including the use of hands-free devices.

86B Mobile phone as driver's aid

The driver of a vehicle is exempt from rule 300 if:

(a) the phone is being used to perform a navigational or intelligent highway and vehicle system function in the vehicle; and

(b) the body of the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being used.


For more information visit the Northern Territory Government Department of Transport page on Traffic Regulations and advice on distractions and road rules.


road rules
NT laws | Back to top