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Fri, 13 Apr, 2018Melody Teh

“Not fair”: Is this Australia’s most obscure new road rule?

 “Not fair”: Is this Australia’s most obscure new road rule?

Aussies are being warned to research the road rules in each state before travelling or risk being hit by a big fine.  

Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia chief executive Robert Barwick took to the group’s Facebook page to alert members after people had contacted him after being stung by an obscure new road rule.

The new rule involves having to slow down to 25km/h when passing emergency vehicles in South Australia. New South Wales recently introduced a trial of this rule but drivers are required to slow down to 40km/h. Victoria implemented the law last year with motorists having to slow to 40km/h. 

The new road rule varies across states — it’s 40km/h in Victoria. Picture: RACV

Mr Barwick shared a story of an unaware member who was caught out and says she was fined $1007 and disqualified from driving for six months.

He wrote: “This week is a long message, but it is important that I share a member’s story with you all. This story will hopefully expand your knowledge of road rules while driving in different states around the country.

“A member, on their way to Adelaide, drove past two police cars parked well off the side of the road (approximately 12 metres) with their lights flashing. They appeared to be talking to a motorist.

“The member states that she was driving approximately 85km/h at the time (the speed limit was 110km/h). She continued driving and not long after she saw lights of a police car flashing behind her, requesting her to pull over — which she did.

“She comes from northern NSW and was intending to visit friends in Adelaide and now needs to find a place to store her campervan and organise travel back home.

“It is crucial to have a thorough understanding of road rules and how they differ from state to state. Both VIC and QLD require motorists to slow down to 40km/h when driving near emergency vehicles with flashing lights. The purpose of this message is to explain the importance of understanding that road rules vary from state to state.

“I urge you all to do your research, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Many members in the group were shocked to hear of the rule, with many calling for a nationalisation of road rules to avoid such incidents.

One member wrote: “Different rules in different states. You would think that in this day and age we as a country could get it together. Pathetic.”

Another member agreed, saying: “We need, and must have, national road rules covering things like this, drivers’ licences, vehicle registrations, and so on. Come on ... we are all Australians and situations like this are just crazy.”

Another posted: “Seems to me it’s 40km/h in most states so why 25km/h in SA? A bit unfair really, so perhaps the lady should have only had a fine ... it doesn’t seem fair.”

Many others also pointed out the dangers of slowing down too suddenly while on a highway.

Mr Barwick told news.com.au that while he wasn’t contesting the rule, it was  confusing to have laws that vary across states.

“I do think it is a good rule but motorists need to know about it. What I cannot understand how it varies in different states,” he said. “Generally it’s 40km/h but in South Australia (it’s less).”

He reinforced that it’s a broader issue that this one rule.

“National registration and national licensing should be brought in,” he said. “If your vehicle is registered in one state and needs an inspection you need to go back to that state to have it done, prior to registration.

“For example if you are holidaying in Western Australia in your RV and you are from Queensland, you need to undertake the inspection in that state. A national system would ensure it would be easier. However I don’t believe the states will agree because they will lose out on the revenue stream attached to registration and licensing.”