Centre for Road Safety

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

Find answers to common questions about mobile phone road rules.

Mobile phone detection cameras

The mobile phone detection camera program will be rolled out to enforce illegal mobile phone use by drivers from late 2019.

The program will include fixed and transportable cameras that will commence operating at locations across the network by the end of 2019. Coupled with ongoing enforcement by NSW Police, these cameras will target illegal mobile phone use anywhere, anytime.

Warning letters relating to camera-detected offences will be issued for the first three months. Following this period, the penalty for offending drivers is five demerit points and a $344 fine ($457 in a school zone). The penalty increases to 10 demerit points during double demerit periods.

Legal mobile phone use

 
Unrestricted licence holdersP1, P2 and Learner licence holders
Receive or make a phone call

ONLY if the phone is either:

  • Secured in a cradle fixed to the vehicle; or
  • Can be operated without touching any part of the phone, (e.g. Bluetooth controls)
Restricted licence holders are not permitted to use a phone or any phone function while driving or riding (including hands-free).
Use music or audio functions
Use as a driver's aid (e.g. navigation, Speed Advisor app or dispatch system)Only if the phone is secured in a cradle fixed to the vehicle

Illegal mobile phone use

All other functions including video calling, texting, emailing, social media, web browsing and photography are prohibited unless parked.

It is also illegal to hold and use a mobile phone at any time while driving or riding.

Using a Digital Driver Licence

It’s illegal to access your Digital Driver Licence when driving, including when stationary, unless you’re asked to do so by a police officer. Penalties apply.

Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders

Restricted licences holders including learner, P1 and P2 drivers and riders are not permitted to use their phone at all while driving or riding. This includes use of hands-free and Bluetooth functions.

Illegal mobile phone use will result in heavy penalties including demerit points and fines, which could mean the loss of your licence.

Tip: Avoid temptation and keep your phone in your bag or glovebox.

Unrestricted licence holders and all bicycle riders

Full licence holders and bicycle riders are permitted to use particular mobile phone functions. These include making or answering a phone call, or playing audio, if the phone:

  • Is secured in a cradle; or
  • Can be used without touching any part of the phone (e.g. Bluetooth).

This also includes using a mobile phone as a driver’s aid (e.g. navigation) if the phone is secured in a cradle.

Tip: Using a mobile phone legally can still be distracting. Consider the traffic conditions before using your phone.

FAQs

For more information on mobile phone rules, select your licence type to find out what rules apply to you.

Restricted licence holders - P1, P2 and Learners (drivers and motorcyclists)

  1. Can I use my phone to make a call, use GPS or listen to music?
  2. Can I use my phone to make a call, use GPS or listen to music if it’s in a cradle?
  3. Can I use my mobile phone if it is on loudspeaker and in my lap?
  4. Can I use my phone to text?
  5. What do I need to do to use my mobile phone?
  6. Do I need to be parked with my ignition off to use my phone?
  7. If I have a Digital Driver Licence and I’m pulled over by NSW Police, when is it OK to pick up my phone to show my licence?
  8. Can I use a GPS device that is not a phone?
  9. Will the introduction of mobile phone detection cameras affect me?
  10. Is there a warning period for the start of the mobile phone detection camera program?
  11. How will I know if I’ve been caught using my phone illegally by a mobile phone detection camera?
  12. What is the penalty for being caught for illegal phone use?
  13. Do double demerits apply for mobile phone offences detectd by a mobile phone detection camera?

1. Can use my phone to make a call, use GPS or listen to music?

No. Restricted licence holders are not permitted to use their phone at all while driving or riding.

This applies regardless of whether the phone in use is being handled, resting on any part of the body, secured in a cradle or is being used hands-free (i.e. via Bluetooth). None of these uses are permitted.

2. Can I use my phone to make a call, use GPS or listen to music if it’s in a cradle?

No. Restricted licence holders are not permitted to use their phone at all while driving or riding.

This applies regardless of whether the phone in use is being handled, resting on any part of the body, secured in a cradle or is being used hands-free (i.e. via Bluetooth). None of these uses are permitted.

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

No. Restricted licence holders are not permitted to use their phone at all while driving or riding.

This applies regardless of whether the phone in use is being handled, resting on any part of the body, secured in a cradle or is being used hands-free (i.e. via Bluetooth). None of these uses are permitted.

4. Can I use my phone to text?

No. Restricted licence holders are not permitted to use their phone at all while driving or riding, including any texting functions.

5. What do I need to do to use my phone?

If you would like to use your phone for any function – including calling, texting, emailing, playing audio or using social media - your vehicle must be parked out of the line of traffic.

6. Do I need to be parked with my ignition off to use my phone?

To use a mobile phone, you must be parked out of the line of traffic. However, the ignition does not need to be turned off.

7. If I have a Digital Driver Licence and I’m pulled over by NSW Police, when is it OK to pick up my phone to show my licence?

You can only use your mobile phone to access your Digital Driver Licence after being requested to do so by a police officer. It’s illegal to touch your phone before an authorised officer instructs you to do so. For more information on the Digital Driver Licence, please visit the Service NSW website.

8. Can I use a GPS device that is not a phone?

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.

9. Will the introduction of mobile phone detection cameras affect me?

Yes, restricted licences holders are not permitted to use their phone while driving or riding. Mobile phone detection cameras will enforce illegal mobile phone use anywhere, anytime across the NSW road network.

10. Is there a warning period for the start of the mobile phone detection camera program?

Yes, warning letters will be issued for the first three months, during which time drivers caught using their phone illegally by a mobile phone detection camera will be issued with a warning letter to encourage them to change their behaviour.

Fines and demerit point penalties will be issued to all drivers who commit an offence after the three-month warning period has concluded.

Please note NSW Police provide ongoing police enforcement of illegal mobile phone use.

11. How will I know if I’ve been caught using my phone illegally by a mobile phone detection camera?

Warning letters will be issued for the first three months, during which time drivers caught using their phone illegally by a mobile phone detection camera will be issued with a warning letter to encourage them to change their behaviour.

Fines and demerit point penalties will be issued to all drivers who commit an offence after the three month warning period has concluded.

12. What is the penalty for being caught for illegal phone use?

The fine for illegal mobile phone use is $344, or $457 if detected in a school zone. There is a five demerit point penalty for illegal mobile phone use, which increases to 10 demerit points during double demerit periods.

Learner and provisional P1 licence holders will exceed their demerit point threshold and lose their licence if caught illegally using their mobile phone. All learner and provisional P1 and P2 licence holders will exceed their demerit point threshold and lose their licence if they are caught using a mobile phone during a double demerit period.

These penalties apply to both camera-detected offences and infringements issued by NSW Police.

13. Do double demerits apply for mobile phone offences detected by a mobile phone detection camera?

Yes, double demerits apply to mobile phone offences during double demerit periods, during which the penalty increases to 10 demerit points.

Unrestricted licence holders (drivers and motorcyclists) and bicycle riders

  1. Can I hold and use my phone?
  2. Can I touch my phone if it is in a cradle?
  3. Can I dial a number if my mobile phone is in a cradle?
  4. What do I need to do to use other functions of my mobile phone (e.g. texting, emailing, social media)?
  5. Do I need to be parked with my ignition off to use my phone?
  6. If I have a Digital Driver Licence and I’m pulled over by NSW Police, when is it OK to pick up my phone to show my licence?
  7. Can I have my mobile phone in my pocket if I’m using Bluetooth to make or receive a call?
  8. I’m a rideshare driver. Can I use the dispatch system app on my phone if it’s mounted in a cradle?
  9. Can I use a GPS device that is not a phone?
  10. Where can I attach a cradle to my vehicle?
  11. Will the introduction of mobile phone detection cameras affect me?
  12. Is there a warning period for the start of the mobile phone detection camera program?
  13. What is the penalty for being caught for illegal mobile phone use?
  14. Do double demerits apply for mobile phone offences detected by a mobile phone detection camera?

1. Can I hold and use my phone?

No. It’s illegal to hold and use your phone while stationary at traffic lights or stuck in traffic.

2. Can I touch my phone if it is in a cradle?

If your phone is secured in a cradle, you can only touch your phone:

  • To make or receive a phone call;
  • For audio playing functions; or
  • For using a driver’s aid (such as navigation).

Using a mobile phone legally can still be distracting. Consider the traffic conditions before using your phone.

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

Yes. You can use a mobile phone to make or receive audio phone calls if it is secured in a mounting (i.e. cradle) fixed to the vehicle.

Using a mobile phone legally can still be distracting. Please consider if the call is urgent and the traffic conditions before using your phone.

4. What do I need to do to use other functions of my mobile phone (e.g. texting, emailing, social media)?

If you would like to use your phone for any of these functions, your vehicle must be parked out of the line of traffic.

5. Do I need to be parked with my ignition off to use my phone?

To use a mobile phone, you must be parked out of the line of traffic. However, the ignition does not need to be turned off.

6. If I have a Digital Driver Licence and I’m pulled over by NSW Police, when is it OK to pick up my phone to show my licence?

You can only handle and use your mobile phone to access your Digital Driver Licence after being requested to do so by a police officer. It’s illegal to touch your phone before a police officer instructs you to do so. For more information on the Digital Driver Licence, please visit the Service NSW website.

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

Yes. You can use a mobile phone to make or receive calls if it is in your pocket and it does not require you to touch the phone in any way.

8. I’m a ride share driver. Can I use the dispatch system app on my phone if it’s mounted in a cradle?

Yes. You can use a mobile phone as a dispatch system as long as it is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure your view of the road.

9. Can I use a GPS device that is not a phone?

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.

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

The cradle (also known as a mounting) must be fixed to the vehicle in a manner intended by the manufacturer. It must not obscure your view of the road (in front and to each side). Find more information in our Windscreen mounted phones and GPS fact sheet (PDF, 56Kb).

11. Will the introduction of mobile phone detection cameras affect me?

Yes, unrestricted licence holders are not permitted to hold and use their phone while driving or riding.

Mobile phone detection cameras will enforce illegal mobile phone use anywhere, anytime across the NSW road network.

12. Is there a warning period for the start of the mobile phone detection camera program?

Yes, warning letters will be issued for the first three months, during which time drivers caught using their phone illegally by a mobile phone detection camera will be issued with a warning letter to encourage them to change their behaviour.

Fines and demerit point penalties will be issued to all drivers who commit an offence after the three month warning period has concluded.

Please note NSW Police provide ongoing police enforcement of illegal mobile phone use.

13. What is the penalty for being caught for illegal mobile phone use?

The fine for illegal mobile phone use is $344, or $457 if detected in a school zone. There is a five demerit point penalty for illegal mobile phone use, which increases to 10 demerit points during double demerit periods.

These fines and demerit point penalties apply to both camera-detected offences and infringements issued by NSW Police.

14. Do double demerits appl for mobile phone offences detected by a mobile phone detection camera?

Yes, double demerits apply to mobile phone offences during double demerit periods, during which the penalty increases to 10 demerit points.