Can you be fined for using a smartwatch while driving?

| 30.09,22. 04:53 AM |

Can you be fined for using a

?smartwatch while driving

Closeup shot of a man checking his smartwatch while exercising outdoors.
Smartwatches are growing more popular, but are not advisable for drivers. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It's official - smartwatches can make for stupid drivers .
While Australia's states and territories largely lack device-specific laws that deal with using smartwatches behind the wheel, fiddling around with your favourite tech while driving can nonetheless land you a hefty penalty - and put you at risk of a crash.
Mostly, smartwatch offences mimic mobile phone use for motorists, all under the umbrella of "distracted" or "inattentive" drivers.
Here's how the issue is dealt with, state by state.

New South Wales

Currently there are no road rules in NSW that specifically address smartwatch use.
But when a smartwatch is worn by a driver, it must not be used for text messaging, video messaging, emailing, social media or similar communications while operating a vehicle.
"If a smartwatch is used for these mobile phone functions while operating a vehicle, mobile phone rules apply," a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.
Smartwatch use is often covered by mobile phone use laws. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
"Simply taking your eyes off the road for longer than two seconds – the time it takes to read a message – doubles the risk of a crash."
Breaching mobile phone use laws will net an offender a loss of five demerit points and a $362 fine.


Victoria advises drivers to avoid using smartwatches while driving.
"When a smartwatch is worn by a driver it should not be used while driving for making or receiving phone calls, navigation, music, text or video messaging, email or social media," VicRoads says on its website.
"Smartwatches can also be used if the driver does not touch anything on the smartwatch (for example, making and receiving calls needs to be hands-free via Bluetooth or similar means), and that it is secured in a commercially designed mounting affixed to the vehicle (this may be unavailable)."
Laws on mobile phone use in Victoria also apply to smartwatches.
Drivers who break the law face an on-the-spot fine of $484 and will incur four demerit points.


In Queensland, it is not a specific offence to use a smartwatch while driving, but anything that distracts a driver still attracts penalties.
"Smart watches are a major distraction for drivers and police can still charge a driver with driving without due care and attention," a Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said.
"We have mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras across Queensland.
"The cameras detect illegal mobile phone use and failure to wear a seatbelt by both drivers and front-seat passengers but are not used to enforce offences relating to smartwatches."

South Australia

The state follows the Australian Road Rules around visual display units or VDUs, a category that includes smartwatches and other "wearable computers".
Under those rules, it's an offence to have a VDU operating in a moving vehicle, or a stationary vehicle that is not parked, if the screen is visible to the driver.

Western Australia

The rules are similar here to those in South Australia, with exceptions for drivers aid uses such as navigating.
However, the smartwatch must be mounted rather than on the wrist.
Breaching the rules brings a $300 fine and three demerit points.
Using mobile phone functions such as making calls or texting while in a moving vehicle incurs a far heftier penalty of a $1000 fine and four demerit points.


Smartwatch use in Tasmania can be penalised as an inattentive driving offence.
"Driving without due care and attention" can be punished with a $173 fine and three demerit points.

Northern Territory

Drivers can use smartwatches to make a phone call only if they don't have to touch any part of the device to do it.
A penalty of $500 applies for VDU offences.

Australian Capital Territory

The same laws in the ACT govern mobile phone, tablet, and smartwatch use while driving.
They can be used under certain circumstances - if the device is secured and mounted, and the driver doesn't touch it - to make phone calls, play music, or navigate.
But accessing the internet, checking text messages and other activities can bring a fine of between $487 to $598, and a loss of three to four demerit points.

(Votes: 0)

Other News

Driver killed after truck runs off road and onto train line below New flood warning system for NSW as official storm season kicks off Government calls for Optus to pay for new passports if Australians' data breached SES worried about Echunga dam failing and flooding town as pumps struggle to reduce water level Millions of Medicare cards could be reissued after Optus data breach Optus hack victims warned about new scam as fraudsters try to 'cash in' Motorists face higher fuel prices as excise cut ends but farmers, trucking industry expect relief Woman injured after cement truck explosion throws her down embankment Woolworths rolls out eco-friendly initiatives in new sustainability push Ten-day warning for country as 'series of weather systems loom' Young man dies after appendix surgery Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil says Optus ‘left the window open’ for cyber criminals to conduct simple hack Robodebt royal commission hearings start in Brisbane today. Here's what to expect Australians will return to paying full price on petrol from this week Father-of-four dies in suspected hit-and-run in Sydney's west Sydney grandmother claims she was given $352 fine for honking her horn Two boys and two girls charged after Brisbane motorcyclist dies Victims of 'Hi Mum' texting scam quadruple, support charity says it's just 'tip of the iceberg' Flooding in parts of NSW could worsen this week Melissa Caddick's sprawling Dover Heights mansion listed for sale Child who drowned in NSW floodwaters identified as Sydney boy Jayden El Jer Three-year-old killed in Melbourne shed fire remembered as a 'very happy, energetic boy' Urgent search underway for two missing brothers in Adelaide Driver with child in car allegedly blew four times alcohol limit Australian Federal Police monitoring dark web amid allegations stolen Optus data may be sold online Five-year-old boy dies in floodwaters in NSW central west Optus cyber attack investigation amid alleged ransom threat Officer 'bitten' during ramming of police car after burglary in Melbourne NSW dam levels reach 100 per cent capacity in many regions Optus rejects insider claims of 'human error' as possible factor in hack affecting millions of Australians