Ask RACQ: Can emergency services use mobile phones while driving?

We’ve been sent images by our members in the past weeks of emergency services staff using mobile phones while driving, questioning “isn’t this against the law?”

ANSWER: In Queensland, it is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving and the offence attracts a $365 fine and three demerit points, and double demerits if caught twice in 12 months. In fact, you can also be fined for using a handheld device while driving any vehicle eg. riding a bike, riding a horse, or even riding a motorised esky (that’s actually happened!)

However, there is an exception for emergency services.

Under Section 300 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009 – Use of mobile phones

  • The driver of a vehicle (except an emergency vehicle or police vehicle) must not use a mobile phone that the driver is holding in the driver’s hand while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked. Maximum penalty – 20 penalty units.

Police officers use their phones to receive information about a job, just as they might need to increase their speed above the legal limit.

But wherever possible, police will comply with all road rules.