Motorists in Victoria can look forward to digital drivers licences in 2024 following a trial in Ballarat. From March 2023, a further crackdown on using devices while driving aims to reduce deaths from distraction. Meanwhile, free online testing and P licences continues for novice drivers.
Digital drivers licences
In August 2022, the state government outsourced the operations of VicRoads while maintaining ownership. One reason was to give the system a much-needed upgrade in technology. Digital drivers licences are one such upgrade.
A trial of digital drivers licences begins in July 2023 in Ballarat. Motorists will be able to store their drivers licence in their Service Victoria account or in a new app to be launched, my VicRoads.
The pilot is for full licence holders only so L and P plate drivers still need to carry their physical drivers licences. However, motorists with a digital licence are still allowed to use their physical licences. If the pilot is successful, Victorians all over the state will be able to carry a digital drivers licence.
New rules for mobile phones and other devices
In Victoria, the use of mobile phone and seatbelt cameras is becoming more widespread. Since 31 March 2023, there have been tougher penalties for people using a mobile phone or other device illegally while driving.
Illegal use of a mobile phone or other device incurs $555 fine, or $1,849 at a court hearing, and 4 demerit points. L and P drivers lose their licence if they incur more than 4 demerits in a year. Full licence holders can incur only 11 points over 3 years before losing their licence.
What is illegal use of a mobile phone or other device?
There are many types of illegal use of a mobile phone or other device:
- You are not allowed to rest your phone or device on any part of your body or pass it to your passenger.
- Even if your phone is in a cradle, you are not allowed to scroll, enter text, numbers or symbols, take video calls or view videos, games, photos, emails or social media.
- If your phone is in a cradle, you can have an audio call, stream music, adjust navigation or use a function to help you operate your vehicle.
- You can’t use an unmounted phone or device at all.
The rules are stricter for Learners and P platers. You can use mounted devices for navigation and audio streaming only if you set them up before driving.
- Do not touch a device to skip a song, scroll or use voice controls, while driving.
- You can only briefly touch an infotainment system to adjust settings for navigation, climate or audio.
Motorist Package and Safe Driver Discount
Motorist Package and Safe Driver Discount began in August 2022 but is still in operation. It reduces licensing costs for novice drivers and rewards safe driving.
New Victorian drivers on their Ls and Ps don’t have to pay these fees:
- Car and motorcycle permit issue
- The Learner Permit Test Online course
- The Hazard Perception Test Online
- Probationary car licence.
You still have to pay for the in-person learner permit, licence testing and appointment fees.