Centre for Road Safety

Our animated video shows drivers the rules on mobile phone use. Read a transcript.

Find answers to common questions about mobile phone road rules.

Mobile phone road rules

Learner and provisional P1 (red Ps) drivers and motorcyclists

Learners and provisional P1 licence holders are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving or riding. This includes when waiting at traffic lights or stuck in traffic. You must be parked out of the line of traffic to use your phone in any way.

These laws encourage learner and P1 drivers and riders to concentrate on developing their vehicle control and hazard-perception skills. Mobile phone use can distract novice drivers and riders from the driving task.

From 22 January 2016, learner and P1 drivers and riders penalised for illegally using a mobile phone (four demerit points) will exceed their demerit point threshold and face a three-month licence suspension.



Fully licensed and provisional P2 (green Ps) drivers and motorcyclists, and all bicycle riders

While driving or riding you CAN use your mobile phone:
To make or answer a call

ONLY if the phone is either:

  • In a cradle fixed to the vehicle and doesn't obscure your view of the road
  • can be operated without touching any part of the phone, such as via Bluetooth or voice activation
To use the audio playing function (e.g. music)
As a driver's aid (e.g. navigation, Speed Advisor app)

ONLY if the phone is in a cradle fixed to the vehicle and doesn't obscure your view of the road

While driving or riding you CANNOT use your mobile phone for anything else, including:
Texting or audio texting
  • If you want to use your phone for any of these functions, your vehicle must be parked out of the line of traffic
  • These functions are not permitted when your vehicle is stopped, including when waiting at traffic lights or stuck in traffic
Emailing
Using social media
Taking photos
Video messaging
Holding your phone in any way (in hand, on lap, between shoulder and ear). Drivers are only allowed to hold a phone to pass it to a passenger.

Remember: Legal use of mobile phones can also be distracting. Consider if it is important and the demands of the traffic before using your mobile. The safest option is often to wait until you are parked out of the line of traffic.

Our Get your hand off it campaign warns drivers of the dangers of illegal mobile phone use and the consequences of taking your eyes off the road.

Penalties

Drivers who break these rules face fines and could lose their licence through demerit point penalties:

  • From the 2015 Christmas holidays, mobile phone offences will be included in double demerit periods
  • From 22 January 2016, offenders will accumulate an extra demerit point for illegally using their mobile phone, up from three points to four points

The Roads and Maritime Services website lets you search demerit point offences.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Can I hold and use my phone when waiting at traffic lights, or stuck in traffic?
  2. Can I use my mobile phone for calls if it is on loudspeaker and in my lap?
  3. Can I have my mobile phone in my pocket if I’m using Bluetooth to make or receive a call?
  4. Can I listen to music on my phone if it is in a cradle?
  5. Can I dial a number if my mobile phone is in a cradle?
  6. Can I use the GPS function on my mobile phone?
  7. Can I use a GPS device that is not a phone if I am a learner of provisional P1 licence holder?
  8. Can I send a text message if my mobile phone is secured in a cradle?
  9. What kind of cradle can I use for my mobile phone?
  10. Where can I attach my cradle to my vehicle?

1. Can I hold and use my phone when waiting at traffic lights, or stuck in traffic?

No. It is illegal to hold and use your phone at any time while driving or riding. If you want to hold and use your phone your vehicle must be parked out of the line of traffic.

2. Can I use my mobile phone for calls if it is on loudspeaker and in my lap?

No. It is illegal to have your mobile phone touching any part of your body, other than to pass it to a passenger.

3. Can I have my mobile phone in my pocket if I’m using Bluetooth to make or receive a call?

Yes, if you have a full unrestricted licence or a provisional P2 licence (green Ps). You can use a mobile phone for calls if it does not require you to touch the phone in any way (e.g. via Bluetooth). The rules allow your mobile phone to be in a pocket of your clothing.

No, if you have a learner or provisional P1 licence (red Ps), you are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving.

4. Can I listen to music on my phone if it is in a cradle?

Yes, if you have a full unrestricted licence or a provisional P2 licence (green Ps). You can use the audio playing function of a mobile phone as long as the phone is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure your view of the road, or the phone can be operated without you touching any part of it, such as via Bluetooth.

No, if you have a learner or provisional P1 licence (red Ps), you are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving.

5. Can I dial a number if my mobile phone is in a cradle?

Yes, if you have a full unrestricted licence or a provisional P2 licence (green Ps). You can use a mobile phone for calls if it is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle. Using a mobile phone legally can still be distracting. Consider if the call is urgent and the demands of the traffic before using your mobile.

No,  if you have a learner or provisional P1 licence (red Ps), you are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving.

6. Can I use the GPS function on my mobile phone?

Yes, if you have a full unrestricted licence or a provisional P2 licence (green Ps). You can use a mobile phone as a driver’s aid, such as GPS, as long as it is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure your view of the road. You cannot hold your phone to use the GPS function.

No, if you have a learner or provisional P1 licence (red Ps), you are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving.

7. Can I use a GPS device that is not a phone if I am a learner of provisional P1 licence holder?

Yes. A GPS device that is not a mobile phone is permitted for all drivers, as long as the device is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle and does not obscure the driver’s view of the road. The device must not be placed in a location that will increase the likelihood of injury in a crash.

8. Can I send a text message if my mobile phone is secured in a cradle?

No. You cannot text at all while driving, whether or not your phone is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle.

9. What kind of cradle can I use for my mobile phone?

Your mobile phone must be in a mounting that is commercially designed and manufactured for that purpose.

10. Where can I attach a cradle to my vehicle?

The mounting must be fixed to the vehicle in the manner intended by the manufacturer. It must not obscure your view of the road (in front and to the sides), and must not be placed in a location that will increase the likelihood of injury to you or a passenger in a crash.

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