The driver of a vehicle (except an emergency vehicle or police vehicle) must not use a mobile phone that the driver is holding in his or her hand while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, unless the driver is exempt from this rule under another law of this jurisdiction.
Use, in relation to a mobile phone, includes the following:
- holding the phone to, or near, the ear (whether or not engaged in a phone call)
- writing, sending or reading a text message on the phone
- turning the phone on or off
- operating any other function of the phone.
However, a mobile phone can be important in an emergency. If you need to use your mobile phone to call for help, stop and park safely where you will not endanger other road users.
A driver may use a mobile provided the phone:
- is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle, or
- can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone.
Research shows that dialling and talking on a mobile phone while driving can lead to:
- Riskier decision making - Deciding when it is safe to turn in traffic is a complex task. Using a mobile phone while driving affects judgement and concentration and you may fail to choose a safe gap. When making a decision to turn across oncoming traffic, you also tend not to consider the environmental conditions such as, when it is raining or the roads are slippery. If you don’t make safe turns you could crash.
- Slower reactions - You generally react slower when using a mobile phone, particularly when you’re deep in conversation. You may take longer to respond to traffic signals or completely miss them.
- Slower and less controlled braking - During a mobile phone call your brake reaction time is slower, and you brake with more force and less control which results in shorter stopping distances available between yourself and the car in front.
- Wandering out of your lane - You’re more likely to wander out of your lane when you’re using a mobile phone, even on a straight road with little traffic.
- Not being alert to your surroundings - When using a mobile phone, you tend to spend less time checking your mirrors and what’s going on around you. This affects your ability to monitor and negotiate traffic safely.
Tips for using a mobile phone safely
- Use voicemail
- Pull over safely and park to make or receive a call
- Plan breaks in your trip for phone calls
- Tell your family and friends not to call when you know you’ll be driving
- Tell callers you are driving and may have to end the call
- Don’t make calls in heavy traffic, poor road conditions or bad weather
- Never read or send text messages.
Television receivers and visual display units in motor vehicles
A driver must not drive a motor vehicle that has a television receiver or visual display unit in or on the vehicle operating while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, if any part of the image on the screen:
- is visible to the driver from the normal driving position, or
- is likely to distract another driver.
This rule does not apply to the driver if:
- the driver is driving a bus and the visual display unit shows, a destination sign or other bus sign
- the visual display unit is, or is part of, a driver’s aid
- the visual display unit is a mobile data terminal fitted to a police vehicle or an emergency vehicle
- the driver or vehicle is exempt from this rule under another law of this jurisdiction.