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Another Politician Caught Using a Mobile Phone and Driving

Written by Michelle Makela

Michelle Makela is one of our Legal Practice Directors and the National Practice Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master’s in Criminology. Michelle has had a varied career, working in commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning. Michelle joined Go To Court Lawyers in 2011. She now supervises a team of over 80 solicitors across Australia.

Another of Australia’s federal politicians has been caught driving while using a mobile phone.

Just 2 days out from the election and in her highly visible campaign car, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop was photographed committing the offence as she drove along a congested major road in Perth on Thursday.

In Western Australia, you are allowed to touch your phone while driving only if it is secured in a mounting attached to the vehicle and only for accepting or ending a call. You can use it via Bluetooth as long as you do not have to touch it. Otherwise, you face a fine of $400 and the accrual of 3 demerit points. Western Australian police have recently been aggressively targeting this particular offence, using unmarked bikes to detect offenders.

The laws prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving are designed to lessen the chances of traffic accidents and fatalities and should not be taken lightly. Evidence shows that glancing from the road for as little as 2 seconds doubles the risk of a car crash.

When questioned about her actions, Ms Bishop admitted that she was subject to the same laws as everyone else and that she would ‘ensure this does not happen again’. She has not been charged at this stage.

Ms Bishop’s actions follow similar behaviour by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten when he was caught 6 months ago using his mobile while driving in Victoria. In that case, having seen the footage in the media, Mr Shorten handed himself in to police and received a fine of $455 and accrued 4 demerit points.

Ironically, Ms Bishop was filmed by another driver who was using their mobile phone while they were driving, though the driver seemed to think it was their duty to break the law so as to point out the error of Ms Bishop’s ways.

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