Drivers ignoring this road rule on holiday face $464 fine from police

·News Reporter
·3-min read

When it comes to carrying large loads, sometimes the easiest solution is to forget about folding down the backseats of your car and instead, tying it to the roof of your vehicle.

However, you need to be careful when doing this as putting too much on top of your car could see you get pulled over by police if it is dangerously overhanging the vehicle’s chassis.

It’s a rule that comes with severe penalties for anyone who is caught in the act, but is only enforced in half of the country. So how much could this mistake cost you?

Men packing cargo on roof rack. Source: Getty Images
Roof loads must not overhang from vehicles and be securely fastened. Source: Getty Images

Road rules frown upon load mistake

When it comes to loading stuff on the roof of your car, it’s generally seen as a smart way to move large loads that won’t fit into a confined space inside your car.

However, the loads need to conform with the rules set by Rule 292 of the Australian Road Rules that covers anything to do with towing stuff on the roof of your vehicle. The rule states that any roof load must:

  • Not significantly overhang any side of the vehicle by no more than 1 metre wide or 2 metres long

  • Be secured properly in a roof rack

  • Not cause the vehicle to become unstable when moving

These rules may seem obvious to most drivers but they are important as it only takes a small pothole to loosen an item and potentially send it flying into nearby motorists.

Surprisingly though, the rule isn’t enforced by all states as Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory have opted not to include this law in their state road rules.

However, anyone in New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT need to pay attention as these have been applied to their state legislations.

Family tying mattress to roof. Source: Getty Images
The rules are only applied in NSW, WA, ACT and Tasmania. Source: Getty Images

Police issue hefty fines

In the four states where the rules around roof loads are enforced, offending drivers can expect some severe punishments with large fines awaiting anyone caught in the act.

NSW has the harshest penalties available as they issue both fines and demerit points for anyone caught with illegal roof loads.

Offending drivers can expect to get hit with a $464 fine and three demerit points to their licence.

Elsewhere across the country, other states that implement the law can dish out some significant financial penalties for anyone breaking this rule. Some of these include:

WA: In Western Australia, drivers found to be driving with any insecure loads on their roofs will be hit with a fine of three penalty units – an equivalent value of $150.

ACT: Should any drivers across Canberra be caught with an overhanging load on their roof or one that isn’t secured properly, they will be slapped with $301 to $598 fines respectively,

TAS: Anyone on Tasmanian roads that drives with an insecure load on their roof will find themselves being issued with a $216 from local police.

Mountain biker puts bike on car roof. Source: Getty Images
Offending drivers in New South Wales could be hit with three demerit points. Source: Getty Images

Even if it might seem obvious, there are strict penalties in place for anyone who tries to take shortcuts when carrying a large load on the roof of their car.

It’s why it is best to always use a roof rack with tight fasteners to ensure everything is secure before taking off, otherwise it is worth considering transporting your load another way to avoid any unwanted trouble.

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