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Millions of Aussies at risk of surprising $362 fine

Cars in traffic Sydney and Apple watch
Drivers could be fined hundreds of dollars if they get caught out doing a common act. (Source: Getty)

Drivers could be fined hundreds of dollars if they are caught using their smartwatch behind the wheel.

Just like using your phone, using a smartwatch while on the road can also get you into trouble and come at a hefty cost.

Drivers caught out can cop a fine of $362 in NSW, increasing to $484 in Victoria, plus incurring demerit points.

Here are the penalties that apply.

New South Wales

There are no rules on smartwatches specifically in NSW, but you can get into trouble if you use your smartwatch’s mobile phone functions.

That includes texting, video calling and social media, unless you are parked.

If you are caught doing this, you can face the same penalty as you would with a phone. That is a $362 fine and five demerit points.

Victoria

In Victoria, smartwatch functions are covered by the road rules that apply to using a mobile phone when driving.

“When a Smartwatch is worn by a driver it should not be used while driving for making or receiving phone calls, navigation, music, text or video messaging, email or social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter),” VicRoads said.

“Text or video messaging, email, social media use or similar communications should not be undertaken regardless of whether the Smartwatch is worn by the driver or not.”

Drivers face a $484 fine and can cop four demerit points.

Queensland

Queensland also doesn’t have specific smartwatch laws for drivers, but motorists who are distracted by their smartwatch can be charged a fine.

Drivers can be fined $1,078 and get four demerit points.

Western Australia

In WA, drivers can use their smartwatch for navigation but they need to remove it from their wrists and mount it.

If it’s kept on the wrist, drivers can be hit with a $300 fine and three demerit points.

Using phone functions like calling and texting while driving, increases the fine to $1,000 and four demerit points.

South Australia

In South Australia, smartwatches fall under the ‘visual display units’ (VDU) category.

It is illegal for drivers to have their smartwatch while the vehicle is moving or stationary, and not parked, if any part of the image on the screen is visible to the driver.

Double demerit points this long weekend

NSW and ACT drivers can attract double demerit points this long weekend, NRMA has warned.

That includes for illegally using mobile phones and offences like speeding and not wearing a seat belt.

“Keep in mind that Mobile Phone Detection Cameras are active in NSW and the ACT, and drivers caught using their phones during a double demerit period will be hit with a $352 fine ($469 in a school zone) and 10 demerits,” NRMA said.

Double demerit points apply from Friday 30 September to Monday 3 October.

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