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Up To Speed On The Road Rule Changes? Driving In 2018

If you’re like us, there’s a good chance you missed or didn’t understand some of the new road rules from late last year. It’s a problem that’s pretty easy to spot on the road – how many times have you seen drivers that don’t give way or slow down when they’re supposed to?

The below looks at some of new road rules for your state and provides some handy links for more info. Read on and put your road rule knowledge to the test.

New Road Rules By Australian State

Jump to:

Victoria | New South Wales | Queensland | Western Australia | South Australia | Tasmania | Northern Territory | Canberra – Coming Soon

Victoria – New Road Rules


UPDATED May 29, 2018: Blow 0.05 and you’re out

Victoria has recently introduced some tougher road rules around drink driving. From April 30, people caught with a blood alcohol level above 0.05 will:

  • lose their licence – bam, your licence will be cancelled son
  • need to complete a compulsory Drink Driver Program and
  • get hit with an alcohol interlock installed on re-licensing

The rules do differ for different licence types, ages, but across the board will result in those caught spending some time on the sidelines without a licence. The key thing to know about this change is that it applies to first time offenders – not just the serial offenders…

Q. Why are people slowing down around emergency service vehicles?

This single rule change would have to one of the biggest to come out of 2017. The rule requires drivers to slow down to 40km/h when passing a parked or “slow”1 moving emergency vehicle2 with flashing lights.

There is no road in the state where this rule does not apply; you’re even required to comply when the flashing emergency vehicle is in an emergency lane. So be on the lookout, people.

The only exception is when the emergency vehicle is parked on the opposite side of the road (separated by a median strip3).

Here’s the official promo:

 “At times getting down to 40km/h might not be possible, a significant reduction in speed when passing emergency services will help save lives”

Did you catch that?

In our completely unqualified opinion*, it seems like there’s some flexibility on this road rule where a reduction in speed and keeping clear of emergency workers is enough to comply. If that is the case, it kinda makes sense since the end goal is keep our first responders safe.

Why the change?

It’s a much-needed change to be honest. The word from VicRoads is early 1,600 emergency service workers were reported to have either had a near miss, been struck, or had their vehicle struck by a passing vehicle in the last 3 years. That’s more than 1 incident per day! Nb: What we’re wondering is: how many times did this go unreported?

Will they give out fines or demerits for non-compliance?

Yes, to fines. No, to demerits. As of January 1, 2018, a fine of $777.30 is on the cards.


The Official Rule: 

“Road Rule 79A – Approaching and passing stationary or slow – moving police vehicles, emergency vehicles, enforcement vehicles and escort vehicles.

A 40km/h speed limit applies when passing a stationary police vehicle, emergency vehicle, enforcement vehicle and escort vehicle with flashing lights or sounding an alarm.”

1Slow” is defined as less than 10km/h.

2 Emergency vehicles include Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade Vehicles, SES, Search and Rescue, VicRoads (with purple flashing lights), and Other Emergency Patient Transport (with red and blue flashing lights).

3 A median strip is defined by VicRoads as covered grass, wire rope, concrete barrier, or continuous painted island.

Source: VicRoads. https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/recent-changes-to-road-rules


Q. I hear I can drive with an empty bicycle carrier – is this true?

Seems so. The law requiring drivers to remove the unused bike carrier from the vehicle has been removed. You will still need to ensure the bike rack doesn’t hide or obscure your number plate though. If it does obscure it, you’ll need to order a bike rack number plate from VicRoads. Hand-painted number plates are not allowed.

Why the change?

From what we can pick up, it looks like Australian Design Rules (ADR) already regulate the bike racks that are introduced into the market and ensure they don’t impede number plate visibility. Do you have a different take?

The Official Rule:

Road Rule 405 – Vehicle must not be driven with an empty bicycle carrier attached

Redundant rule removed.”

Source: VicRoads. https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/registration/number-plates/standard-number-plates/bicycle-rack-number-plates


For an overview of the change, we suggest hitting up the VicRoads website.

For a full list of Victorian road rules, check out Road Safety (Vehicles) Regulations.

New South Wales – New Road Rules


UPDATED May 29, 2018: See an emergency worker – slow down to 40km

Similar to Victoria’s new road rules, NSW is about to introduce new, slower speed rules when passing an emergency worker (think firefighters, SES, police etc). From September 1, you’ll need to slow down to 40km/h. At this point, the chance is a trial – so temporary – but you can’t imagine it not sticking around in the long-term with all the focus on keeping our first responders safer.

I’m a disqualified driver, any chance I can get my disqualification lifted early?

Yes, so long as you’ve been on your best behaviour for a good stretch of time (2 to 4 years) and your disqualification wasn’t for seriously hurting or causing someone’s death.

If you meet the criteria (see below for full spec) you’ll need to apply. The people approving/denying your application will be your local court, so don your best outfit and put your best foot forward.

Approved? Great. Before you get behind the wheel again, make sure you have got your licence re-issued. Here’s the full write up


The Official Rule:

“You cannot apply if you have ever been convicted of one of these serious driving offences:

  • Murder or manslaughter caused by the use of a motor vehicle
  • An offence under the Crimes Act that caused the death, grievous bodily harm or wounding by a motor vehicle
  • Predatory Driving or Police Pursuits (under the Crimes Act)
  • Negligent driving causing death or grievous bodily harm
  • Intentional menacing driving
  • Failing to stop and assist after impact causing death or grievous bodily harm.”

Source:  NSW Transport. http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/safety-rules/demerits-offences/suspension-disqualification/reforms.html

Queensland – New Road Rules


Hey, what’s this I hear about truck drivers sticking to far-left lanes?

Truckies have got to be one of the hardest working bunch of people around. But in an economy that relies on moving freight via roads already jammed packed with 150,000 plus other vehicles, a comprise needed to be made.

Late last year, the good folks at the Queensland Department of Transport announced some changes to the rules on the M1. The new rules restrict trucks, 4.5t and above (ex. trailer), to the “left 2 lanes in both directions between Springwood and Robina”.

The rules go as far as to say affected trucks are not allowed to overtake if it means leaving the 2 left lanes.

If entering the right lane is required to avoid debris, and it is safe to do so, then the truck is permitted to enter the right lane.

Will they give out fines or demerits for non-compliance?

Yes. Individuals will cop a $126 fine and 3 demerit points. $630 for business.


The Official Rule:

“Affected trucks

  • A truck is defined as a vehicle that weighs more than 4.5t, but does not include a bus.
  • The 4.5t relates only to the GVM and excludes any trailer attached to the vehicle.

Trucks are:

  • Permitted to use the 2 left lanes only 24 hours a day from 1 August 2017.
  • Able to overtake other vehicles, if it is safe to do so, but they must not travel outside the 2 left lanes to do so.
  • Allowed to travel in the right lane to avoid an obstruction on the road only for the time it takes to clear the obstruction (for example, debris) and if it is safe to do so.
  • Not permitted to travel outside of the 2 left lanes even if traffic is slow or stopped.”

Source: Queensland Department of Transport. https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/business-industry/Heavy-vehicles/M1-truck-lane-restrictions


Want a refresher on all QLD road rules? Check this out

Western Australia – New Road Rules


Cyclists and motorists – has an understanding been struck?

The battle for space between cyclists and motorists is well known. But fighting about who has the right of way will only get you so far, which why a common-sense deal has been struck in the golden state.

The new rules enforced in WA mean motorists will have to keep a space of at least 1 metre @ 60km/h and 1.5 metres if you want to drive any faster.

Are you allowed to drive over single/double continuous lines to adhere to the new rule?

Yes, but only when it is safe to do so (make sure you have a clear view of oncoming traffic people).

Will they give out fines or demerits for non-compliance?

Sure will. You’ll cop a $400 penalty and lose 4 demerit points.

The Official Rule:

“From 30 November 2017, a driver of a motor vehicle must pass a bicycle travelling in the same direction at a safe distance, being:

  • 1 metre on roads where the posted speed limit is 60 km/h or less;
  • 1.5 metres on roads where the posted speed limit is more than 60km/h.”

Source: Western Australia Road Safety Commission. https://www.rsc.wa.gov.au/Rules-Penalties/Browse/Cyclists


Want a refresher on all QLD road rules? Check this out

South Australia – New Road Rules


We couldn’t find any new road rules for you. Know of one? Let us know in the comments.

See South Australia Road Rules.

Tasmania – New Road Rules


We couldn’t find any new road rules for you. Know of one? Let us know in the comments.

See Tasmania Road Rules.

Northern Territory – New Road Rules


We couldn’t find any new road rules for you. Know of one? Let us know in the comments.

See Northern Territory Road Rules.


*Disclaimer: we’re not lawyers, so make sure you read the rules for yourself to ensure you are 100% compliant with the rules of your state.

Luke Samuels

Luke is the Marketing guy at FitMyCar. He's been writing & selling stuff online since the day he got his licence to drive and despite a lack of taste in cars, he's managed to work in one automotive role or another for half his working life.

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