Driving with a Mobile Phone in Australia
Distracted driving is fast becoming a severe and growing threat to road safety. With a large number of mobile phone users in Australia and the high-speed addition of new in-vehicle communication systems, this risk is likely to grow for years to come.
Studies have shown that using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving can cause a major distraction, and largely increases the danger of being involved in a crash or near crash.
Why you shouldn't use your phone while driving?
Those who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free when driving:
- become disoriented and not aware of road conditions
- miss road signs
- may not be able to manage proper lane position and a safe speed
- respond more slowly, take longer to brake and longer to stop
- are more prone to enter risky gaps in traffic
- are more prone to 'tailgate' the vehicle in front
- become more stressed and discouraged
Therefore drivers using mobiles are four times more likely to be involved in a crash. Note that this risk rolls in for both hand-held and hands-free phones, as the problems are triggered generally by the mental distraction and divided attention such as making a phone call, or text messaging while driving. Because of this, states and territories in Australia have made it illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.
Can I use my phone for calls if it is on loudspeaker and in my lap?
No. It is illegal to have your mobile phone touch any part of your body, other than to pass it to a passenger. You can be fined and may incur demerit points when you get caught using your phone while driving. You may be permitted to use your mobile phone only if the phone is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle and doesn't obscure your view of the road, or if it can be operated without you touching any part of the phone, such as via Bluetooth or voice activation.
What are the fines on illegal use of mobile phones?
All drivers are encouraged to refer to the specific laws in their State or Territory to ensure they know exactly what they can and cannot do with their mobile phones while driving.
The table below highlights on the use of mobile phones, road rules laws, fine and demerit points while driving in different states in Australia. For full information on road rules laws, simply click on the links.
|States and Territories||Road Rules||Fine and Demerit Points|
|New South Wales||Roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au||Offenders will be penalised five demerit points with a $337 fine for illegally using their mobile phone. During double demerit periods, such as Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Easter, drivers will be penalised ten demerit points.|
|Queensland||Qld.gov.au||The fine for using your mobile while driving in QLD will cost you $391 and have 3 demerit points.|
|Victoria||Vicroads.vic.gov.au||The penalties if you are caught using a mobile phone whilst driving are 4 demerit points and a $484 fine.|
|Western Australia||rsc.wa.gov.au||You can be fined $400 and have 3 demerit points for using your mobile phone whilst driving.|
|Australian Capital Territory||police.act.gov.au/||The fine for using your mobile while driving in ACT will cost you $447 and 4 demerit points.|
|Northern Territory||Nt.gov.au||Driving in NT whilst using a mobile will cost you 3 demerit points and a $250 fine.|
|South Australia||dpti.sa.gov.au||A driver will receive an and three demerit points.|
|Tasmania||police.tas.gov.au||The fine for using your mobile while driving in TAS will cost you $300 and 3 demerit points.|
*All fines and penalties are subject to change without prior notice.
Learn more about the road rules and driving tips in Australia here.