Having a mobile phone in your hand while driving is illegal, even if you are stopped at traffic lights and traffic is non-existent. To use a mobile you need to either have a hands free kit or pull over.
NOTE: Drivers on P or L plate and under 25 years old are not allowed to use a mobile phone while driving at any time (including hands free) in all States except W.A.
Each state has specific laws for which all links to each state are listed below. However, we have laid out the Queensland details below as example:
Mobile phones and driving
Driving is a task that requires all of your attention in order to be safe. There is a lot of research showing that mobile phones distract people from other tasks. Queensland law provides rules that restrict the use of mobile phones while driving.
The information provided below summarises the rules relating to the use of mobile phones while driving. Get more information about driving and using mobile phones by reading the Queensland Road Rules.
Can I use a mobile phone with the phone in my hand while driving?
No. Driving with a mobile phone in the driver’s hand is illegal. This includes, but is not limited to, making and receiving calls and any other function of the phone. You can be fined if your mobile phone is in your hand for any reason while you are driving.
Can I use a mobile phone that is in my hand while stopped at traffic lights or in a queue of congested traffic?
No. If you are stopped in traffic it is illegal for the driver to use a mobile phone that is held in his or her hand.
Can I stop on the side of the road to use my mobile phone?
Yes so long as you park legally.
What does ‘park legally’ mean?
To stop and stay in an area where there is no prohibition on stopping or parking. It is recommended that you secure the vehicle by applying parking brakes; put the automatic transmission into ‘park’ and turn off the ignition.
Can I use a mobile phone that is hands-free?
Yes so long as you are not a learner driver, P plater or probationary licence holder under the age of 25 years.
If I’m a learner driver or P plater under the age of 25 years can I use a mobile phone hands free?
There is a ban on all mobile phone use (including hands-free) for:
- learner drivers under 25 years of age
- P1 provisional drivers under 25 years of age
- P1 probationary licence holders and P1 restricted licence holders who hold a restricted licence because of a young driver disqualification offence.
- There is also a ban on mobile phone use on loudspeaker function for supervisors and passengers of these drivers.
What is a young driver disqualification offence?
This is an offence committed when the person was under 25 years of age that led to the disqualification of their licence.
Are there other rules that apply to using phones while driving?
Even if you are using your phone hands free, if you drive erratically or are obviously distracted from the driving task, other rules may be contravened. For example, you may be guilty of driving while not having proper control of the vehicle or driving without due care and attention. Also, a mobile phone that is mounted in a hands-free mounting bracket on the windscreen must not obscure the driver’s view of the road.
What is the best road safety advice for the use of mobile phones while driving?
The link between driver distraction and increased crash risk has been demonstrated by a number of studies. The Queensland Government wants drivers to recognise that any action that distracts from the driving task is a risk to their safety (as well as everyone else’s). Drivers should choose not to engage in potentially dangerous activities while driving. Too many Queensland drivers are being distracted while on the road by things like mobile phones, iPods and other hand-held devices.
Links to relevant state laws: