There is nothing more frustrating on the roads than having slower cars hogging the right-hand lane causing other drivers to take risks as they struggle to get past.
Thankfully, there are rules to punish those sitting in the fast lane when it isn’t necessary and not keeping to the left-hand side of the road.
These rules are strictly enforced and with a combination of both financial penalties and demerit points threatening drivers, it can be a strict deterrent. So just how costly could it be?
Always stick to the left
Keeping to the left to allow faster traffic through is a general theme throughout Australian society whether you are on an escalator, pavement, and of course on the roads.
It’s a rule that is applied nationally with each state using the guidelines set out in the Australian Road Rules.
In the regulations, Rule 129 clearly states: "A driver must drive as far as practicable to the far left-hand side of the road".
Anyone caught not following this is then automatically at risk of being given a penalty should they be caught doing so by police or other regulatory bodies.
It’s also backed up by the ARR’s Rule 130 which requires drivers to avoid using the right lane on a multi-lane road unless they are:
Turning right or making a U-turn
Avoiding an obstruction
All other lanes are congested
Here, drivers are only required to stay in the left lane if the speed limit is signposted as being over 80km/h or there is a sign indicating to “keep left unless overtaking”.
There aren’t any exceptions given to the rules meaning that there aren’t any loopholes or side rules to exploit when pleading your case to the authorities.
Fines and demerit points aplenty
No matter where you go across Australia, you will almost certainly be handed some sort of financial penalty for failing to keep to the left if caught by police.
On top of that, most states also add several demerit points to your licence just to hammer home that the actions you were doing could be potentially dangerous.
NSW: The authorities in NSW are fairly strict on the matter. They will issue a fine of $272 and add two demerit points to your licence. The fine increases to $349 if they take place on a multi-lane road.
VIC: Drivers in Victoria must keep left when driving on a multi-lane road with a speed limit of 80km/h or more, or where there's a "keep left" sign, unless overtaking. Those that don't could be facing a fine of $182 and two demerit points to their licence.
QLD: Queensland drivers need to keep left when driving on a multi-lane road with a signposted speed limit more than 80km/h or face an $82 penalty. The Sunshine State also has a general rule about keeping left on all roads, breaking which could see offenders issued with a $110 fine and two demerit points.
SA: With the additional $92 levy for breaking road rules, offenders in SA will get lumped with a $424 fine and two demerit points.
WA: WA has the most lenient penalties for lane hogs as they will be issued a $50 and also cop two demerit points.
ACT: The authorities are pretty strict on those caught breaking lane rules in the nation's capital as offenders will be slapped with a $380 and two demerit points.
TAS: Tasmanian drivers face a fine of $130 and two demerit points should they fail to keep left on the roads.
NT: The rules are a little different in the Northern Territory compared to the rest of the country. As the offence is classed as a general offence, it allows police to charge up to 20 penalty units should they wish. With one penalty unit equating to $157, you could face a maximum fine of $3,140.
Rule doesn't just apply to cars
In some states, the rules for keeping left are applied to all forms of vehicles – not just cars and it can be applied to driving or riding on all paved surfaces in public areas.
Tasmania has specific rules allocated to both scooter drivers and pedestrians who do not keep to the left when on the roads.
Any offending parties could face a fine of $43 should they be caught in the act. In Queensland, anyone riding e-scooters has to keep left whenever riding on a footpath or a side street.
If anyone is found breaking these rules or driving them on a major road, the rider will have a penalty of $137.
It’s safe to say then that you need to keep left whenever travelling in public areas otherwise you could cop a fine no matter what mode of transport you have chosen to use.
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