An Australian police minister fined for using his phone on the road says he 'didn't know it was against the law'

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This tweet has cost New South Wales police minister Troy Grant $325 and four demerit points on his licence.

The member for Dubbo, and former Nationals leader and deputy premier was on the road on the weekend when a sheep in the back of a station wagon caught his eye while stuck in traffic at roadworks.

So he whipped out his phone, took a snap and posted it to social media.

But Grant, a policeman for 22 years before entering politics, where he has been police minister for two years, said he “didn’t know that what I was doing was against the law”.

But when he did, Grant did the honourable thing and dobbed himself into his old workplace, copping the fine and points loss.

“I wasn’t driving physically or wasn’t distracted from being on the road,” he said.

“I was stationary [and] stopped, using my phone just to simply take a photo, as I was sitting there for a long time at a road work site.”

The ABC reports the minister copped it on the chin saying: “If that is what it takes to continue to ram home the message, then that is what I am prepared to do.”

“The simple rule is don’t use your mobile phones for any purpose when you’re behind the wheel, whether you are stationary or moving,” he said.

While that is a good simple rule, it’s not the full story of the law in NSW.

You can be sitting in the driver’s seat and handle your phone, but you’ll need to satisfy two criteria – you need to pull over off the road, park in a safe place, and turn off the engine.

Here’s the excellent Transport For NSW video explaining the rules. It’s 67 seconds that could save a busy minister $325 and some embarrassment.

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