Reply to post: Can't use smartphone GPS in Australia

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019

Clive Harris

Can't use smartphone GPS in Australia

Here in Australia, the regulations make it difficult or sometimes impossible to use the GPS app in your phone for navigating whilst driving. It is illegal in most states to touch a smartphone whilst you are in the driver's seat or the key is in the ignition. This includes anything to do with the GPS app. So, unless you key in the address, route and all other information before getting into the car, you risk a fine. Plenty of drivers have been prosecuted when they stopped in a parking space to set the GPS or to answer the phone, but neglected to first remove the ignition key and get out of the driver's seat. I have been told by a Vicroads official (the government body controlling road use in Victoria state) that if my phone was to catch fire whilst I was driving, then I am forbidden to touch it and must continue driving until I find a safe place to pull off the road.

It's even more strict for probationary drivers. They are forbidden to use a smartphone for any purpose whatever whilst driving. Thus they can be prosecuted even if they set up the GPS before starting, or get a passenger to look after it. (They're still "using" the phone by listening to to the directions from theGPS)

Why these crazy rules? In most states, fines from drivers are an important source of state revenue and they will do anything to keep up this source of free income (justifying it on "safety" grounds). Apparently they don't get enough money by allowing bushes to grow up in front of speed limit signs, whilst ensuring that the traffic camera further down the road has a clear view.

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