Eating while driving laws in NSW

Is it legal to eat while driving?

It’s a common question.

After all, you don’t want to get pulled over because of a late-night Maccas Run.

So, can the police pull you over for eating behind the wheel?


NSW Road Rules (Eating While Driving)

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

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.

Related Post: Eating While Driving Fines

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Written By
James Janke
James Janke

James Janke is founding partner at Hamilton Janke Lawyers, and has more then decade of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. Admitted to both the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia

Reviewed By
Drew Hamilton
Drew Hamilton

Drew Hamilton is founding partner at Hamilton Janke Lawyers. Admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales as a Solicitor and also listed on the High Court of Australia register.