Aussie grandmother's unusual $352 driving fine: 'Never heard of that'

A Sydney grandmother was left shocked when a police officer handed her a $352 fine for an offence she had never even heard of.

In June this year 85-year-old Alma Smith, from Sydney's Padstow Heights, was driving to work when another driver cut in front of her.

The other car was parked on Belmore Road at Riverwood when the driver pulled out in front of Ms Smith. She told 9News she was worried the two cars would crash, so she hit her brakes and sounded her horn.

Pictured is Alma Smith a Sydney grandmother who was fined for honking her horn.
Sydney grandmother Alma Smith was fined for honking her horn after a motorist cut in front of her. Source: 9News

Just moments after avoiding a crash, Ms Smith was pulled over by a police officer.

Her son Warwick Smith told 9News the police officer was a few cars behind his mother and he was counting how long she sounded her horn.

Ms Smith believed hitting the horn was necessary, but the officer had a different opinion. He said the 85-year-old used it excessively and could be considered road rage.

"I went silent for a moment and I said, 'are you kidding I have never heard of that and I have been on the road driving for over 60 years'," she told 9News.

"I couldn't believe it. Is this a joke? Haven't they got better things to do?"

Can you honk your horn on the road in NSW?

In her 60 years of driving, Ms Smith had never heard of honking the horn as an offence on the road.

There are only a few situations in NSW where you are allowed to use your car horn, or another warning device.

You can use your horn in NSW if:

  • You need to warn another motorist about the "position of your vehicle"

  • To warn others you are approaching

  • To warn animals to get off the road

  • If it is part of an anti-theft or alcohol interlock device.

"Never use your horn to scare or intimidate other road users, particularly bicycle riders, pedestrians and horse riders," the NSW Government says.

Honking your horn for the wrong reasons is illegal in Australia. Source: Getty Images
Honking your horn for the wrong reasons is illegal in Australia. Source: Getty Images

Incorrectly using your car horn is illegal across all states and territories in Australia. Penalties vary across the country.

However, Sam Macedone, a lawyer 9News spoke to said it seems Ms Smith used her horn to warn someone who was cutting across her so she had "every right to use her horn".

Ms Smith will fight the fine in court next year.

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