Smart phone GPS illegal

MOTORISTS are being warned that smart phones such as the iPhone will cost them a $300 fine if they are used as a navigational device while on the road.

As mobile phones like the iPhone become increasingly popular, police are reminding motorists that using the GPS function while behind the wheel is an offence.

“We've looked, and it is illegal because it is another function of the phone,” Bundaberg Police sergeant Steve Lancaster said.

“It's still a $300 penalty.”

It is illegal for drivers to have any operation of a mobile phone while operating a vehicle.

Sgt Lancaster and local traffic branch officers were not aware of any fines given to drivers for the offence so far.

Sales figures of smart phones in the region through Telstra or Optus were not available.

With a vast array of functions now available through mobile phones, it can be easy to forget they are still telephones.

According to the 2009 Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index, surveying almost 4000 people across the country, using mobiles just for calls and texting is a thing of the past.

One third of Australians now check emails on their handsets and more than 70 per cent access mobile entertainment and information services.

The report shows Australians have increased mobile phone service sales through internet-enabled smart phones in the past year, despite the financial crisis.

The report's author, Dr Marisa Maio Mackay, put mobile phone services' growth down to the launch of the iPhone, which “raised the standards in terms of usability across all handsets”.

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