We all know that it’s illegal to hold your mobile phone while driving. But what if you swap your mobile phone for a takeaway coffee or a quick bite to eat from a late night Maccas run?
Can the police pull you over for eating behind the wheel?
NSW Road Rules
While there is no specific road rule prohibiting drivers from eating while behind the wheel in NSW, drivers may still find themselves being pulled over by police if they appear to be distracted.
Drivers caught snacking behind the wheel may be liable under Rule 297 of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW). Rule 297 states that a driver must not drive a vehicle unless the driver has proper control of the vehicle.
Drivers found in contravention of this rule commonly face a $448 fine.
In 2018 a Perth woman incurred 3 demerit points and a $300 fine for “driving without due care and attention” (the WA version of the offence) while eating a bowl of cereal while driving.
In more serious circumstances, drivers may be charged with negligent, furious or reckless driving.
Negligent driving is an offence under section 117 of the Road Transport Act. The offence is broken up into three different levels of severity, which are as follows:
- Negligent driving not occasioning death or grievous bodily harm
- Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm
- Negligent driving occasioning death
The maximum penalties range from a fine and licence disqualification, to a term of imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence.