Responsible driving means driving with the safety and convenience of all road users in mind.

Important driver responsibilities

Operation of a vehicle

A driver must not operate a vehicle in a condition or way that could cause:

  • injury to any person or animal
  • annoyance to any person
  • damage to any property
  • distraction to the driver.

Unsafe vehicle or load

You must not drive an unsafe vehicle or a vehicle with an unsafe load which:

  • isn't tied down
  • could fall from the vehicle
  • is dragging on the ground.

Dangerous riding

You must not ride in or on a vehicle in a way that might result in injury. If you’re the driver you must not let your passengers ride in or on the vehicle in an unsafe way.

Carrying people or packages

Holding a package, person or animal in your lap or arms while driving is dangerous. Put packages in a secure place such as the boot. If this isn’t possible, put them somewhere inside the vehicle where they won’t hurt anyone if the vehicle stops suddenly.

Children and pets

Children and pets can be noisy or need your help when you’re driving. If you have to deal with the needs of children or pets, pull over to the side of the road and park your vehicle first.


A driver or passenger must not use any vehicle lighting equipment in a way that will dazzle, confuse or distract other road users.

Noisy and smoky vehicles

You must not drive a vehicle that:

  • makes a lot of noise, inside or outside the vehicle, due to:
    • the way the vehicle is being driven
    • the condition of the vehicle
    • any other means – such as a car stereo
  • makes noise that's likely to annoy anyone
  • makes smoke for 10 seconds or more.

Make sure your vehicle’s exhaust system and engine are in good working order. This will prevent gases and excessive noise entering the car.

Making the wheels of a motor vehicle lose traction and spin on the road surface may make unnecessary noise or smoke and is a traffic offence.

Using the horn

The horn should only be used as a reasonable traffic warning. It should not make an unnecessary or unreasonably loud, harsh or shrill noise.

Opening and closing doors

You must not open or close the door of a motor vehicle if it is likely to:

  • cause a hazard to any road user – including pedestrians, cyclists or other users of a footpath
  • hurt anyone.


Don’t play music in your car so loudly that you can’t hear:

  • the sounds your car is making
  • emergency sirens
  • warning bells or trains when you’re coming up to a railway level crossing.

Uphill and downhill traffic

On steep, narrow roads, it's easier for vehicles moving downhill to give way to vehicles moving uphill.

Funeral processions

If you're driving in a funeral procession, drive with your vehicle’s headlights on dip to let other drivers know you're part of the procession.

Animals on the road

Farmers often use country roads to move stock between paddocks. If animals are on the road:

  • slow down or pull over to the side of the road
  • don’t sound your horn or make a noise that could frighten the animals
  • follow any advice the farmer may give you.

Broken glass and other debris on the road

You're responsible for removing the following things if they fall or escape from your vehicle onto the road:

  • Any slippery substance.
  • Any piercing or dangerous substance.
  • Glass.
  • Any other substance of any kind that, because of its size or nature, could be a danger to road users.

If it can be removed quickly and safely, you must immediately remove it or make sure it’s removed.

If it can’t be removed quickly and safely, and it can cause harm, you must warn the public or report it immediately to the police.

If you can’t remove it, warn the public, or report it, then the person removing the vehicle from the scene must do these things.

Firearms – guns

You must not carry a firearm in your vehicle unless you hold a firearms licence. You must never carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle. This also means you must not carry ammunition in the chamber or attached magazine of the gun.

Space-saver wheels

Some cars have a space-saver wheel as the spare wheel. Space-saver wheels are much smaller than the vehicle’s other wheels to take up less storage room.

Space-saver wheels are for emergency use only and aren’t designed to be used over long distances. If you get a flat tyre and replace a wheel with a space-saver wheel, you should only use it to get directly home or to a place where the flat tyre can be repaired or replaced.

The vehicle is likely to handle differently with a space-saver wheel. Drive carefully and don’t drive faster than 80km/h. If the space-saver wheel has a sticker showing a lower speed, then you should follow that speed.

Space-saver wheels must have a safety label that states that the tyre is for temporary use only, what the maximum safe speed is for the tyre and what the correct pressure is. Make sure you read and follow the label.

Note: make sure the space-saver tyre is inflated to the correct pressure. This is much higher than normal tyre pressure.


While you’re driving, you can’t use a hand-held cellphone to create, send or read a text message, make or receive a phone call or access online services in any way. This includes when sitting in traffic, such as stopped at traffic lights.

You can, however, use your cellphone for calls while driving if the phone is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle and you use the phone rarely and briefly.

You can also use a cellphone while driving to make a 111 or *555 call if it’s unsafe or you’re unable to pull over and stop in a safe place at the side of the road to make the call.

Driver distractions

Anything that takes your attention away from the road can be a potential hazard.

You should avoid or minimise these distractions when you're driving:

  • looking at things on the roadside
  • looking at scenery
  • talking on a hands-free cellphone
  • talking to passengers
  • noisy children
  • pets
  • eating food
  • lighting a cigarette – including using an e-cigarette or vape
  • adjusting radio or climate controls
  • daydreaming
  • tiredness
  • reading maps
  • objects moving in the vehicle
  • electronic gadgets
  • reaching for items in the glovebox
  • cleaning the inside of the windscreen.

Work time and logbook requirements

If you’re driving a transport service vehicle, such as a taxi, Uber or truck, you’ll be subject to restrictions on how long you can drive and the amount of rest you must have. You may also need to keep a logbook of your work time.

Work time and logbooks