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Scenario: If you’re going through a drive-thru, and want to use your pay pass on your phone, does the car have to be turned off?

Yes, the car would have to be turned off. Section 300 of the Australian Road Rules states that the driver of a vehicle must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked. Using a phone to pay pass does not fall under any of the exceptions to the section.

Police in each state have come out to state that under the law it is an offence to use a mobile phone while still in the line of traffic and not parked.

A reference in the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) to a road includes a reference to a road-related area unless it is otherwise expressly stated. (6A road traffic Act).


“road-related area” means any of the following:

(a)         an area that divides a road;

(b)         a footpath or nature strip adjacent to a road;

(c)         an area that is not a road and that is open to the public and designated for use by cyclists or animals;

(d)         any public place that is not a road and on which a vehicle may be driven, whether or not it is lawful to drive a vehicle there; (s5 Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA))

Even though the drive-through is privately owned, it’s still considered a public area because part of the business of the takeaway drive-through is that public cars come in and drive through and buy food – and would be classified as a road related area.

It is unlikely Police would actively pursue drivers breaching such a rule, however it is always best to know what you can and cant do.

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