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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsPROFESSOR: This is Texting Tim. He has borrowed his brother's car to go to a job interview, and skipped his breakfast so he wouldn't be late. He peels and eats a banana while he's driving. Has Tim committed an offense? Tim approaches an intersection just as the light changes from green to amber. He accelerates in order to make it into the junction before the light turns red, and he makes it over the line in time. The lights are still amber as his back wheel crosses over the line into the intersection. Has Tim committed an offense? As Tim speeds up to make it through the intersection, he notices his [? speedometer ?] displaying 61 kilometers per hour.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsThe speed limit for the area is 60 kilometers per hour. Has Tim committed an offense? Tim's mobile phone is on the seat beside him and it rings. Tim briefly takes his eyes off the road to look at the phone. It could be about that job he's on his way to. Has Tim committed an offense? The phone dings, indicating a message has been left, and Tim pulls up to a red traffic light and stops. Tim picks up the phone and checks his messages. He thinks it's OK, as the car has stopped. He's not driving. The car is stationary at the lights. Has Tim committed an offense? When the lights turn green, Tim finishes off his text and sends it.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 secondsHas Tim committed an offense? Unfortunately, whilst texting, Tim crashes into Cautious Connie's car in front of him. Has Tim committed an offense? Repairs to Connie's car come to $3,000, and the chandelier that she was transporting in her boot, and damaged in the accident as well, is also worth $3,000. She demands that Tim pay her $6,000. Tim doesn't have any money, he was borrowing his brother's car, and he doesn't have insurance. Has Tim committed an offense? What can Connie do to recover the money she's claiming from Tim? What should Tim do in the future with his phone while he's driving? What's the moral of his tale?

Case study 1: Texting Tim

Watch the “Texting Tim” for examples of everyday situations that may be criminal offences.

Talking point

Within the Comments, consider sharing with other learners you thoughts on the situations faced by Tim in the case study:

  • Texting Tim peels and eats a banana while he’s driving. Has Tim committed an offence?

  • Tim overspeeds through the intersection. Has Tim committed an offence?

  • Tim glances at his mobile phone when it rings. Has Tim committed an offence?

  • Stopped at the traffic lights, Tim checks his phone. When the lights turn green, Tim sends a text message. Has he committed an offence?

  • Tim crashes into the car in front of him while sending a text message. Has Tim committed an offence?

  • Repairs to Connie’s damaged car come to $3,000. The chandelier worth $3,000 that she was transporting was also damaged. Connie demands Tim to pay her $6,000. Tim doesn’t have any money and he doesn’t have insurance. Has he committed an offence?

  • What can Connie do to recover the money she’s claiming from Tim? What should Tim do in the future with his phone while he’s driving? What’s the moral of this tale?


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This video is from the free online course:

Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law

Monash University

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