January 28, 2023

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Australian driver avoids hefty fine because his iPhone is 'not a mobile phone' |  Sentences

Australian driver avoids hefty fine because his iPhone is ‘not a mobile phone’ | Sentences

Conrad Gordon Gallaher escaped a hefty fine of A$1,078 (€700) because he was able to prove to court that his iPhone could not be considered a mobile phone at the time of the traffic offence. Queensland’s Minister for Transport described the ruling as “extraordinary”.

Gallaher was caught behind the wheel with an iPhone 6 in his hand. In the Australian state of Queensland, this carries a fine of €700 and also costs you four points on your Australian driver’s license (which works with points). Even if you’re stopped in a traffic jam or at a red traffic light, with your phone in your hand, you’re in violation.

There is no SIM card

Gallagher, who appeared in court, managed to convince the judge that his iPhone was not a mobile phone at the time of the hack, as it did not contain a SIM card. The driver had another mobile phone in the car, and it could be controlled precisely without using hands. Use the iPhone as a portable music player, for example an iPod. He couldn’t text or call.

Innocence

Judge Dzenita Palic agreed with the argument and was also of the opinion that the iPhone did not fall under the definition of a mobile phone at that particular moment. So Gallaher was acquitted. She added that Gallagher’s behavior in traffic was as dangerous as if he had used a cell phone.

Minister wants to bridge the gap

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey described the ruling as “unusual” and noted that the aim of the law was to prevent “the driver from being distracted” in traffic, which the judge said was indeed the case. He intends to fill in any loopholes in the law.

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