Is it Illegal to Use Your Mobile Phone and Drive?

In today’s society, owning a mobile phone is almost compulsory. For many, mobile phones contain a person’s life: friends, family, calendars, reminders, enjoyment and internet access. Similarly it’s becoming increasingly common for people to own or drive a car. We know that its dangerous and careless to use your phone whilst driving, but is it actually illegal?

Learners and P1 Drivers

Learners and P1 Drivers cannot operate phones at all in all states and territories except Western Australia, Tasmania and ACT.

Texting

Texting whilst driving is illegal in all states and territories in Australia. It is also illegal when you’re stationary and not parked. So for example, if you stop at a red light on any street, you may possibly be stationary, however you are not parked. Thereby it would be illegal as you are not parked.

If, however, you are stationary and parked, then it is legal for you to text. For example, if you pull over on the side of the road and put the car in park and utilise the handbrake, then you will be able to text and drive.

Legal to Text and Drive

  • Stationary and parked

Illegal to Text and Drive

  • Whilst driving
  • Whilst stationary but not parked (stopped at red traffic light)

Other Phone Uses

For other uses of phones (GPS, calls, music, etc.), the legality of phone use varies between states and territories. Though it is illegal to use any hand-held phone across the country, there are certain circumstances that will permit you to use your phone in accordance with their other purpose.

State Calls GPS Music P2 Drivers
NSW Phone must be entirely hands-free or in an approved mobile device cradle Phone must be entirely hands-free or in an approved mobile device cradle Phone must be entirely hands-free or in an approved mobile device cradle Same as full license
QLD Phone must be in a mobile device cradle Phone must be in a mobile device cradle Phone must be in a mobile device cradle Same as full license
VIC Phone must be hands-free or in approved cradle Phone must be in an approved mobile device cradle Phone must be hands-free or in approved cradle Completely banned
TAS Phone must be either hands-free or in an approved fixed cradle Phone must be in an approved fixed cradle Phone must be either hands-free or in an approved fixed cradle Same as full license
NT Phone must be hands-free or in approved cradle Phone must be hands-free or in approved cradle Phone must be hands-free or in approved cradle Same as full license
WA Phone must be hands-free or in approved cradle Phone must be in a cradle Phone must be hands-free or in approved cradle Same as full license

Conclusion

Though it is very difficult for you to use the main functions of the mobile phone whilst driving, there are multiple solutions to ensuring that you have access to your phone’s features. Simply purchasing an approved commercially manufactured cradle and a hands-free system will quell all worries regarding legality. The danger and risk associated with using phones whilst driving, however, is your choice.

Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our network of 600+ expert lawyers or to get answers to your legal questions.

Zachary Swan

Zachary is a marketing co-ordinator at LawPath assisting the content team. With a keen interest in digital media and IP law, he has completed a Bachelor of Law and Communications at the University of Wollongong.