In NSW, the driver is responsible for ensuring that all passengers are wearing seatbelts and are not engaging in any behaviour that may distract the driver or compromise road safety. However, the driver is not held directly responsible for a passenger’s use of a mobile phone.


Under NSW traffic laws, it is illegal for drivers to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving, unless it is being used in a hands-free manner (e.g., through Bluetooth or voice commands). Passengers, on the other hand, are generally allowed to use their mobile phones while in a vehicle, as long as they are not causing a distraction to the driver.


However, if a passenger’s use of a mobile phone becomes a significant distraction to the driver and affects their ability to operate the vehicle safely, the driver could potentially face penalties. This could fall under the offence of "negligent driving" or "driving without proper control," depending on the circumstances. It should also be noted that it is an offence for any screen of a mobile phone or another device (including laptops, iPad etc) to be visible to a driver or that would otherwise be a distraction to the driver, pursuant to Regulation 299(1) of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW)


Are there any exceptions to this rule?


The short answer is, Yes. Regulation 299(2) of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW) notes:


(2) This rule does not apply to the driver if– 

(a) the driver is driving a bus and the visual display unit is, or displays, a destination sign or other bus sign, or 


(b) the visual display unit is used as a driver’s aid and either– 

(i) is an integrated part of the vehicle design, or 

(ii) is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being used, or 

(ba) the visual display unit is a mobile data terminal fitted to a police vehicle or an emergency vehicle, or 

(c) the driver or vehicle is exempt from this rule under another law of this jurisdiction. 


Examples of driver’s aids : 

1 Closed-circuit television security cameras. 

2 Dispatch systems. 

3 Navigational or intelligent highway and vehicle system equipment. 

4 Rearview screens. 

5 Ticket-issuing machines.

Vehicle monitoring devices. 


Why Should you Choose Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers to represent you in your Court Case?


Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers a reputable Law Firm is the leading Law firm in both Criminal Law & Traffic Law matters. Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers has dealt with the most complex matters and our office appears in all Jurisdictions in Criminal Law. No matter is too complex for the team so be sure to book your first Free Consultation today!


It is very important that you speak with a lawyer so that you can get the appropriate legal advice which you require prior to going to court.


Our team of experienced solicitors are there for you and can help you answer all your questions, so be sure to contact Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers.


*This article correctly reflects the Laws of NSW as at 31st October 2023.


*Please note that this page or any other pages on our website (including any other social media platforms for Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers) are not to be considered as a substitute for legal advice or even other professional advice. It should also be noted that accessing of this information from this website does not create a client-lawyer relationship.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *