Auckland woman fined $80 for picking up phone from car dashboard

A woman claims rules around phone use in cars are unclear, after she was fined $80 for picking her device up off the dashboard and moving it out of the sun. 

Radio journalist Ragini Gautam was stuck in traffic on August 30 when she noticed her mobile phone on the dashboard was sitting under direct sunlight, Stuff reports. 

She moved her device from the dashboard to prevent it from overheating. 

The next thing Ms Gautam knew, she was pulled over by a police officer and fined $80 for using her phone while driving. 

"Are you telling me if you move an object then bam, it's a fine? It was literally standstill traffic because of an accident," she told Stuff. 

When Ms Gautam lodged an appeal online, she was issued a response saying drivers are "not permitted to hold [their] phone" while driving. 

The officer told her, "It is irrelevant whether you are making or receiving a call."

Despite paying the fine, the woman told Stuff the law needs to be clearer, or else more people will be caught out the same way she was. 

Police statistics show almost $11.5 million has been collected in fines since the law changed in 2009, making it illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. 


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