Highway Patrol officers in Victoria have taken to stopping motorists using a Google mobile GPS navigation system in a motor vehicle despite there being no reference in the Victorian road safety regulations to GPS or navigation system useMotorists caught using a hand held navigation system are being given infringement penalties of $244. The fines are being issued based on the alleged use of a mobile phone, under section 2078 of the road traffic act.
Earlier today I was stopped by a Highway Patrol office in Port Melbourne and accused of using a mobile phone while driving.
When it was pointed out to Senior Constable Shrimpton from the Port Philip Highway Patrol that the Samsung smartphone device was being used for navigation and that a separate HTC phone which was produced at the time was being used for phone calls. He insisted that the navigation device was a phone and not navigation device.
When he was asked to inspect the device to see if it had been connected to a carrier network for the purpose of making a phone call at the time of the alleged offence he refused to inspect the device.
He also refused to inspect the device’s phone log files to see if there had been any inbound or outbound calls to the device in the hour prior to me being stopped.
When he was shown the device which at the time was running Google’s turn by turn navigation system with instuctions issed by the devices audio system, he insisted that the device was a phone and not a navigation system.
“Does it have a phone in it he” he said.
When I said yes, he then said as “far as I am concerned it is a phone”.
When it was pointed out to the police officer that a smartphone has several uses apart from being a phone he still insisted on issuing an infringement notice based on section 2078 of the act which refers to the use of a mobile phone while driving.
He also refused to inspect an HTC smartphone which at the time was connected to an in car bluetooth system for the purpose of making phone calls.
A spokesperson for the Victorian Police was unable to provide any information on where in the Victorian road regulations there is any reference to the use of a portable GPS navigation system.
Nor were they able to explain whether evidence had to be presented as to whether a navigation system that also had a phone built in had to be connected to a network to constitute an offence under the act.