Australian laws for using your mobile phone while driving

Last updated on August 31, 2023

It can be tempting to pick up our mobile phones or respond to a new notification while we’re driving. However, checking your mobile phone on the go can be a serious risk to your safety. According to the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety (CARRS) (QLD),  using a mobile phone while driving can increase your risk of an accident four-fold. Even taking your eyes off the road for just 2 seconds doubles your risk of a crash. Download the CARRS brochure (PDF, 705 KB).

To prevent accidents on the road, each state and territory in Australia has implemented strict mobile phone laws. While the wording varies slightly, rules for mobile phone use while driving are very similar across Australia. Penalties vary by location, and can be as severe as four demerit points and a $1,161 fine.

Male driver using mobile phone whilst driving a car

If you’re a driver on your full licence, you’re allowed to use your mobile phone in the car, as long as you meet the strict requirements laid out by the mobile phone rules.

You can only use your mobile phone if it’s secured in a cradle affixed to your car, or it can be operated without touch, and only to:

  • Make or receive audio phone calls.
  • Use audio functions.
  • Navigate.

All other mobile phone use while driving is prohibited. This includes email, texting, playing games, taking photos or video, or using any other functions on your phone.

These mobile phone laws sound simple; however, they can be stricter than you think.

Watch out for the following:

  • Mobile phone laws still apply when your vehicle is stopped but not parked, for example when you are stopped at a traffic light.
  • You can be fined if your mobile phone is touching any part of your body, or even on your lap.
  • If you’re on your L or P1 licence, you’re not permitted to use your mobile phone while driving at all in NSW, QLD, SA, TAS and VIC.
  • If you’re on your P2 licence, you can use your mobile phone in accordance with these laws in most states, except in NSW or QLD.

These laws don’t just apply to mobile phones, but also include other distracting devices such as DVD players, computers, tablets, and smartwatches.

Male driver using mobile phone device secured in a cradle affixed in the car using a navigation mobile application

If you break any of the mobile phone laws outlined above, you’ll receive a minimum of 3 demerit points and a $390 fine, no matter what state or territory you’re in. However, penalties differ by state and territory, and in states such as QLD you could be fined as much as $1,161, while in NSW you can lose 5 demerit points instantly.

You can check the penalties for each state and territory in the table below:

Swipe to view more

State or Territory Penalty
NSW Fine: $362 ($481 in a school zone)
Demerits: 5 points
QLD Fine: $1,161
Demerits: 4 points
NT Fine: $500
Demerits: 3 points
WA Fine: $500 - $1,000
Demerits: 3 - 4 points
SA Fine: $592
Demerits: 3 points
ACT Fine: $514 - $632
Demerits: 3 - 4 points
TAS Fine: $390
Demerits: 3 points
VIC Fine: $545
Demerits: 4 points
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This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708 (“Allianz”). In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way. 

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