By Lauren Reid
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018
Most of us know the basic rules of the road: obey speed limits, use your indicators, keep left, and so on. But you might be surprised by how many of us know these road rules and still break them – and the hefty penalties might surprise you, too.
1. Creeping over the speed limit
We all know that speed limits are there for a reason: to keep us all safe on the road. But how many people do you notice creeping over the speed limit? Whether it’s to get home from work quicker, overtake someone or just out of inattention, creeping over speed limits happens all too often.
Penalty: Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h will get you a $183 fine and two demerit points.
The number of people caught creeping
This many speeding fines issued in 2016/17 to motorists travelling up to 9km/h over the speed limit.
2. Going across solid white lines to overtake
Sure, you might get a bit frustrated driving behind someone that’s crawling along at a snail’s pace, but weigh that up against the risk of a head-on collision, and you can see why solid lines are on the road. Exemptions are provided for overtaking a cyclist, avoiding an obstruction and to enter or leave a road.
Penalty: $421 and two demerit points.
3. Keeping to the left or right when turning onto a road
When you’ve pulled up at an intersection waiting to make a turn, you should be as far left as possible if you’re turning left. If you’re going right, you should be as close to the centre line as possible (or the middle of the road if there are no lines). This is to make sure drivers wanting to turn in the other direction have space to do so, keeping traffic flowing steadily. Seems logical, but this one catches plenty of people out.
Penalty: $396 and three demerit points.
4. Not coming to a complete stop at stop signs
It’s called a stop sign, so it’s pretty self-explanatory: you’re meant to stop there. If you don’t, you’re risking a side-on collision with oncoming traffic, which is not only dangerous but potentially deadly.
Penalty: Unsurprisingly, this one attracts a larger fine than some of the others on the list. You’ll be up for a $467 fine and three demerit points if you fail to stop and give way at a stop sign at an intersection. It’s $396 if you fail to stop at a stop sign not at an intersection and three demerit points.
5. Failing to indicate
This one’s a doozy. Given side-swipe crashes are one of the most common types of collisions on our roads, you’d think turning your indicator on would be a pretty simple fix, right? Remember, indicating doesn’t mean you can move across straight away – you need to ensure there is a suitable gap in the traffic lane you are about to enter before you move across.
Penalty: Failing to indicate for long enough to warn other road users of your intention to turn will get you a $345 fine and two demerit points.
6. Using your phone
It may seem like our phones are as essential to us as food and water these days, but there’s one place it’s imperative you keep it out of your hands: while behind the wheel.
Penalty: You’ll receive a fine of $554 and three demerit points if you’re pinged for using your mobile while driving or while your vehicle is stationary but not parked (e.g. while stopped at traffic lights to check messages, send texts, etc).
The number of people caught using their phone
This many people were fined in 2016/17 for illegal use of a mobile phone while behind the wheel.
7. Stopping across a side street
This one’s a matter of common courtesy as well as a road rule. If you’re in stop-start traffic or pulled up at traffic lights, you can’t queue blocking a side street or intersection, because it is an offence to enter an intersection if you can’t get through it.
Penalty: $269 and three demerit points.
8. Keeping left unless overtaking
If you’re on a road marked with two or more lanes in the same direction and the speed limit is more than 80km/h – or there’s a ‘Keep left unless overtaking’ sign – you’ve got to stay out of the right-hand lane. The common exceptions are if you’re overtaking, about to turn right, avoiding an obstruction, or the lanes are all congested.
Penalty: $396 and three demerit points.
9. Failing to slow down when going past emergency vehicles
Our emergency workers put themselves on the line every day to look out for us, so it’s important not to add any extra risks to their working conditions by speeding past them. If you’re in the immediate vicinity of an emergency vehicle displaying flashing red or blue lights, or driving between flashing red or blue lights put on the road by an emergency worker, you must slow to 25km/h as you go past them.
Penalty: The usual fine amounts for speeding apply here, so if you were driving along in a 60km/h zone and failed to slow to 25km/h for an emergency vehicle, you’d be considered to be speeding by 35km/h! That could result in as much as a $1722 fine and nine demerit points.
People caught speeding past emergency vehicles
This many people were fined for speeding past an emergency vehicle in 2016/17. But how often have you seen other drivers breaking this rule?
10. Drink driving
This is another obvious rule, but one too many motorists are still breaking. Alcohol and drugs affect our reaction times, ability to focus and so many other motor skills we need to drive safely.
Penalty: For a first offence of driving with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05-0.079, or driving with methylamphetamine, THC or MDMA in your system, you’ll be fined $600 and receive four demerit points. Police may also wheel clamp or impound your vehicle. The penalties increase for subsequent offences, or if you’ve got a higher BAC.
From 8 March 2018, a person who pays the expiation fee for driving with drugs like methylamphetamine, THC or MDMA in their system will also receive a three-month licence disqualification.
Note: All offences are subject to an additional $92 Victims of Crime Levy.