Are we becoming more distracted on the roads? To explore both how common and dangerous distracted driving can be, we’ve combined government statistics with our own first-hand research.

Quick Stats

  • Despite it being illegal, over 20% of drivers in our survey aged 18-34 feel comfortable using their mobile phone when driving.

  • 38% of Australian respondents feel there are times when using a mobile phone is appropriate when driving. (such as in emergencies, or when stuck at traffic lights)

  • 64% of Australian participants never use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature on their phone when driving.

Fatigue, alcohol, and drugs all have the potential to impair your focus and vision. But what if your eyes aren’t on the road at all? The Queensland Government suggests that someone distracted is just as dangerous on the road as a drink driver.

To find out just how distractions occur and how common they are across Australian drivers, we’ve surveyed 811 Australians 18+ (with registered cars, and active drivers licences), and collected government data to uncover:

1.0 What are the common distractions for drivers?
2.0 The Risks of Distracted Driving
3.0 Distracted Driving Survey Results
4.0 What You Should Consider on the Road

1.0 What are the common distractions for drivers?

With all the features of modern cars, technology, and life we are presented with more distractions than ever. The common distractions Australian drivers face include:

  • texting/mobile messaging

  • eating and drinking

  • smoking/vaping

  • applying makeup

  • hair styling

  • changing music or audio

  • reading a map/navigation app

  • changing clothes.

Any of these can take a driver’s eyes off the road for several seconds, which is more than enough for hazards or accidents to become unavoidable.

2.0 The Risks of Distracted Driving

2.1 Added dangers of distracted driving

Plenty of research and studies have proven the dangers of distracted driving. Some of the key findings from around Australia include:


people die on Queensland roads each year, due to distracted driving.


people are seriously injured on Queensland roads each year, due to distracted driving.

2.2 Legal Penalties Across Australia

As you would expect, each state and territory has firm laws on distracted driving – particularly the use of a mobile phone. Fines around Australia can range from as low as $344 in Tasmania, up to $1,000 in Queensland or Western Australia.

  Fine Demerit points
Queensland $1,000 4
New South Wales $349 5
Victoria $496 4
Western Australia $1,000 4
South Australia $544 3
Tasmania $344 3
Northern Territory $500 3
Australian Capital Territory $480 3

3.0 Distracted Driving Survey Results

3.1 Australians are growing less comfortable using their mobile phones while driving

Do you feel comfortable driving while using your phone?

By State
By Gender
By Age

When compared to the survey we conducted in 2021 of 1,008 Australians 18+ with driver’s licences, respondents in 2022 were less inclined to feel comfortable using a phone while driving.

Western Australian and Tasmanian respondents were the most comfortable using phones, although strong majorities of each state’s respondents still suggested they aren’t comfortable using a phone while driving. South Australian respondents were particularly wary of mobile phone use - recording the lowest levels of comfort out of any Australian state.

Male respondents were significantly more comfortable using a phone while driving when compared to females. But again, a majority of both men and women aren’t comfortable driving distracted.

Around 21% of survey participants aged 18-34 felt comfortable driving while using their mobile phone. As survey participants grew older, they were less inclined to be comfortable using a mobile phone while driving.

3.2 Almost 50% of participants aged 18-24 feel it’s okay to use a mobile while driving, if there’s an emergency

When do you think it would be appropriate to use a mobile phone while driving?*

By Age
By Comfort Using Phone

In an emergency

In standstill traffic

At a traffic light

While moving, if it is safe to do so







































In an emergency

In standstill traffic

At a traffic light

While moving, if it is safe to do so


Not comfortable when driving






Comfortable when driving






*Participants were able to select all options that applied to them, except for “Never”, which was mutually exclusive. Percentages may not add to 100%.

28% of drivers who said in Q3.1 they were comfortable using a mobile phone when driving believed that phones are never appropriate to use when driving. However, over 35% of that same cohort believed that phones were okay to use at traffic lights, or in standstill traffic. 

Again, a strong correlation appeared between opinions of mobile phone use, and age. 47% of participants aged 18-24 believe mobile phones are okay to use in an emergency. Over 21% of those aged 25-34 believe mobile phones are appropriate when you’re at a traffic light, or in standstill traffic.

Around Australia, only 62% of Australian participants agreed that phones are never appropriate for use.

3.3 Queenslanders surveyed as the most likely to use the “Do Not Disturb” feature when driving

How often do you set your phone to "do not disturb" while driving?

By State
By Age

64% of Australian respondents said they never use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature when driving. Only 13% responded by saying they use it every time.

Participants aged 18-24 were more likely than any other age group to use their phone’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ when driving. Over 65s were the next most likely, with drivers aged 35-44 showing as the least likely to use the feature in our survey.

Queenslanders were also the most likely to use the feature, averaging well above the national average. Tasmanians responded with the lowest rates of using the feature.

3.4 A majority of Australian respondents agree that texting is more distracting than reading a printed map

Which of these actions do you feel is the most distracting while driving?

4.0 What You Should Consider on the Road

Prepare Your Phone Before You Set Off

A lot of us use our phones for navigation, which is a fair and legal thing to do if it’s held in a hands-free mount and arranged prior to setting off. However, arranging navigation (or otherwise using your phone) while driving not only risks a hefty fine, it severely increases your risks of being in an accident and causing harm to yourself or other road users.

Don't Let Your Phone Distract You

It’s not unusual for your phone to buzz while you’re on the move. But if you’re prepared and accept that will happen, it’s easier to make the decision simply not to check it.

Or better yet, you can avoid the temptation to check your phone by putting it on "Do Not Disturb" mode as you take off. For a quick and simple guide to setting this up, check out our interactive guide for turning on Do Not Disturb.

Consider How Much Time Distractions Will Cost You

There are some handheld foods that can be consumed that will almost never need you to take your eyes off the road. Others might take a little more attention away, increasing your risk of an accident.

This comes down to you using your best judgement as a driver. If something (like applying makeup) is going to take your eyes off the road for even a moment a little too long, it’s worth either waiting until you arrive, or pulling the car over.