If you have to quickly nip out of the car for a few seconds, you would think that leaving the door open won’t cause any harm while you did what you had to do.
However, letting your guard down for just a few seconds could put you at risk of getting into trouble as it is actually illegal to leave your door open facing into an open road.
It may seem like a harmless act, but the authorities could drop some heavy fines and even demerit points if they believe it is causing a hazard to other traffic. So what is wrong with leaving the door open?
Caught in the moment
Leaving the door open to the road may seem like a victimless act, but doing this where it could interfere with traffic poses a risk to other motorists on the road.
The rule is set out as part three of Rule 269 in the Australian Road Rules where it is made clear that it’s illegal to leave a door open where it could be a hazard.
It’s not the most common rule, but with it being classed as a matter of road safety, it is something that has been adopted into law by all Australian states.
After all, an open door on a narrow street is a sizeable obstacle for somebody to hit when driving and could certainly cause serious damage and injury if struck at a high enough speed.
A costly decision
For anyone who is deemed to be causing a hazard, the penalties vary from state to state with both fines and demerit points ready to be dished out.
The only state to issue demerit points for offending drivers is South Australia which issues three demerit points to offending drivers as well as issuing a combined fine of $292.
Elsewhere in Australia, drivers can expect a fine of some variety. Some states offer set amounts for leaving a door open to the road with some hefty penalties including:
NSW: In New South Wales, drivers leaving their doors open in the road will be hit with a fine of $349 by the authorities.
VIC: Victorian drivers found to be leaving their door open and causing a hazard will cop a hefty fine of $454 from local law enforcement.
TAS: The fines are lesser for anyone caught by police leaving their door open in the road as they will be issued with a $173 fine.
ACT: If you are caught in Canberra leaving your door open and causing a hazard, the police can dish out a fine of $205.
Not to be outdone by their neighbours, some states have chosen to punish offenders for breaking the rules around car doors using the penalty unit system. In these cases, drivers may face:
WA: Western Australian authorities will issue a fine of one penalty unit – worth $50 – to any offenders breaking Rule 243 of the Road Traffic Code.
QLD: Drivers across Queensland found leaving their door open and causing a hazard will get hit with a minimum fine of one penalty unit which is currently valued at $137.50.
NT: As with many driving offences in the Northern Territory, leaving your door open is classed as a general offence and will see drivers punished with a fine of one penalty unit – worth $157.
As you can see, there are some surprisingly harsh penalties to be dished out for what may seem like an innocuous action that might last just a few seconds.
However, there are no shortcuts when it comes to road safety so it’s worth taking a second just to close your door when you need to nip out to the ATM and avoid copping some severe and unwanted penalties.
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