Mobile phones, digital screens and GPS

There are strict rules about using a mobile phone, digital screen or GPS while driving in NSW. Know the rules that apply to you.

Mobile phone rules

Using a mobile phone while driving affects your attention and response time. This increases your chance of crashing.

There are strict rules about how and when you can use a mobile phone while driving. These rules depend on whether you have a full (unrestricted) licence, or a learner, provisional P1 or P2 licence.

Using a mobile phone while driving

Learner, P1 and P2 drivers

You must not use a mobile phone while driving, even when you’re stationary, for example, stopped at lights or stuck in traffic. This includes for:

  • texting
  • phone calls
  • music
  • emailing
  • social media
  • using the internet
  • maps and navigation
  • photography.

This applies to mobile phones that are handheld, in a phone holder or hands-free, for example, via Bluetooth.

Drivers with a full licence

There are only 2 ways you can use a mobile phone while driving:

  1. Hands-free – you can only use your phone hands-free (without touching it) to:
    • make or receive voice calls
    • play audio, for example, music and podcasts.
  2. In a phone holder – you can only use and touch your phone to:
    • make or receive voice calls
    • play audio, for example, music and podcasts
    • use as a driver’s aid, for example, maps and navigation apps or dispatch systems.

Phone holders must be commercially manufactured and fixed to your vehicle, and must not obscure your vision.

You must not use a mobile phone while driving for any other function. This includes for:

  • texting
  • video calls
  • emailing
  • social media
  • using the internet
  • photography.

When driving, you must not hold a mobile phone in your hand. It must not rest on your leg, be between your shoulder and ear or any other part of your body.

Using a mobile phone when parked

All drivers, including learner, P1 and P2 drivers, can use a mobile phone for any function when parked out of the line of traffic. The ignition does not need to be off.

Exemptions

All drivers, including learner, P1 and P2 drivers, can use a mobile phone to:

  • show their digital driver licence when instructed by a police officer
  • use wallet functions to make a transaction or show a voucher, but only in areas such as a car park, driveway or drive‑through, and when the vehicle is stationary.

Penalties for mobile phone use

Mobile phone detection cameras target illegal mobile phone use in vehicles anywhere, anytime.

You can get a fine and demerit points for using a mobile phone illegally. Double demerit points also apply.

If you have a learner or P1 licence, you’ll go over your demerit point limit and lose your licence.

Digital screens and GPS

Digital screens, also known as visual display units, include devices such as tablets and laptops, as well as dashboard screens.

The rules

You must not drive with a digital screen on if you can see it, or it could distract another driver, unless you’re using it as a driver aids. In this case, it must be in a holder fixed to the vehicle or built into the vehicle.

Driver’s aids include:

  • navigation devices, for example, GPS
  • dispatch systems
  • reversing screens
  • CCTV security cameras
  • vehicle monitoring devices.

Your passengers can use digital screens, but the screens must not:

  • be visible to you from the normal driving position
  • distract another driver.

Penalties

You can get a fine and demerit points for using a digital screen illegally while driving.

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