New road rules come into effect last week in Victoria that clarify the use of portable devices when driving a vehicle or riding another form of transport such as a motorbike, bicycle, e-scooter or even rollerblades.

These new road rules aim to keep road users safe, reflect the significant increase in technologies capable of distracting a driver, and bring Victoria into line with the road rules in other states.

The biggest reminder is don’t touch your unmounted or wearable device while you’re driving or riding.

Learner, P1 and P2 drivers are subject to much stricter rules and should visit the RACV website for more information.

RACV Head of Policy, James Williams, explained the new rules and the penalties that could apply for the illegal use of portable devices.

“We appreciate that the rules are complex, but this reflects the developing range of technologies that can distract a driver,” Mr Williams said.

“In general, drivers or riders who hold a full licence cannot touch an unmounted or wearable device, such as a phone, tablet, laptop, smart watch, or any other device while driving or riding.

“You can connect to your vehicle’s Bluetooth, then place the unmounted device out of sight and reach before you start your journey.

“As a general rule, drivers and riders can use mounted devices or inbuilt systems for functions such as music and navigation, provided they are not entering text, scrolling, or viewing images, social media, websites, or videos.

“For wearable devices such as smart watches, you can’t touch the device while driving or riding. You can only use voice controls to initiate, accept or reject audio calls, play or stream audio materials, or adjust volume levels.

“You can also use a mobile phone or other device to pay at a drive-through.

“For mobile phones and tablets, the mounting must be commercially designed and manufactured for that purpose, and the device must be secured in the mounting.

Mobile device and seat belt cameras are currently being introduced in Victoria. The cameras will capture drivers and riders who are holding mobile phones or other devices, as well as drivers and passengers who are not wearing seatbelts, or not wearing them properly.

For further information on the rules, please visit RACV’s road safety website page.

The rules for device usage in vehicles vary in different states. Check your state and stay up to date with the laws to avoid huge fines.