New road rules are being introduced regulating the use of a range of portable, wearable and inbuilt devices while driving a vehicle or riding a motorbike. The rules expand and clarify a number of rules already in place for mobile phones, and take effect on 31 March 2023.
Distraction is a key contributor to road trauma with research showing the risk of drivers crashing increases when texting, browsing or emailing. Distraction is also involved in at least 11 per cent of fatalities – equal to at least 20 people each year whose death is avoidable.
The rules reflect the significant increase of in-vehicle technologies and other technologies capable of distracting a driver and are designed to help keep people safe on our roads.
The rules are expanded from mobile phones and visual display units to cover:
- Portable devices (unmounted mobile phones, tablets);
- Wearable devices (smartwatches, wearable heads-up display);
- Inbuilt devices (Information, navigation, and entertainment systems, heads-up display that is an inbuilt part of the vehicle);
- Mounted devices (Heads-up display, tablet, mobile phone, media player etc if securely mounted in or on a vehicle); and
- Motor bike helmet devices.
Drivers who hold a full licence in general cannot touch an unmounted portable device, such as a phone, tablet, laptop or any other device while driving. Specifically, for all device types (portable, mounted, wearable and inbuilt) you must not, while driving:
- enter text, numbers or symbols
- scroll (such as on websites, social media, playlists)
- play videos or games or take video calls
- display text messages, social media, emails, or photos
- rest a device on any part of the body, or pass a device to a passenger.
Rules for portable devices such as unmounted or loose mobile phones, tablets, laptops, media players and game-consoles
When driving (except when parked), you must not:
- Touch a portable device, even if it is turned off
- Allow a portable device to be in your lap or on any part of your body or clothes (unless it is in a pocket, or in a pouch attached to your belt or other part of your body)
- Look at the display of a device being operated by another person in the vehicle
- Pass a portable device to a passenger
- If a passenger, pass a portable device to a driver
- Connect to your vehicle’s Bluetooth and place the device out of sight and reach before you start driving.
- Use a mobile phone or other device to pay at a drive-through.
The new rules also apply to riders and operators of operators of bicycles, electric scooters, recreational vehicles and electric personal transporters.
Find out more about the new rules for Drivers with Full licences on the VicRoads
Reviewed 02 April 2023