Shannen Findlay

Legal

Did you know this road rule? The addictive everyday habit that could land you a $500 fine

Did you know this road rule? The addictive everyday habit that could land you a $500 fine

Motorists could be putting themselves at risk of a hefty penalty and three demerit points off their license if they are caught sipping coffee behind the wheel. 

A woman travelling from Newcastle to Sydney in NSW was left gobsmacked when she was pulled over by police for what she thought was a strange reason – she was drinking her morning coffee while driving. 

The highway patrol officer warned the woman could receive a fine of $495 fine and lose three demerit points for sipping as it is “unsafe". 

“He started telling me that it was unsafe to be drinking coffee while I was driving,” the woman told the Newcastle Herald.

“He was telling me that I should be concentrating on driving and that he could give me a $495 fine and take three points from my licence.

“I had no idea I was doing anything wrong. Then he said if I wanted to drink the coffee, I should pull over and have a drink, not just takes sips as I drive along.”

While there is no explicit law prohibiting motorists from eating or drinking non-alcoholic beverages while driving, an infringement notice can be issued if police find the driver is distracted while on the road. 

In NSW, motorists can receive a $448 fine and a loss of three demerit points for driving without “proper” control of the vehicle. 

The ACT prohibits a driver from driving “without proper control” unless they want to rack up a $292 ticket. 

Tasmania motorists are at risk of a $163 fine while South Australians who are distracted while on the road (either by food, drink, cigarette or cellphone) can be fined $184. 

Those in the Northern Territory may face a $500 fine and a loss of three demerit points if they are caught driving and eating while driving in a “dangerous” manner, while those spotted in WA driving carelessly will be issued a $600 fine. 

In Victoria, a motorist could be stung with the loss of three demerit points and a $387 fine.