Using CB while driving

As we know in Australia it is illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving, and in some states it is illegal to use even a hands-free phone by Learner and Provisional licence holders. This comes under Rule 300 of the Australian Road Rules (ARR), as adopted by each state/territory.

Rule 300 of the ARR states:

300—Use of mobile phones

(1)         The driver of a vehicle must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, unless—

(a)         the phone is being used to make or receive an audio phone call and the body of the phone—

(i)         is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being so used; or

(ii)         is not secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle and is not being held by the driver, and the use of the phone does not require the driver, at any time while using it, to press any thing on the body of the phone or to otherwise manipulate any part of the body of the phone; or

(ab)         the phone is being used as a driver’s aid and—

(i)         the body of the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being so used; and

(ii)         the use of the phone does not require the driver, at any time while using it, to press any thing on the body of the phone or otherwise to manipulate any part of the body of the phone; or

(b)         the vehicle is an emergency vehicle or a police vehicle; or

(c)         the driver is exempt from this rule under another law of this jurisdiction.

Each state has a slight variation on this, in some to ban L and P drivers from using any phone and in many to clarify when a phone can be used. However, what all of them have in common is the definition of a mobile phone:

ACT: mobile phone includes any other wire less hand-held device designed or capable of being used for telecommunication other than a CB radio or any other 2-way radio. [Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Regulation 2000, section 30B, subsection 3].

NSW: “mobile phone” does not include a CB radio or any other two-way radio. [Road Rules 2014, Rule 300, paragraph 4].

VIC: mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two way radio [Road Safety Road Rules 2009, Rule 300, paragraph 4].

QLD: mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two-way radio. [Transport Operations (Road Use Management-Road Rules) Regulation 2009, section 300, subsection 2].

SA: mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two way radio [Australian Road Rules 2014, Rule 300, paragraph 4].

WA: mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two way radio [Road Traffic Code 2000, Regulation 265, paragraph 1].

TAS: mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two way radio [Road Rules 2009, Rule 300, paragraph 4].

NT: mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two way radio [Australian Road Rules 2014, Rule 300, paragraph 4].

This, very simply, means that using a hand held CB microphone is NOT illegal under the legislation that bans the use of mobile phones, and in fact there is no road rule than specifically bans the use of a CB or two-way radio microphone while driving.

HOWEVER, there is legislation concerning the proper control of a motor vehicle (ARR 297), which means that while you could not be fined for holding and using a CB microphone, if you are not in full control of the vehicle because you are using the microphone you could be fined under that road rule.

297 Driver to have proper control of a vehicle etc

(1) A driver must not drive a vehicle unless the driver has proper control of the vehicle.

Ultimately, what does this mean?

Ultimately each driver is responsible for ensuring they have proper and safe control of the vehicle they are driving. This must always be paramount, and a microphone cord tangled around a steering wheel or gear stick can be extremely dangerous. While there is no road rule that bans the use of a hand held CB/two-way microphone while driving, you must still be certain you are in full control of your vehicle while using the microphone, and that it does not pose a risk to the safety of you, your vehicle or others.

Also, be aware that not every Police officer has knowledge of every single road rule; if they see you with a microphone in your hand be prepared to defend your actions! Be polite, point out it is a CB microphone and that under the Australian Road Rules it is exempted from the mobile phone rule, but in the end if the officer wishes to issue a fine you may need to defend your action in court.

Top