Distracted driving is one of the most significant human factor issues in transport safety. Mobile phone interactions while driving may involve a multitude of cognitive and physical resources that result in inferior driving performance and reduced safety margins. The current study investigates characteristics of usage, risk factors, compensatory strategies in use and characteristics of high-frequency offenders of mobile phone use while driving. A series of questions were administered to drivers in Queensland (Australia) using an on-line questionnaire. A total of 484 drivers (34.9% males and 49.8% aged 17–25) participated anonymously. At least one of every two motorists surveyed reported engaging in distracted driving. Drivers were unable to acknowledge the increased crash risk associated with answering and locating a ringing phone in contrast to other tasks such as texting/browsing. Attitudes towards mobile phone usage were more favourable for talking than texting or browsing. Lowering the driving speed and increasing the distance from the vehicle in front were the most popular task-management strategies for talking and texting/browsing while driving. On the other hand, keeping the mobile phone low (e.g. in the driver’s lap or on the passenger seat) was the favourite strategy used by drivers to avoid police fines for both talking and texting/browsing. Logistic regression models were fitted to understand differences in risk factors for engaging in mobile phone conversations and browsing/texting while driving. For both tasks, exposure to driving, driving experience, driving history (offences and crashes), and attitudes were significant predictors. Future mobile phone prevention efforts would benefit from development of safe attitudes and increasing risk literacy. Enforcement of mobile phone distraction should be re-engineered, as the use of task-management strategies to evade police enforcement seems to dilute its effect on the prevention of this behaviour. Some countermeasures and suggestions were proposed in the design of public education campaigns and driver-mobile phone interaction.