Managing Distractions


The purpose of this policy is to educate drivers on the hazards involved when a driver is driving while distracted.  While factors such as speeding, drink driving and fatigue can contribute to the cause of an accident, driving while distracted can be just as dangerous. 

Driver distractions

Distracted drivers are a danger not only to themselves and their passengers but to other road users as well. Drivers must at all times remain focused when performing rideshare services. 

One of the most common and most dangerous distractions is when drivers are using their mobile phone while driving, which often results in a loss of concentration.

Some common distractions when driving are:

  • talking or scrolling on their mobile phone
  • reading or sending a text on their mobile phone
  • holding their mobile phone 
  • using their mobile phone in any manner without the phone being placed in a cradle.

Risk of an accident

Distractions that divert attention from driving increase the risk of an accident.

Recent research suggests that at least 14% of all crashes involve the driver being distracted and as many as one in ten fatalities have been directly attributed to driver distraction. When a driver is distracted they are more like to make a mistake while driving. The source of distractions from within vehicles that lead to accidents account for up to about 36% of accidents. 

Research has also shown that drivers using mobile phones are also much more likely to be involved in an accident. Sending and receiving text messages on a mobile phone while driving and text entry into a Global Positioning Systems (GPS) while driving can be extremely dangerous, and may also be illegal.

Any distraction that diverts a driver’s attention to their driving task significantly increases the likelihood of  becoming involved in an accident. This means that drivers should avoid or minimise distractions when they drive, particularly when they are driving to unfamiliar destinations.

Mobile phone offences

The laws relating to the use of mobile phone while driving  may vary in each state and territory across Australia and New Zealand.  

For example, in some jurisdictions demerit points may apply and a driver may get a hefty fine if caught using or answering a hand-held phone while driving.

All drivers must be aware of the laws that apply to them with regard to mobile phone usage at all times, especially when performing rideshare services, while using the Ola platform. 

Please see the table below for rules relating to mobile phone usage while driving across each jurisdiction:

Jurisdiction Law Rules Penalty
New South Wales Road Rules 2014 – Rule 300 Know the rules – Mobile phone use – Staying safe – NSW Centre for Road Safety

Demerit points: 5 – the penalty increases to 10 demerit points during double-demerit periods.

Fine: $349 fine ($464 in a school zone).

Note: From 1 March 2020 mobile phone detection cameras will be enforcing illegal use of mobile phones while driving or riding.

Victoria Road Safety Road Rules 2017 – Reg 300 Use of mobile phones Mobile phones, technology & driving

Demerit points: 4

Fine: $496

South Australia Australian Road Rules – Reg 300 Towards Zero Together

Demerit points: 3

Fine: expiation fee of $544

Western Australia Road Traffic Code 2000 – Reg 265

Mobile Phones – WA Road Rules

Using a phone whilst driving Rules & Penalties

Touching or holding a mobile phone while not in a cradle to make, receive or end a voice call.
Demerit points: 3

Fine: $500

Creating, sending or looking at a text, email, social media, photo, video or similar.

Demerit points: 4

Fine: $1000

Note: From 1 September 2020 penalties were increased

Queensland Transport Operations (Road Use Management–Road Rules) Regulation 2009 – Reg 300 Use of mobile phones Driving and mobile phones | Transport and motoring

Demerit points: 4

Double demerit points apply for second or subsequent mobile phone offences committed by drivers within 1 year of an earlier offence.

Fine: $1000


Road Transport (Road Rules) Regulation 2017 Reg 300

Road Transport (Road Rules) Regulation 2017 – Reg 299

ACT road rules

Driver distraction

Demerit points: 3

Demerit points

Additional demerit points for offences committed during holiday

Fine: $480

Road Transport (Offences) Regulation 2005 | Subordinate laws

Northern Territory

Road rules in NT – NT.GOV.AU

Traffic Regulations, Schedule 3 – Australian Road Rules 1999 – Rule 300

Mobile phones and VDU penalties – Towards Zero

Traffic offences and penalties – NT.GOV.AU

Demerit points: 3

Fine: $500

Tasmania Road Rules 2019 (SR 2019, NO. 61) – Reg 300 Use of mobile phones Traffic Offences – Full list – Transport Services

Demerit points: 3

Fine: $344

New Zealand Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 (SR 2004/427) (as at 01 June 2019) 7.3A Ban on use of mobile phones while driving Legal mobile phone use while driving | Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Demerit points: 20

Fine: $80

Handy tips

Ola recommends drivers adopt the following tips to help avoid becoming distracted while driving:

    • turn their mobile phone off before driving, to avoid the temptation to answer a call.
    • install a hands free kit (where the laws permit ) however, the driver must ensure that they can drive and talk safely without losing concentration. 
    • if so, mobile phones must be placed in a cradle fixed to the vehicle. Drivers should ensure that the cradle is mounted securely and will not obstruct the driver’s view.
    • in some jurisdictions, mobile phones may be operated by using only Bluetooth or voice activation in taking calls while driving. However, research has shown that using a hands-free mobile phone can also be a dangerous distraction therefore, it is safer to pull over and park in a safe spot and take a call rather than the driver divide their attention between driving and talking.
    • a driver should only enter text into devices, for example GPS, mobile phone when they are  parked safely and with the engine off.
    • end any call that may result in an extreme reaction (either positive or negative) 
  • under no circumstances make or accept a call while conveying riders.


Ola has a zero tolerance for any driver illegally using their mobile phone while utilising the Ola platform and in such instances will permanently remove a driver from the platform, if an offence is detected. 

Drivers must cooperate with Ola with respect to any action that is taken to comply with requirements under the law applicable in each jurisdiction. 

Drivers are reminded to focus when driving as distracted drivers are dangerous drivers.

Further information

If you have any questions or comments regarding anything in this document or if you require further information, you can email us at