Passenger restriction laws



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If you’re heading on a road trip with a number of friends, or find yourself designated driver after a party, it can be tempting to fit as many people as possible in your car. However, strict passenger restriction laws exist throughout Australia and breaches can result in fines and loss of demerit points. In some states, if you’re on your provisional licence, you will also need to adhere to additional passenger restrictions. Read on to find out about the laws you should be aware of in each state, along with penalties breaking them.

General Passenger Restriction Laws

Can you carry 6 people in a 5 seat car? The answer is no, regardless of where you are in Australia. However the passenger restriction laws and penalties differ slightly from state to state.

The passenger restriction laws in each state and territory generally arise from the requirement that each passenger wear their own seatbelt. But some sets of road rules also make it clear that it is illegal for anyone to travel in any part of a vehicle not meant for passengers.

Here’s a state by state comparison of rules and penalties:


State Rule and Penalty
NSW A person must occupy a proper seating position with a dedicated seatbelt. It is illegal and unsafe to have too many people in a car, especially sitting on the floor or on other people's laps. It is also illegal for passengers to travel in or on the boot of the car, or in a part of a vehicle that has been designed to carry goods.
Fine: $344
Demerits: 3 points
QLD A driver will be penalized with a fine and loss of demerit points if they are caught driving without a seat belt. The driver will also be penalized if they carry passengers below 16 years of age who are not wearing seat belts or approved child restraints. A passenger may also be penalized for not wearing a seat belt.
Fine: $300
Demerits: 3 points
NT As the driver of a vehicle you are responsible for making sure all passengers are properly restrained in a seat belt or approved child restraint.
Fine: $500
Demerits: 3 points
WA Motor vehicle drivers and passengers must sit in a seat that has a seatbelt available and they must have the seatbelt fastened and worn correctly. Passengers are not allowed to travel in the back of trucks, utes or panel vans, unless there are approved seatbelts provided.
Fine: Variable
Demerits: 4 points
SA Drivers must ensure that they and any other passenger in the vehicle are wearing their seatbelt, regardless of their age. However, passengers are still accountable, as both drivers and passengers aged 16 years and over can be fined if they fail to wear a seatbelt.
Fine: $381
Demerits: 3 points
ACT It is an offence to drive while not wearing your seatbelt or to permit passengers to travel in your car without seatbelts.
Fine: $502
Demerits: 3 points
TAS It’s illegal for any passenger to be without a seatbelt, or to travel in a part of a car not meant for passengers.
Fine: $336 or $378 if in a part of the car not meant for passengers
Demerits: 3 points
VIC Everyone travelling in a motor vehicle must be wearing a child restraint, booster seat or seat belt that is properly adjusted and fastened.
Fine: Variable
Demerits: 3 points.


Passenger Restriction Laws for Drivers on a Provisional Licence

If you’re on your provisional licence, you will also face additional passenger restriction laws in NSW, QLD, VIC, and SA. Depending on when your licence was issued, you may also face restrictions in the ACT. Check the table below to see what P1 passenger restrictions and P2 passenger restrictions apply:



State Passenger Restriction
NSW P1 drivers under 25 are not permitted to drive with more than one passenger under 21 between the hours of 11pm and 5am (immediate family members excepted).
Fine: $572
Demerits: 3 points
QLD P1 drivers under 25 are not permitted to drive with more than one passenger under 21 between the hours of 11pm and 5am (immediate family members excepted).
Fine: $400
Demerits: 3 points
VIC P1 drivers cannot carry more than one passenger aged 16 to 22 years of age.
Fine: $484
Demerits: 3 points
SA If you’re a P driver under 25, you cannot drive with more than one passenger aged 16-20 (immediate family members exempt). This rule does not apply if a person with their full-licence is sitting next to and supervising you.
Fine: $375
Demerits: 3 points
ACT P drivers are allowed to drive with only one passenger aged 16-22 between 11pm and 5am (immediate family members excepted). This only applies if your Ps were issued after 1 Jan 2020.



The information in this article is current as of the 13th of April 2020. Laws and penalties may have changed since this article was created.


The information above comes from the following sources:

VicRoads, Fines Table 29 October, viewed April 2020, https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/-/media/files/documents/safety-and-road-rules/feesfinespenalties/fines-table-29-oct-2019.ashx?la=en&hash=B15770432247D0AA9623925F30E7B77D

Transport Tas, Traffic Offences – Full List, viewed April 2020, https://www.transport.tas.gov.au/licensing/offences/traffic_offences/lister_full

Transport for NSW, Search Demerit Point Offences, viewed April 2020, https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/index.cgi?action=demeritpoints.form

Vicroads, Demerit Point Offences, viewed April 2020, https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/licences/demerit-points-and-offences/demerit-offences

Mylicence.sa, Offences and Penalties, viewed April 2020, https://mylicence.sa.gov.au/road-rules/offences-and-penalties

Transport WA, Driving Offences, viewed April 2020, https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/licensing/driving-offences-speeding-alcohol-and-traffic.asp

NT.GOV.AU, Traffic Offences and Penalties, viewed April 2020, https://nt.gov.au/driving/driving-offences-and-penalties/traffic-offences-and-penalties

Queensland Government, Demerit Points Schedule, viewed April 2020, https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/fines/demerit/points

Government of Western Australia, Seatbelts, viewed April 2020, https://www.rsc.wa.gov.au/Rules-Penalties/Browse/Seatbelts

Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia, Are you allowed to travel in or on the boot of a motor vehicle in NSW, viewed April 2020, https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/blog/are-you-allowed-to-travel-in-or-on-the-boot-of-a-motor-vehicle-in-nsw/

Criminal Legal, All car drivers and passengers in Queensland are required to wear seatbelts, viewed April 2020, https://qld.criminallegal.com.au/traffic-law/seat-belts-offences/

VicRoads, Seatbelts & child restraints, viewed April 2020, https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/seat-belts-and-child-restraints


Disclaimer

This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708 (“Allianz”). Information contained in this article is accurate as at 13 April 2020 and may be subject to change. In some cases information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way. Any opinions expressed constitute our views at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.