Under the Road Safety Act 1986, the Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2009, and the Road Safety Road Rules 2009, the use of mobile phones or other devices such as smartwatches while driving or riding in Victoria is very restricted and significant penalties may apply.
Using a mobile phone while driving has been found to be the cause of multiple accidents – many fatal. If you look away from the road for even 2 seconds, your crash risk doubles. The aim of the law is to prevent road accidents and particularly fatalities.
If you hold a learner licence or a P1 or P2 provisional licence in Victoria, you must not use a device such as a mobile phone for any purpose while you are driving. This means you cannot even use a hands-free system. You are also considered to be driving if you are stationary but not parked in an authorised space, such as if you are stopped at traffic lights.
If you are caught using a device while driving, you will receive a fine and 4 demerit points. Once you reach 5 demerit points, you will most likely have your licence suspended.
For the holder of an open or full driver’s licence, using a mobile phone while driving in Victoria is generally prohibited, subject to only a few exceptions.
If you hold an open or full driver’s licence in Victoria, you are permitted to use your phone to make or receive a phone call or to use audio or music function, but only if it is:
- held securely in a commercially designed cradle fixed to your car, or
- can be operated without touching any part of the phone.
The driver must not hold the phone, and the phone must not rest on any part of the driver’s body.
You may use your phone as a navigational device only if it is held securely in a commercially designed cradle fixed to your vehicle.
You must not make video calls, text or email while driving, even if stationary, unless you are parked in an authorised parking area.
If you hold an open motorcycle licence, your use of a mobile phone or other device is generally the same as for an open car licence holder.
However, if you have held your licence for less than 3 years, you must not use a mobile phone or other device for any function while you are riding, including when your motorcycle is stationary unless it is parked in an authorised space.
Drivers who have a smartwatch, whether it is being worn or not, are held to similar standards as drivers with mobile phones.
If you are driving while wearing your watch, you must not use it for making or receiving telephone calls, sending or receiving text messages, navigation, video messaging, emailing, or accessing social media.
If you have an open driver’s licence, you may use your smartwatch:
- for playing music
- for making or receiving phone calls, or
- as a driver’s aid such as a navigational device,
but you must not:
- be wearing the watch at the time, or
- touch anything on the watch
or you must:
- have it secured in a commercially designed cradle attached to the vehicle.
Using a mobile phone while driving in Victoria has significant consequences for the driver, aside from the risk of crashing.
Drivers may have their licence suspended if they accrue:
- for open or full licence-holders, 12 demerit points in a 3 year period, or
- for learner, P1 or P2 provisional licence-holders, 5 demerit points in a 12 month period or 12 points in a 3 year period.
This article reflects the state of the law as at 27 January 2016. It is intended to be of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please telephone 1300 636 846 or request a consultation at gotocourt.com.au.