Once you pass your driving test it can be difficult to keep up with new and amended road rules, but ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.
In 2020, Australian drivers will see some some penalties double, new technology will record illegal activity and split-second decisions could cost drivers their licence.
Light rail rules
As Sydney’s new light rail got off to a shaky start, a strict rule was introduced to make sure trams and pedestrians don’t get off on the wrong side of the tracks.
NSW road rules state pedestrians cannot cross the tracks unless at a designated crossing or at their own discretion 20 or more metres away from a crossing.
Those who breach the rule will face a $76 fine.
Mobile phone laws
The penalty for illegally using your mobile phone while driving will more than double from $400 to $1000 in Queensland next year, making it the highest fine in the country for illegal mobile phone use.
The record-high fine will be introduced in the Sunshine State from February 1 and if you’re caught more than twice in one year, you could lose your licence.
In NSW new mobile phone detection cameras will shed light on drivers who illegally use mobile phones while driving by using artificial intelligence to capture images of the front seats of vehicles.
The new cameras were introduced in December and warnings will be issued to motorists caught on camera holding or touching their mobile phones, even for a moment, until February, but after a three-month grace period, fines starting at $344 will be enforced.
Slowing down for emergency vehicles
In September Transport for NSW made changes to law put in place to protect roadside workers and emergency services workers.
Drivers are required to slow down to a speed of 40km/h when passing a stationary police vehicle or emergency vehicles with flashing red-and-blue lights. It also applies when passing tow truck operators on the side of the road.
The law was amended to only be applicable when travelling on roads where the speed limit is 80km/h or less, but the fine sits at $448 and three demerit points for those who violate it.
Disability parking fine hike
The fine for illegally parking in a disability zone in Queensland will cost you twice as much in 2020.
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey announced in November there were plans to increase the fine for parking in a marked disability parking zone without a permit from $266 to $533 mid-next year.
“Drivers who illegally occupy disability parking spaces from those who need them should expect to be harshly penalised,” Mr Bailey said.
As Australia battles through a catastrophic bushfire season, the tolerance for those who litter is at an all-time low.
The NSW government has warned drivers who toss lit cigarettes from vehicles will be hit with five demerit points and the punishment is higher if it happens during a total fire ban.
From January 17, tossers will face a fine of up to $11,000 and twice the demerit points.
Longer periods for learner drivers
There are tough conditions for those getting their learner licence in the ACT from in 2020.
Anyone who is under 25 and issued a learner’s licence from January 1 will have to hold it for at least 12 months before they can apply for the P1 licence.
Those over 25 will only have to hold their learner’s licence for six months before applying for a P2 licence, however all those on their Ls will still have to successfully complete a hazard perception test.
No more speed camera warnings
In Western Australia, police will no longer notify drivers where speed cameras will be in operation come the new year.
Instead from January 1, motorists will be provided with a list of 1800 locations where cameras may be in operation.
To read more about road rules, click here.
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