Currently there is no rule which explicitly states where on the windscreen devices such as mobile phones or GPS navigation systems can be positioned, however rule 297 (2) of the Road Rules 2014 states that a driver must not drive a motor vehicle unless the driver has a clear view of the road, and traffic, ahead, behind and to each side of the driver.
Note: Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders must not use a mobile phone at all while driving (including when stationary but not parked).
Driver’s aids such as GPS navigation systems and mobile phones can only be used when driving if they are mounted in a fit-for-purpose cradle fixed to the vehicle that does not obscure the driver’s view of the road. While devices secured to the windscreen can obscure the driver’s field of view, obstructions to the driver’s vision can be minimised by considering the position of the cradle and screen size.
From 1 July 2018 NSW drivers can be charged for using a mobile phone when driving via camera detection.
The Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Road Safety) Act 2018 No 15 has allowed camera technology to be used to enforce mobile phone offences from 1 July 2018.
Drivers who are caught using a mobile phone while driving will receive a fine of $330 and incur 4 demerit points. If drivers are caught using a mobile phone when driving in a school zone, the fine increases to $439.
NSW is the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce this legislation. Once the camera detects that a person has been found to be using a phone whilst driving, the footage will be reviewed manually prior to an infringement notice being issued.
Recommended mounting positions
Mounting the screen as far down on the windscreen as possible will limit obstructions to the drivers’ field of view. Ideally, the screen should be mounted towards the centre of the windscreen, to the left of the driver. If this is not practicable, the next best location is in the far right, bottom corner of the windscreen. These two locations are marked as locations 1 and 2 respectively in Figure 1 below.
In New South Wales you do risk a police officer fining you $330 if they can prove your vision was obscured by that particular device.
Devices should not be placed in a location that will increase the likelihood of injury to you or a passenger in a crash and care should be taken to ensure that the device is not positioned where it could interfere with the inflation of airbags in a crash.
Where you do you mount your mobile phone, dash-cam or GPS?