NSW motorists may not be aware of the fact that many seemingly innocuous driving actions are subject to a fine.
Aside from dangerous criminal behaviors like driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, there are many seemingly harmless acts that can result in fines of hundreds of dollars.
Throwing a banana peel out of a car window or driving through a corner gas station to skip a red light at an intersection are all seemingly harmless and relatively common behaviors.
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However, they are still criminal offenses and join a long list of little-known ways Australians can face a fine.
Throw out of the window
Whether you want to discard an apple core, banana peel, or cigarette while driving, flicking them out the window is not a legal solution.
Although it is not an offense under the NSW Road Rules or the NSW Road Transport Laws, it is an offense for a driver or passenger to throw or otherwise dump rubbish – even something like a compostable apple seed – out of a motor vehicle.
The offense of littering a motor vehicle or trailer is set out in Section 146 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. A fine of $250 for an individual and $500 for a corporation can be imposed, according to EPA NSW.
In 2020 NSW introduced tougher penalties for discarding lit cigarettes from vehicles, costing offenders $660 and five demerits – the first time there has been a demerit penalty for this type of offense in the state.
“If a motorist commits the offense during a full fire ban, the penalty doubles to 10 minus points and a fine of up to $11,000,” the NSW Government said.
Here are nine other little-known road rules drivers should be wary of and how much breaking them can cost you.
Rest your elbow on the windowsill
Reaching through the window to wave to friends, feeling the rain on your hands, or even resting your elbow on the window sill while driving can be considered a limb protruding from the vehicle.
Drivers can pay an immediate fine of $362 and lose three demerit points if they break the rule.
It falls under Highway Code 268(3): “A person shall not travel in or on a motor vehicle if any part of the person’s body is outside a window or door of the vehicle.”
Exceptions to the rule apply when the driver of the vehicle gives a hand signal to change direction to the right under rule 50 or to stop or slow down under rule 55.
Leaking oil, heavy smoke development
If you’ve always driven a Lemon you might have found it hard to avoid, but an oil or grease leak or excessive smoking can result in a fine.
“The driver of a motor vehicle or trailer shall not drive the vehicle without having taken reasonable precautions to prevent waste oil or grease from falling onto the road surface from the engine or any other part of the vehicle,” according to the NSW legislation.
This is a NSW Road Traffic Code, about which the State Government said: “There is no equivalent rule in the Australian Road Traffic Regulations.”
Drivers who violate Highway Code 291-2 by driving a vehicle that spills oil or grease on the road face a $201 fine, but no penalties will be deducted.
If you smoke excessively while driving, you could face a $362 fine and the loss of three demerit points.
The police can also stop and check your vehicle at any time. If your vehicle is not safe to drive, they can also issue you with a defect report.
One tut too many
Excessive honking, whether to signal an arrival or departure, or just to let off a bit of street noise, can be subject to a fine.
According to the same Highway Code 291, a person must not start or drive a vehicle in a way that causes unnecessary noise.
Drivers who break the rule face a $362 fine and the loss of three demerit points.
Driving with an animal on your lap
Motorists with needy pets need to make sure they don’t sneak onto their laps while driving.
Under Highway Code 297(1A), a person may not drive a vehicle unless the driver is in proper control of the vehicle, and a driver with an animal or other person on their lap is not considered a driver due to the risks involved in grooming duly considered manageable to them.
The offense is punishable by a $481 fine and the loss of three demerit points.
Higher sanctions apply in school zones.
Alcohol consumption in the car
Consuming an alcoholic beverage while driving, even if a driver is under their legal limit, is a felony under Road Rule 298-1.
This rule is intended to underscore the importance of drivers separating drinking from driving.
Drivers violating Highway Code 298-1 face a $362 fine and lose three demerit points.
Blink your high beams
Flashing the high beams to warn oncoming drivers of a speed camera or an approaching obstacle is illegal.
This type of offense is punishable by a $120 fine and the loss of one minus point.
NSW Roads Regulation 218-1 states that a driver must not have headlights illuminated unless it is an emergency response vehicle or is part of a bus warning system.
leave the keys in the car
The Highway Code, which prohibits drivers from leaving keys in the ignition of unattended vehicles, exists to reduce the likelihood of serious stolen vehicle incidents.
Under Road Rule 213, a driver must secure a vehicle and remove the key from the ignition when the driver will be more than 10 feet from the vehicle.
Violating the rule is punishable by a $120 fine.
Increase speed while being overtaken
Speeding while a car is trying to overtake you is not just a small thing, it is a criminal offense.
According to Highway Code 145, a passed driver may not increase the speed of his vehicle until the driver who passed him has passed him, returned to the marked lane or line of traffic he is traveling in and is a sufficient distance away from him Avoid collision.
Drivers who increase speed while being passed face a $362 fine and three demerit points.
Drive in the right lane
If you can’t stand drivers who drive well below the speed limit, you may be guilty of excessive driving in the right lane.
According to Highway Code 130, drivers on a road with a “keep left except overtaking” sign or a speed limit of more than 80 km/h must keep to the left unless overtaking.
Motorists are otherwise only allowed to stay in the right lane when overtaking, turning right, U-turn, avoiding an obstacle, driving in traffic stopped in the left lane, driving a bus or truck and the right lane is for buses or trucks only or overtaking a slow vehicle turning left.
You can also drive in the right lane if you are not turning left but there is a sign saying “left lane must turn left” or a traffic light with a left arrow signal.
Driving in the right lane on a road with a speed limit over 80 km/h will result in a $362 fine and the loss of two demerit points.
resolving traffic offences
In recent years some of Transport for NSW’s criminal offenses have been repealed to simplify road traffic rules.
This includes splashing mud on waiting bus passengers by driving through large roadside puddles.
The act remains immature and slightly gruesome, but is no longer a criminal offense in NSW.
https://7news.com.au/news/nsw/the-little-known-road-rule-that-could-cost-drivers-a-250-fine-for-common-act-c-9412661 The little-known Highway Code that could cost drivers a $250 fine for joint actions