Travel

Australian Laws For Using Your Mobile Phone While Driving

NSW has introduced new laws, in effect from today, which make it illegal to handle your phone at all while driving. What rules apply in the rest of the country? We’ve rounded up the current laws for every state and territory.

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Details differ slightly surrounding GPS navigation and what learner drivers can do, but the most important thing to note is this: making a call using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal right across the country. That’s because it’s risky and stupid behaviour. Note that it doesn’t matter if your car is temporarily stopped at lights: it’s still illegal to make a call with a phone in your hands. All states ban texting and emailing while driving, whether your phone is mounted or not.

If you want to use your phone as a GPS, then it should be mounted in a stand designed for the purpose. The majority of states (everywhere except Queensland and WA) specify that the mount must be commercially manufactured; you can potentially be fined if you make your own.

Common sense suggests that you should minimise use of your phone while driving, and should stick to hands-free mode and a Bluetooth headset if you want to make calls. But precisely what you can and can’t do varies a little state by state. Here’s the law as it stands (with links to the relevant government web sites).

NSW

Phones must either be operated entirely hands-free or placed in a commercially-manufactured cradle if you want to use GPS functions, place a call or play music. You can only touch a phone to hand it to another passenger. Learners and P1 drivers can’t operate phones at all. Luke over at Gizmodo has a much more detailed analysis of the new laws for NSW.

Victoria

Phones must either be operated entirely hands-free or placed in a commercially-manufactured cradle if you want to place a call or play music. If you want to use the phone as a GPS, it must be fixed in a commercially-manufactured cradle. Learners and P1 drivers can’t operate phones at all.

Queensland

Phones must either be operated entirely hands-free or placed in a cradle if you want to place a call, use a GPS or play music. Learners and P1 drivers can’t operate phones at all, and supervising drivers can’t use phones in loudspeaker mode.

Western Australia

Phones must either be operated entirely hands-free or placed in a cradle if you want to place a call or play music. If you want to use the phone as a GPS, it must be fixed in a cradle.

South Australia

Phones must either be operated entirely hands-free or placed in a commercially-manufactured cradle if you want to place a call, use a GPS or play music. Learners and P1 drivers can’t operate phones at all.

Tasmania

Phones must either be operated entirely hands-free or placed in a commercially-manufactured cradle if you want to place a call. If you want to use the phone as a GPS, it must be fixed in a cradle.

ACT

Phones must either be operated entirely hands-free or placed in a commercially-manufactured cradle if you want to place a call, use a GPS or play music.

Northern Territory

Phones must either be operated entirely hands-free or placed in a cradle if you want to place a call, use a GPS or play music. Learners and P1 drivers can’t operate phones at all.


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