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Driving With a Mobile Phone in Australia

Mobile phone laws

With a large number of mobile phone users in Australia, and the high-speed addition of new in-vehicle communication systems, instances of distracted driving have become far too common.

Studies have shown that hand-held—and even hands-free—mobile phones can cause major distractions for drivers, and largely increase the risk of traffic incidents, including fatal crashes.

Why shouldn’t I use my phone whilst driving?

Those who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free when driving:

  • become disoriented and unaware of road conditions
  • suffer from impeded reaction time, taking longer to brake and process information
  • may not be able to manage proper lane position or a safe speed
  • 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 who use mobile phones whilst driving are four times more likely to be involved in a crash. This risk applies to use of both hand-held AND hands-free devices, as the issues are rooted in the mental distraction and divided attention of the driver. Because of this, the states and territories across Australia have outlawed mobile phone use for drivers, and may even penalise passengers for mobile phone use where distracting conduct is identified.

Can I take calls whilst driving in my phone is on loudspeaker in my lap?

No. It’s illegal to have your mobile phone touching any part of your body, except when passing it to a passenger. You can be fined and docked demerit points when caught using your phone whilst driving. You may be permitted to use your mobile phone only if the device is secured in a commercially designed holder that is fixed to the vehicle and does not obscure your view of the road. Alternatively, hands-free methods such Bluetooth and voice activation may also be allowed.

What are the fines on illegal use of mobile phones?

All drivers are encouraged to refer to the laws applicable to the state or territory they are driving in. This will clarify what is and isn’t permitted regarding mobile phone use in the specified jurisdiction.

Helpful links for each state and territory can be found below:

Want to learn more about driving in Australia? Check out our driving tips .

Important:

Mobile phone road rules

You cannot use your mobile phone for anything, including texting or audio texting, e-mailing or similar communication, taking photos, video messaging, or holding your phone in any way (in hand, on lap, between shoulder and ear) while driving your rental car. If you need to use your phone in case of an emergency, you will need to stop and park your hire car safely to an area where you will not endanger yourself or other road users. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to call or text even if you are stopped or while stuck in traffic. You could be fined if caught using your phone while driving and could lose your licence through demerit point penalties.