VicRoads New Driving Laws

From the 9th November 2010, VicRoads is introducing new driving rules and changes to Victoria's road safety laws.

Every driver needs to be aware of these changes. Here are the changes and more about What you have to do and the reasons for changes can be found on the VicRoads web site (link below).

USING MOBILE PHONES AND DISPLAY UNITS


Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited, except to make or receive a phone call or to use its audio/music functions provided the phone:

-:- is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle,
or
-:- can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone.

Using a phone as a GPS while driving is prohibited unless it is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle.

All other functions (including video calls, texting and emailing) are prohibited.

Learner and P1 drivers, are prohibited from using a mobile phone at all while driving.

Holding the phone (whether or not engaged in a phone call) is also prohibited. Holding includes resting the mobile on the driverís lap.

Visual display units
A driver must not drive a vehicle that has a television receiver or a visual display unit operating if any part of the screen is visible to the driver or is likely to distract another driver.

A driver can use a driverís aid such as a navigation device but it must be an integrated part of the vehicle design, or secured in a commercially designed holder, which is fixed to the vehicle.

Exemptions
The rule relating to securing visual display units does not apply to motorcycles.

CHILD RESTRAINTS


All children under seven years of age must wear a child restraint or booster seat when travelling in a car for improved safety. The type of restraint will depend on the age of the child as follows:

-:- under the age of six months: to be restrained in a properly fastened and adjusted approved rearward facing child restraint (e.g. infant capsule)
-:- from six months to less than the age of four: to be restrained in either a properly fastened and adjusted approved rearward or properly fastened and adjusted approved forward facing child restraint with inbuilt harness (e.g. child safety seat)
-:- from four years to less than the age of seven: to be restrained in either a forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness or booster seat restrained by a correctly adjusted and fastened seatbelt or child safety harness.

There are also new laws about where children can sit in vehicles.

-:- If a car has two or more rows of seats, then children under four years must not travel in the front seat
-:- If all seats, other than the front seats, are being used by children under seven years, children aged between four and six years (inclusive) may travel in the front seat, provided they use an approved child restraint or booster seat.

VicRoads also recommends
That you have restraints fitted by an approved child restraint fitter.

U-TURNS AND OVERTAKING


Centre dividing line
A driver will not be able to overtake, or do a U-turn across a single continuous centre line, or a single continuous line to the left of a broken line.

However a driver can cross over a centre dividing line (except a double continuous centre dividing line) when entering or leaving the road.

Lane lines
A driver must not change lanes over a single continuous lane line.

Painted islands
A driver must not drive over a painted island that is surrounded by a single continuous line. However a driver can drive over the island if they are entering or leaving the road, or entering a turning lane that begins immediately after the painted island.

A driver must not drive over a painted island at a freeway on-ramp. It is also illegal to drive on a painted island that is surrounded by a double line.

SEATBELTS


Drivers to make sure seatbelts and child restraints are used
It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that all passengers in the car are wearing a seatbelt or a child restraint.

When all seatbelts or child restraints are used, no extra unrestrained passengers are permitted in the vehicle (implemented December 2008).

Exemptions
This rule does not apply to the driver of a bus. The rule also does not apply to a taxi driver with passengers 16 years old or older.

However, an adult passenger commits an offence themselves if they travel in a taxi without a seatbelt.

Also there are exemptions for some types of vehicles that are not required to be fitted with seatbelts.

MOTORCYCLISTS


There are three new rules for motorcyclists.

No passengers under eight years old. A young child under eight years of age canít be carried as a passenger on a motorcycle, unless in a sidecar.
Travelling in a sidecar. When a sidecar is used, it can only carry the number of passengers for which it is designed.
No animals between rider and handlebars. Animals canít be carried between the rider and the handlebars of a motorcycle.
Exemptions
There is an exemption for farmers. While working, a farmer can carry an animal between the rider and the handlebars of a motorcycle for up to 500 metres on a road.

CYCLISTS


The changes are about the helmet and using the proper seat for bicycle passengers, and for cyclists turning from, and stopping in, bicycle boxes at intersections with traffic signals.

Seat and helmet
A bicycle passenger must wear an approved bicycle helmet and sit on a proper seat when riding on a bicycle.

Area reserved for cyclists (bicycle box)
A driver must stop at the first line of the bicycle box while a cyclist must stop at the second line, within the bicycle box.

Turning at intersections
When turning at intersections with a bicycle box a bicycle rider:

-:- if turning left, must be in the left lane of the reserved area
-:- if turning right, must be in the right lane of the reserved area (where there is a bicycle box in the right lane).

Scooters, skateboards and roller blades


A scooter has two or more wheels and a footboard supported by the wheels. It is steered by handlebars, designed to be used by one person and propelled by any one or more of the following: gravity, the user pushing one foot against the ground, an electric motor or motors (with the maximum power output of 200 watts).

Wheeled Recreational Devices can travel on footpaths and on roads where the speed limit is 50km per hour or less.

Wheeled Recreational Devices canít be towed, or slipstream and must not be used on the road at night (except crossing at the shortest route, for example at an intersection).

Scooter riders are required to wear an approved bicycle helmet.

DRIVERS


Whilst all of the new road rules affect drivers, these rules are additional new road safety rules particularly for drivers. They include the following:

At an intersection, a driver must stop at the first stop line and must not enter the area for cyclists when the traffic light is red.
If a driver is blocking a driveway, the driver is only allowed two minutes to pick up or drop off passengers and must not leave the vehicle unattended.
A driver must not have another person or animal on their lap.
If two vehicles, for example a bicycle and a car or two motorcycles, are travelling in the same single marked lane and one vehicle diverges to the left or right within the marked lane, the diverging vehicle must give way.

DRIVING WITH TRAMS


The new laws are:

When sharing the road with trams, a driver must stop before passing the rear of a stopped tram at a tram stop. Once the tram doors are closed and pedestrians have crossed between the tram and kerb, a driver may then proceed at no more than 10 km/h past the tram.
Unless there is a sign which permits parking, a driver must not stop or park within 20 metres of a tram stop.

Tram lanes
Tram lanes are identified by a solid yellow line and overhead signage that shows an image of a tram and the word ĎLANEí.

It is important to note that some tram lanes operate full-time, while others are part-time.

Part-time tram lanes have the same sign as a full-time tram lane, but the sign also shows the days and times that it functions as a tram lane.

A driver may drive in a tram lane for up to 50 metres to enter or leave the road or to avoid an obstruction.

PARKING


Slip lane
Stopping to park in a slip lane or on a painted island will be prohibited.

A slip lane is an area of road for vehicles turning left. It is separated from other parts of the road by a painted island or traffic island.

Parallel parking
Another rule relating to parking relates to parallel parking and the line marking on the road.

Unless parking signs show otherwise, and provided there is at least three metres of clear road between the car and the centre dividing line for other cars to pass (see diagram), a driver can park opposite:

-:- double continuous dividing lines
-:- a single continuous dividing line
-:- a single continuous line to the left or right of a broken dividing line
-:- a dividing strip.

However, a driver is permitted to park opposite a broken line
-:- without leaving three metres clear between
-:- the parked car and the broken dividing line.

Heavy vehicles
Heavy or long vehicles cannot be parked on a road in a built-up area for longer than one hour, unless parking signs show otherwise or the driver is picking up or setting down goods.

Moving parked vehicles
When moving a parked vehicle to another parking spot, the driver must move the vehicle off the length of road, or out of the area, to which the parking sign applies.





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