New Victorian road rules begin today, bringing Victoria more closely in line with the rest of the country.  The rules fall under VicRoads’ Arrive Alive 2008-2017 strategy which aims to make roads safer and reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries.

st kilda tram

These are some of the new regulations and a few of the penalties that come with them:

Mobile phones

  • Holding a phone – which includes sitting it on your lap – is prohibited.
  • You may only make or receive phone calls or use the audio functions on the phone if:
  • the phone is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle, or
  • it can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone.
  • All other functions (eg texting, emailing, etc) are prohibited.

VicRoads says your chance of being involved in a crash increases by four times when using your phone and as much as 23 times when texting.  Drivers will be fined $234 and three demerit points for phone-related infringements.

car_texting

Visual display units (eg GPSs)

  • Navigation devices must be an integrated part of the vehicle design or be secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle.

Trams

  • You must stop before the rear of a stopped tram at a tram stop.  Once pedestrians have left the road and the tram doors are closed you may pass the tram at no more than 10km/h ($292 fine + demerit points).
  • You may not stop or park within 20m of a tram stop unless signs indicate otherwise ($117 fine).
  • Driving in tramlines with:
  • Broken yellow lines – you may drive on the tram tracks as long as you don’t delay the tram
  • Single continuous yellow line – you may drive in the tram lane for 50m to enter or leave the road
  • Double continuous yellow lines – you may not drive in a tramway.

Painted lines

  • You may not overtake, change lanes or U-turn over a single continuous centre line or over a single continuous line to the left of a broken line.
  • You may drive over a single continuous line if you are entering or leaving the road.
  • You may only drive over a painted island surrounded by a single continuous line if you are entering or leaving the road, or entering a turning lane immediately after the island ($234 fine + demerit points).

lines

Parking

  • When moving a parked vehicle to another parking spot you must move the vehicle off the length of road or out of the area to which the parking sign applies.
  • When parking opposite double or single continuous lines you must leave three metres clear between the parked car and the dividing line ($70 fine).

Other changes include new rules about seatbelts, child restraints and others for motorcyclists and pedestrians. The full list of changes can be found at the VicRoads website: http://www.roadrules.vicroads.vic.gov.au/home.php.

While the changes do bring Victoria’s rules more closely in line with other states and territories, some differences still remain and local regulations should always be checked before setting off.

By Tim Beissmann (with VicRoads)