Eating and drinking while driving laws

 Last updated August 2, 2022
If you’re running late or driving long distance, it can be tempting to gulp down a meal while you’re in the driver’s seat. However, eating or drinking while you’re driving can be more dangerous than you think. A study by the Griffin Health Institute found that eating while driving is just as dangerous as sending text messages, increasing your chance of having an accident.

While it’s illegal to drink alcohol while driving in Australia, no matter whether you’re under the limit or not, Australia has no specific laws against eating or drinking non-alcoholic beverages while driving. The Tasmanian Government guidelines for learner drivers instructs drivers to avoid eating or drinking while driving. While the SA Driver’s Handbook explicitly lists eating and drinking as distractions that can take the driver’s attention away from the road.

If you’re distracted while driving, you could face a fine and demerit points. See the applicable rule and penalty for each state in the table below:

Swipe to view more

State
Rule and Penalty
NSW Drivers who are eating or drinking could be given a penalty for not having proper control of their vehicle.
Fine: $469

Demerits: 3 points
QLD The Queensland Department of Transport has been targeting driver distraction with it being against the law to drive without due care and attention.
Fine: $551
Demerits: 3 points
NT Eating or drinking may not have its own penalty in the Northern Territory, but the knock-on effects of being distracted can be considered careless driving.
Fine: $150
Demerits: None
WA Drivers who are eating or drinking can be given a penalty for careless driving.
Fine: $1,500
Demerits: None
SA Drivers who are eating or drinking could be given a penalty for not having proper control of their vehicle.
Fine: $201
Demerits: None
ACT Drivers who are eating or drinking could be given a penalty for not having proper control of their vehicle.
Fine: $301
Demerits: None
TAS Drivers who are eating or drinking could be given a penalty for not having proper control of their vehicle or driving without due care and attention.
Fine: $173
Demerits: 3 points
VIC If eating or drinking interferes with your driving or causes an accident, you could be charged with careless driving.
Fine: $436
Demerits: 3 points
Need a refresh on road rules and regulations? Explore our other car articles to stay across the latest reports. 

This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 ("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. 

Any opinions expressed constitute our views at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.

Give us a call, or send us a message. 

Allianz acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and work across Australia. We pay our respect to First Nations Elders past, present and emerging.



Any advice here does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision about this insurance, please consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)/Policy Wording and Supplementary PDS (if applicable). Where applicable, the PDS/Policy Wording, Supplementary PDS and Target Market Determination (TMD) for this insurance are available on this website.

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708 is the insurer of any general insurance products offered on this website.

Allianz Australia Life Insurance Limited ABN 27 076 033 782 AFS Licence No. 296559 is the insurer of any life insurance products offered on this website.