Most Australians might not know that a smartwatch can cost them hundreds of dollars in fines with demerit points if caught using it while driving.
This rule is particularly similar to mobile phone use. The driver who uses any gadget while traveling on wheels can be distracted or inattentive, leading to a road accident.
Basically, the drivers will be penalized if seen using the device, but the penance will depend on the state where they were caught.
New South Wales (NSW)
There are no specific rules when it comes to using smartwatches on the road.
In any circumstances that a driver is seen using the gadget is considered an offense, and the state’s mobile rules will apply. These include texting, calling, emailing, checking notifications on social media, and other stuff that may tempt them to touch their watches for a few minutes.
Motorists who will be caught utilizing these functions will lose five demerit points. They will also be penalized with a $362 fine, reaching up to $481 if in the school zone.
The case in Victoria is very different. A smartwatch worn by the driver should not be used for making and receiving calls, messaging, navigation, and administering emails, social media accounts, and music.
However, if they remove it from their wrists, the device can be utilized as a navigation tool, music player, and even making or receiving hands-free calls.
Technically, in this state, laws on mobile phone use will also apply to the usage of smartwatches. If caught using the watch illegally, drivers will be fined $484 on the spot while incurring four demerit points.
Queensland didn’t present any smartwatch-specific rules, just like in NSW. Yet, distracted motorists while driving due to smartwatch usage will be penalized accordingly.
The penalty fee can reach up to $1078 and a loss of four demerit points.
Western Australia (WA)
For motorists riding along the WA roads, a smartwatch can be used for navigation only if they are not wearing it. The local government suggested that the device be mounted so drivers can use it without provoking penalties.
If the smartwatch is still on the wrist while navigating it behind the wheel, drivers will have three demerit points incurred on their licenses plus a $300 fine.
On top of that, drivers can be fined up to $1000 with four demerit points if they use the watch’s phone functions, including calling and texting.
South Australia (SA)
In South Australia, a smartwatch is one of the things that SA Police consider a visual display unit (VDU).
VDU is any miniature electronic device that can be worn on the body with functions almost similar to mobile phones.
Having VDU attached to your body while in the moving vehicle is an offense in SA.
Other States and Territories
In Tasmania, offenders can be punished with a $173 fine and three demerit points on their licenses.
In Northern Territory, drivers can do hands-free phone calls using the smartwatch. Otherwise, a penalty of $500 will apply.
In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), there are laws that govern mobile phone, tablet, and smartwatch use. The devices can be legally used if mounted, making hands-free phone calls and navigation.
If caught accessing internet sites, social media, and text messages, the penalty fee is between $487 to $598, and a loss of three to four demerit points.
Written by Trisha Kae Andrada