Is it illegal to drive without carrying your licence?
Failing to produce your licence upon request while on the road is illegal in all states and, yes, you could be fined on the spot in some states.
So next time you go to grab just your car keys and some cash for a quick mercy dash to the shops, grab your licence as well. Read on for some state-by-state guidance on the law but remember that for the most up to date information you should always consult your relevant road authority directly.
New South Wales Roads & Maritime Services has a clear stance on driving without a licence: get caught in the act and you'll cop a $110 fine. Likewise, the ACT government's extensive traffic infringement document states you'll risk a $193 fine if you fail to produce your licence upon request.
In Tasmania the penalties are graded according to severity; according to the Tasmanian Transport's traffic offences list, you're looking at a $79.50 fine for driving without your regular Australian driver's licence or foreign driver's licence. But if you're driving without carrying your restricted driver's licence, then you're facing a fine of almost $200. And while the Northern Territory government's website doesn't specify what the exact penalties are, its page on driver's licence rules clearly states that it's illegal to drive without carrying your licence.
According to VicRoads information on fines and penalties, you could be set back $159 for failing to produce your licence or learner's permit upon request — but there's also a bit of leniency in Victoria, as you can avoid a fine by bringing your licence to a police station within seven days of failing to produce it on the road. There's a similar system in place in Queensland and South Australia; according to the QLD government's transport authority and the Legal Services Commission of South Australia, in both QLD and SA it's illegal to drive without carrying your licence if you're a learner or on your Ps. But if you're driving on a full licence, you may be given 48 hours to take your licence to a police station before receiving a penalty.
We couldn't find any information on driving without carrying your licence, if you have a valid licence, on Western Australia's road authority or police websites; but since it's illegal in all other states and territories, it's safe to assume that you wouldn't fare well if you were pulled over on WA roads without carrying your licence. And while we couldn't find any clear information on how driving without carrying your licence could affect your insurance, it's likely that it could make the process of calling up roadside assistance, or dealing with police at a collision, much more frustrating than it already is.
This article is not intended as legal advice. You should check with your local road authority to verify the information written here is suitable to your situation before driving in this manner.