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Speed limits and speeding laws

If you’re heading out on an interstate road trip, you’ve probably plotted out the fastest path to your destination. But did you know that speed limits and speeding laws differ depending on the state or territory you are driving through? While most of the time you can simply follow the posted speed limits, it’s important to be aware of default limits that might apply in different locations. Different states and territories also have different penalties for speeding, with heavy fines and licence suspensions for those who drive over the speed limit
Speed limits

When setting maximum speed limits, most states and territories in Australia follow the model national road rules. Under these rules1:

  • Posted speed limits are capped at 110km/h
  • Where there is a no speed limit posted, default speed limits are 50km/h in built-up areas, and 100km/h in rural areas

Western Australia and Northern Territory are the only two locations not to follow these rules. In the Northern Territory, posted speed limits can be as high as 130km/h, while default speed limits are 60km/hr for built up areas, and 110km/h in rural areas2. In Western Australia posted speed limits are capped at 110km/h, while default speed limits are 50km/h for built up areas, and 110km/h in rural areas3.

When driving interstate, it’s also important to be aware of school zones. School zones have a speed limit of 40km/h, with the exception of South Australia where the limit is 25km/h. In South Australia, this speed limit is not only enforced in school zones, but also at children’s crossings whenever the lights are flashing4.

Speeding penalties

No matter where you are in Australia, it is illegal to drive above the speed limit. The penalty you will face will depend on how far you are over the speed limit. Along with a fine and demerit points, penalties can also include automatic licence suspensions, especially where the speed limit was exceeded by more than 30km/h.

Check the table below to see the minimum and maximum penalties by location. These penalties apply to light vehicles such as cars, and do not apply to large trucks which have harsher penalty schemes.

Swipe to view more

State or Territory Penalty
NSW Fine: $86 to $989
Demerits: 1 point to 6 points
Suspension: up to 6 months
QLD Fine: $177 to $1,245
Demerits: 1 point to 8 points
Suspension: up to 6 months
NT Fine: $150 to $1,000
Demerits: 1 point to 6 points
WA Fine: $100 to $1,200
Demerits: No points to 7 points
SA Fine: $180 to $1690
Demerits: 1 point to 9 points
Suspension: up to 6 months
ACT Fine: $297 to $1,841
Demerits: 1 point to 6 points
TAS Fine: $84 to $966
Demerits: 2 points to 6 points
Suspension: up to 4 months
VIC Fine: $207 to $826
Demerits: 1 point to 3 points
Suspension: up to 12 months

The information in this article is current as of the 23rd of April 2021. Laws and penalties may have changed since this article was created

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Please note the information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any decisions based on this article
References
  1. Transport and Infrastructure Council, Australian Road Rules, viewed April 2021, https://www.pcc.gov.au/uniform/Australian-Road-Rules-3September2018.pdf

  2. NT.GOV.AU, Speed Limits, viewed April 2021, https://nt.gov.au/driving/safety/speed-limits/default-speed-limits

  3. Western Australia Police Force, Traffic, viewed April 2021, https://www.police.wa.gov.au/Traffic/Cameras/Speed/Speed-limits

  4. Mylicence.sa.gov.au, School Safety, viewed April 2021, https://mylicence.sa.gov.au/safe-driving-tips/school_safety

    The information on penalties comes from the following sources:

    VicRoads, Fines Table 29 October, viewed April 2021, 
    https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/speed-limits

    Transport Tas, Traffic Offences – Full List, viewed April 2021, https://www.transport.tas.gov.au/licensing/offences/traffic_offences/lister_full

    Transport for NSW, Search Demerit Point Offences, viewed April 2021, https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/index.cgi?action=demeritpoints.form

    Vicroads, Demerit Point Offences, viewed April 2021, https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/licences/demerit-points-and-offences/demerit-offences

    Mylicence.sa, Offences and Penalties, viewed April 2021, https://mylicence.sa.gov.au/road-rules/offences-and-penalties

    Transport WA, Driving Offences, viewed April 2021, 
    https://www.rsc.wa.gov.au/Rules-Penalties/Browse/Speeding

    NT.GOV.AU, Traffic Offences and Penalties, viewed April 2021, https://nt.gov.au/driving/driving-offences-and-penalties/traffic-offences-and-penalties

    Queensland Government, Demerit Points Schedule, viewed April 2021, https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/fines/demerit/points
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 23rd April 2021 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.

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