New laws introduced today make it illegal for drivers to handle a mobile phone in the car.
Holding a phone while talking and driving is already illegal, but the new laws mean drivers can't touch the phone at all unless it is mounted in a fixed unit or operated through bluetooth.
Drivers caught holding a phone or resting it in their lap could be hit with a $298 fine and lose three demerit points.
If they are caught in a school zone they will lose four demerit points and receive a $397 fine.
Police said the new laws make it clear that a driver cannot hold a phone in his or her hand, other than to pass it to a passenger.
Texting and emailing while driving, whether the phone is mounted or not, is still illegal.
Commander of the NSW Police Force’s Traffic and Highway Patrol, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, said his officers would start enforcing the new rules immediately.
“These changes will help reduce the confusion around some of the existing road rules and help improve road safety,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said
“We continue to recommend that you refrain from using your phone whenever you are behind the wheel.
Other changes brought in today include:
You must signal at a roundabout: When exiting a roundabout you must signal to the left before you exit, unless it is not practical to do so.
If traffic lights at a roundabout are not working it should be treated like a normal roundabout and you must give way to any vehicle already in the roundabout.
You cannot make a U-turns on a single continuous dividing line, single continuous dividing line to the left of a broken line or two parallel continuous dividing lines.
You can now overtake a vehicle displaying a ‘do not overtake turning vehicle’ sign if you’re planning to overtake on a multi-lane road/if the vehicle is signalling to turn right or making a U-turn from the centre of the road or is stationary, you may overtake to the LEFT only if it is safe to do so.