Be it a long haul trip between towns, a coastal getaway, or an early morning Saturday sports run to the local oval, drivers all across Australia have found themselves steering to the drive-through or reaching in the Esky for a much-needed snack.

And while rumours have swirled for years that such an act could put hungry drivers behind bars, they don’t have to fear any longer. Road rules may differ from state to state, but at the end of the drive, the answer remains the same: it isn’t illegal to eat while driving in Australia.

There are, of course, various conditions that come along with the ruling, and most circle back to whether or not a driver is in complete control over their vehicle at the time of snacking.

For example, in New South Wales, if you are found to have lost control of your vehicle due to eating, police officers have the power to impose a fine of $481 and three demerit points.

In Victoria, there is no specific rule that prevents drivers from digging in on their drive. However, they can still receive a careless driving charge if eating is found to have a negative impact on either their concentration or their control over their vehicle. This charge comes with a penalty of $444 and – like New South Wales – three demerit points, as well as a maximum of 12 court penalty units if the driver is found guilty by a magistrate.

The state of Queensland follows suit – it isn’t illegal there either, though “distracted driving” remains a real threat, with research even determining that eating can be just as dangerous as texting while behind the wheel. And drivers found to be travelling without control over their vehicles can face a fine of up to $575. While this is larger than either New South Wales or Victoria’s financial penalty, the demerit point cost remains the same at three.

As a spokesperson for Queensland Transport and Main Roads told Drive, “a driver must always have proper control of their vehicle and drive with care and attention for the safety of other road users.

“While there are no specific laws prohibiting a driver from eating while driving, it is up to the driver to ensure they remain in proper control of their vehicle and sufficiently alert to the road environment.”

And for drivers in the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia, and South Australia, Drive have reported that the message essentially remains the same. While there are no rules that specifically prohibit behind-the-wheel snacking, a driver can – and will – face penalties if they are found to be demonstrating poor control of their vehicle.

Images: Getty

This article first appeared on Over60.