General News

7 March, 2024

Put the phone away while driving

WHILE most drivers do the right thing on our roads, unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to mobile phones.

By Rachael McMahon

Put the phone away while driving - feature photo

In our region, I’ve unfortunately seen some people texting while waiting at traffic lights or chatting with the phone held up to their ear.

More than two-thirds of Queenslanders say they have used a mobile phone illegally on 10 per cent or more of trips.

It only takes one person a moment of inattention to cause a crash that will lead to lifetime consequences through serious injury or even death.

To reduce driver distraction, the Queensland Government last year introduced tough new laws and penalties around mobile phone use while driving.

On average, 29 people are killed and 1284 seriously injured each year on Queensland roads because of crashes where driver distraction played a part.

For all drivers, regardless of the licence you hold, you must not:

• hold your phone in your hand while driving, or

• have your phone resting on any part of your body, including your lap, while driving.

 These rules apply even when you are not moving, such as at traffic lights, or when your phone is turned off.

If you have an open or P2 licence, you can use your phone hands-free in a mobile phone cradle attached to the vehicle or via in-car Bluetooth.

But you need to make sure the phone does not block your view, that you always have control of your vehicle and you maintain attention on the road.

Learner and P1 drivers under 25 must not use a phone at all while driving, including using maps, hands-free or Bluetooth.

Passengers of learner and P1 provisional drivers are also banned from using a mobile phone's loudspeaker function.

The penalties for illegally using a mobile phone have increased to a $1161 fine and four demerit points.

If you are caught again within 12 months, you will be issued with another $1161 fine and a further eight demerit points. 

Learner drivers will lose their licence after one mobile phone offence.

Distracted driving while using a phone is just as dangerous as drink driving. It slows your reaction time and makes you four times as likely to be involved in a serious crash.

To avoid the temptation of using a phone, put it out of reach while driving, or set up the ‘do not disturb while driving’ function.

Rachael McMahon is a Senior Associate and Office Leader at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers’ Cairns office. This legal information is general in nature and should not be regarded as specific legal advice. If you have a legal question you would like answered, you can contact Rachael on


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