Are you over the line?

IT IS fair to say that we road users have an understanding of the majority of the road rules which exist in various states such as abiding by speed limits and stopping at red lights. Having said this, there are sections within our road use legislation across Australia which few of us may be aware of.

Solid white lines

 In Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, legislation places a restriction on a driver who is driving on a continuous white edge line with only a few exceptions. In Queensland and New South Wales a driver may drive on, or over, a continuous white edge line if overtaking a vehicle that is turning right, if the driver is driving a slow-moving vehicle, driving a vehicle that is too wide or too long to drive on the road without driving on or over the edge line or if the driver is trying to avoid an obstruction.

A driver may drive on or over a continuous white edge line on a road for up to 100m if the driver is turning at the intersection, entering or leaving the road or stopping at the side of the road where permitted.

Similarly, a solid white line at either a stop sign or an intersection controlled by traffic lights will also attract a maximum fine of $2200 in Queensland should the driver of the vehicle stop over the line.

In Victoria, the legislation sets out similar criteria though the penalty is significantly less. In all states, what is allowed by the legislation may appear to be minor in nature and unlikely to cause harm or damage to any other road user, but they are offences under the legislation and attract significant fines.

Low gear signs

 It is also worth pointing out the issue of traffic signs alerting trucks to use low gears. If the driver of a truck is driving on a section of road which is signed to require the truck to use a low gear, the driver of that truck must be in a gear low enough to limit the speed of the truck without the driver having to use a primary brake. For the purposes of the law, a "primary brake" is described as a foot brake or other brake fitted to a truck that is normally used to slow or stop the vehicle. Failure to comply with this law will also attract a maximum fine of $2200 in Queensland.

No trucks

 Another lesser known road rule is a truck must not travel past signage stating No Trucks, though it is a defence to a charge under this law that the destination of the driver's vehicle was on or near the road on which the No Trucks sign was located and the driver could not reach the destination by another route or could reach the vehicle's destination by another route only by driving past another No Trucks sign.

Hopefully this information will help you steer clear of hefty penalties. Keep these points in mind so you can continue driving and avoid some of the less obvious fines which you may not have been aware of.

Our guy

 Guy McEntyre is managing law clerk and director of Hall & Co Solicitors, a law firm that specialises in issues relating to the transport industry.

Guy has always been hooked on trucks and has been lucky enough to provide legal services for owner-drivers and corporate fleets performing all manner of legal work including traffic, criminal, debt recovery, general litigation and claims associated with property damage and personal injuries relating to traffic accidents.

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