Three changes to road rules to watch out for

Last updated on June 9, 2022
Even if you’re an experienced driver, road laws are constantly changing, and it can be hard to stay up to date. Each state and territory have slightly different road rules and regulations that can easily catch out interstate drivers. If you break a road rule, even by accident, you’re still liable for a fine or demerit points. In this article, we outline three changes to road laws you should know, and how they change as you travel around Australia.

It’s important to make sure you’re under the legal alcohol limit before you get behind the wheel. Under the new Road Safety Plan, dummy New South Wales has made penalties tougher for low range drink drivers with blood alcohol concentrations between 0.05 and 0.08.

Under the Road Safety Plan, police can suspend your driver’s licence immediately if you’re over the legal limit of 0.05, even if it’s your first offence. This aligns New South Wales with Victorian penalties and Tasmanian penalties, where low range drink driving can result in a licence suspension of up to three months, even for a first offence.

These laws are significantly harsher than the remaining states and territories, where suspensions longer than 24-hours for low range drink driving must be ordered by a Court and can’t be given out on the spot by police.

Drivers in New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria, and South Australia are now required to slow down when passing stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and breakdown assistance vehicles displaying flashing lights.

To comply with this rule, dummy you must slow down to 40km/hr. If you’re driving on a high-speed road (speed limit of 90km/hr) and can’t slow down to 40km/hr safely, you must slow to a speed that is “reasonable for the circumstances”.  In South Australia even stricter laws apply, you must slow down to 25km/hr when in the service zone of an emergency vehicle.

You also need to follow these rules when passing vehicles displaying flashing lights:

  • keep sufficient space between your car and the vehicle
  • keep the lane next to the vehicle free if it’s possible to do so.

The penalty for failing to follow this rule can be seen by each state in the table below:

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State Penalty
NSW Fine: $469
Demerits points: 3
VIC Fine: $272.05
WA Fine: $300
Demerits points: 3
SA Dependant on speed over 25km/hr when passing vehicle

Most drivers know that parking in a disabled spot is against the law, but some still consider it an option for quick trips such as popping into the shops. In an effort to prevent this from happening, dummy Queensland has increased the fine for illegally parking in disabled parking bays from $266 to $533.

As part of this change, Queensland has widened their disability parking permit criteria, which now includes many people who are vision impaired. This brings Queensland into line with other locations such as New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.

The penalties for parking in a disabled parking bay without a disabled parking permit can be seen in the table below:

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State or Territory Penalty
ACT $625
NSW $587 
Demerit points: 1
QLD $551
SA $405
TAS $173
VIC $182
NT $135
WA $500
Need a refresh on road rules and regulations? Explore our other dummy car articles to stay across the latest reports.
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