Mad March is the busiest and arguably the best time of the year to be in Adelaide, with hundreds of thousands of patrons flocking to the East End to enjoy the Fringe festivities and Adelaide 500 event. The Adelaide 500 is Australia’s largest domestic motor sport event, attracting spectators from across the country and features 4 days of racing.
With the smell of burning rubber wafting through the streets of Adelaide, it may be tempting to try and live life in the fast lane. It is, however, prudent to ensure you understand South Australia’s driving laws to keep your licence in pole position.
The following information is general information and is not legal advice. You should always contact and consult a lawyer for advice specific to your circumstances and before deciding on a course of action.
What kinds of driving laws exist in South Australia?
South Australia’s driving laws are found throughout a myriad of legislation, guidelines and rules. The Road Traffic Act, Motor Vehicles Act, Criminal Law Consolidation Act and The Australian Road Rules each address different aspects of what policy makers perceive to be laws that guide conduct on our roads. In all aspects, South Australian driving laws are intended to create a uniform set of duties for road users to follow to ensure the ongoing safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Although not specifically mentioned in South Australia’s driving laws, hooning, in the general sense, encompasses driving which can be viewed as dangerous or reckless. Hoon driving encompasses:
Street racing is a race conducted on a road, or a road-related area, between 2 or more motor vehicles. It also encompasses a trial to determine how quickly a motor vehicle can cover the distance between 2 points, and a competition, or display, involving 2 or more motor vehicles producing sustained wheel spin. You should remember that getting too fast, or too furious is an offence in South Australia, and it carries with it hefty penalties.
Misuse of a Motor Vehicle
Misuse of a motor vehicle involves a person operating a motor vehicle to produce sustained wheel spin, driving a motor vehicle so as to cause engine or tyre noise, or both, that is likely to disturb people residing or working in the vicinity, or driving a motor vehicle onto an area of park or garden so as to break up the ground surface or cause other damage. Think that performing burnouts, donuts or circle-work in front of your mates is a ‘fully sick’ idea? You definitely won’t be laughing when served with a fine, a loss of demerit points and a potential licence disqualification.
Reckless and Dangerous Driving
Driving in a manner dangerous to other road users may also land you in the hot seat. In determining whether driving is reckless and dangerous many factors are considered. The amount of traffic on the road at the time of the offence and the nature, condition and use of the road are factors the court must have regard to in determining whether an offence has been committed.
Driving Under the Influence
It is an offence for a person to drive, or attempt to put in motion, a motor vehicle while the prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) is present in their blood. The specified PCA in South Australia is currently a concentration of 0.05 grams or more of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. If you currently hold a learner’s permit, a probationary licence or a heavy vehicle licence, the specified PCA whilst driving must be zero.
Refusing a Roadside Test
You should also be aware that you must not refuse, or fail to comply with, all reasonable directions of a police officer when requested to exhale into the apparatus as part of an alcotest or breath analysis. Refusing or failing to comply with reasonable directions or refusing or failing to exhale into the apparatus is an offence which allows Police to presume that you are intoxicated and that you blood alcohol reading is in the highest range resulting in a licence disqualification of at least 12 months! You should, however, be aware of your right to request a blood test if you perceive the results to be incorrect.
It is an offence for you to drive a motor vehicle, or attempt to put a motor vehicle in motion, whilst a prescribed drug is present in your oral fluid or blood. Some prescribed drugs include tetrahydrocannabinols (found in cannabis), methamphetamines and amphetamines, and MDMA (ecstasy).
It is a condition of driving a motor vehicle that you must drive with due care and attention and pay reasonable consideration for other people using the road. Careless driving or failing to drive with due care is an offence which has previously been found to encompass actions involving the use of a mobile phone or radio, taking your eyes off the road, or not maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle travelling in front of you.
Using Mobile Phones
Whilst a vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, you must not use a mobile phone unless the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle and the use of the phone does not require you to press anything on the phone. Failing to comply with this road rule could result in a maximum fine of $2,500 and the loss of 3 demerit points.
What are the penalties and what should I avoid?
Although the penalties for each of the offences listed above differ greatly, in most instances a licence disqualification, fine and demerit penalty are imposed by the Courts. In some instances, for example for Street Racing, Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving resulting in a death, imprisonment is a real possibility. In matters involving drink or drug driving, the penalties specified by the Court are inflexible in the sense that they prescribe a maximum fine and minimum disqualification period for an offender, leaving very little to no scope for a lesser sentence. These offences can also result in your vehicle being impounded for 28 days and you asking “dude, where’s my car?”….
Importantly, don’t be an Armchair Enthusiast – if a friend or someone you know is engaging in this type of behaviour, pull them up on it. It is therefore vitally important that you do not engage in behaviour on the roads that puts other road users at risk. If drinking alcohol, we recommend that you plan public transport or assign a designated driver. However tempting it may be, you should not allow your need for speed to influence your driving off the track. Clipsal 500 drivers are trained professionals engaging in racing on a closed circuit – vastly different from racing on a street frequented by other road users and pedestrians.
How can Georgiadis Lawyers help me?
If you are facing driving related charges, Georgiadis Lawyers can assist you by:
- Attending Court on your behalf;
- Negotiating with the Prosecution for a withdrawal or reduction of the charges;
- Limiting any disqualification period to a minimum;
- Making a trifling application for the retention of demerit points; and/or
- Appeal a licence disqualification on the basis of severe and undue hardship.
Georgiadis Lawyers offers competitive FIXED FEE SERVICES in all Criminal and Traffic law matters. contact us to speak with a Solicitor about how Georgiadis Lawyers can best tackle your Criminal and Traffic matters – it’s always best to contact us before you Tokyo drift out of the chicane and find your licence gone in 60 seconds!