Navigating the roads of New South Wales can be difficult at the best of times. There are many road rules in place for everyone’s safety, but at times, you may be breaking road rules without even knowing. If a car hits a pedestrian at 50km/h the impact is twice as likely to cause death than if the car had been travelling at 40km/h. Fatigue-related crashes are almost three times as likely to be fatal than crashes not involving fatigue.
Exceeding Speed Limit:
How many times have you been driving down a slight slope and looked down to find yourself slightly over the speed limit? It is essential to always to check your speed as it can be easy to exceed the speed limit unintentionally. Each year, speeding contributes to about 40% of road fatalities and 25% of serious injuries. Almost 135 lives were lost, and 1141 people were seriously injured. Keep in mind the faster you are travelling, the longer distance you will need to come to a complete stop.
If you are travelling at 30Km/h you will need 19 meters to come to a full stop. At 40Km/h you will need 27 meters to come to a full stop. At 50Km/h you will need 37 meters to come to a full stop and at 60Km/h you will need over 50 meters of road to come to a complete stop. The faster you travel, the more distance you will need to come to a complete stop.
For drivers with a full license, if you are caught driving 10km/h or less, you can be hit with a $128 fine and a loss of one demerit point. However, for a Learner or Provisional Driver, the loss of demerits points is more severe. A Learner or Provisional driver caught driving 10Km/h or less could be hit with a $128 fine and loss of four demerit points (Road Rules 2014). If you were caught exceeding the speed limit 10Km/h or less in a school zone you could be fined $211 with a loss of two demerit points and a Learner or Provisional driver caught doing the same thing could be fined $211 but will lose five demerit points.
The law is stricter on Leaner and Provisional drivers than drivers with a full license. Always adhere to the speed limit for your safety and the safety of others.
Driver Fatigue (Heavy Vehicle Class)
Driver fatigue is one of the main leading causes of road accidents and deaths on the roads. Driver fatigue penalties for drivers of cars are expensive, but the penalties for truck drivers are severe. This is because drivers of trucks are constantly on the road and can do a lot of hours of driving per week. Driving hours are regulated, and laws are in place to ensure drivers are provided adequate time to rest between drives to maintain the safety of the drivers and all other road users. Should a truck driver be caught driving over their allocated AFM hours or found that fatigue was the cause of an accident, the penalties for the driver are severe.
A person must not drive a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle on a road while the person is impaired by fatigue. If a driver is caught breaching this law, they can be fined $7,110 and a loss of three demerit points.
If a driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle is caught driving for a longer period than the allocated AFM hours and or has not had adequate rest time, they can be fined $11,820 if found to have severe fatigue.
If a driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle is caught driving for a longer period than the allocated AFM hours and or has not had adequate rest time, they can be fined $17,740 and lose four demerit points if found to have critical fatigue.
Speeding, be it casual or not, along with fatigue are major contributors to deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Please take care on the road and look out for the early signs of fatigue.