Is It Illegal To Eat Or Drink While Driving In Victoria?

Is It Illegal To Eat Or Drink While Driving In Victoria?It is not illegal to eat or drink while driving in Victoria as long as what you're eating or drinking is easy to consume, doesn't create any significant distractions, and isn't alcoholic. Obviously, driving in a way that’s safe for you and the motorists and pedestrians around you has to be the main priority, but as long as you’re doing that it’s perfectly legal to eat or drink something.

However, if eating or drinking is causing you to drive in such a way that it might hurt you or the people around you then the police might give you a penalty for “careless driving” which is an offense under Australian law.

So while eating or drinking while driving is not illegal, if the police think you’re driving carelessly or dangerously while eating or drinking, then you could get in trouble for that. If you’ve been charged with a driving offense like careless or dangerous driving then the expert traffic lawyers at Josh Smith Legal can help you fight your charges and potentially win.

Eating While Driving Is Not Prohibited

Let's consider what occurs when you eat while operating a motor vehicle to put this into context. First, eating requires the use of at least one hand, and drivers must always have both hands on the driving wheel, according to road user handbooks.

When driving after eating, people react to changing traffic circumstances more slowly. Being distracted is never good, much like when you drive and hold your phone in one hand. Moreover, it may have detrimental effects on other drivers as well as yourself.

Nothing in the law expressly prohibits eating or driving. It is not technically unlawful to eat while driving because of this. However, eating and drinking have an impact on other driving regulations.

According to the Road Rules, a motorist cannot operate a vehicle if they are not fully in charge of it. Eating or listening to music while operating a vehicle might provide distractions that cause one to lose control. The police have a great deal of discretion when it comes to roadside infractions. Because of this, you need to ensure that you are acting safely to stay out of trouble.

The Negligent Driving Crime

Careless driving of a motor vehicle on a highway is illegal. Any vehicle designed to be powered by a motor, such as a car or motorbike, or intended for use on a highway is referred to as a "motor vehicle." Wheelchairs that are not motorised, wheelchairs that can only move at a speed of 10 km/h, and rail-operated vehicles (such as trains and trams) are not included in this definition.

Is Drinking Alcohol While Driving Against The Law?

It is true that driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated is prohibited in Victoria by specific laws. This is true even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) stays below the 0.05 legal limit. Supervising a learner driver while they consume alcohol is illegal as well, even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the 0.05 legal limit. A maximum fine of ten penalty units is imposed for each of these distinct crimes.

Dangerous Foods And Beverages

Make sure you maintain control if you plan to eat while operating a motor vehicle. While certain foods will be simple to eat, others frequently cause drivers to become distracted from the road. These are the foods you should stay away from if you want to maintain control of your vehicle:

  • Chocolate - When driving, chocolate can be a major distraction. It will almost certainly wind up everywhere, and trying to clear it up will cause you to lose attention even for a brief period.
  • Fried Chicken - You're already in the lead if you're a vegan or vegetarian. Controlling a wheel is essential to maintaining control of an automobile. To keep control, try not to get your hands too oily.
  • Coffee - Although it isn't really a food, it is nonetheless important to discuss as one of the main causes of driver distraction. Caffeine spills readily, even though it provides a slight energy boost. Your initial instinct, if coffee spills in your automobile, is generally to wipe it up right away. Coffee will thus be a major distraction when driving unless you have a strong will or a low aversion to mess.

Fines For Irresponsible Driving

If careless driving is shown to have been your first offence, you would have to pay a fine of up to 12 penalty units. You could be fined up to 25 penalty units for second and consecutive violations. If you are found guilty of a reckless driving crime, you will additionally receive three penalty points. A temporary suspension and cancellation of your licence are other options available to the court; however, they are discretionary. If you've received a speeding fine and wish to challenge it, understanding how to contest a speeding fine is crucial in protecting your driving privileges.


If you can prove that you did not drive "carelessly" or that eating or drinking did not impair your ability to operate a vehicle, you may be able to defend yourself against the charge of reckless driving. If there is a factual error or you were not driving the car when the offence is said to have happened, you might also be able to defend yourself against the allegation. Depending on the specifics of your situation, you could also be able to use the defence of sudden and extreme emergencies. However, to determine the best defence for your case of careless driving, you should speak with an experienced lawyer.

At Josh Smith Legal, we offer free consultations where you can discuss your driving charges with one of our expert traffic lawyers, simply fill in the form on this page to request a free consultation or call us on 03 9733 2344.

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