Renee Pilcher

New road safety rules

HAVE you brushed up on the new Queensland Road Rules effective from October 12?

If you are like most people you probably haven't, so you will be surprised to hear that if you are caught walking on the wrong side of the road you can be fined $40.

That's right, listen up everyone who likes to jog or walk along the road: you aren't supposed to be on the road at all, according to police, but if there isn't a nature strip or footpath you have to walk towards traffic facing in the opposite direction.

Of course that only applies if it is practical to walk on that side of the road.

Gympie traffic branch officer in charge Peter Webster said the new laws were introduced with a view to reducing crashes and keeping people safe.

He said most rules were amendments and a lot were commonsense, like walking against the traffic as it reduced the chances of being hit by a vehicle.

He had a eureka moment when reviewing the new rules and found it would now be illegal to have an animal on your lap while driving.

Sgt Webster said there were quite a few people who drove with dogs on their laps and it was dangerous as the animal interfered with each person's ability to control their vehicle, especially in an emergency when reaction time was critical.

Other rules now make it illegal to turn on your front fog lights unless there is bad weather, something Sgt Webster said had not been an offence for almost 10 years.

He said, however, it had always been illegal to turn on your rear fog lights.

It was a good rule, he said, as drivers, especially truckies, had been complaining of being “dazzled” by the distracting lights.

He said police had recently issued cautions about the use of fog lights but would enforce the new regulations on Monday.

New child-restraint laws are included in the swag of regulations, but the legislation for them will not come into effect until March 2010.

Those rules state that passengers under the age of four can not occupy the front seats in a vehicle unless there is only one row of seats.

And passengers aged four to seven years can only occupy the front row of seats if all the other seats are already occupied by passengers under the age of seven; again only if there is more than one row of seats.

If the new child-restraint rules are not followed you can be fined $300 and lose three points on your licence. Further details can be found at www.transport.qld.gov.au.

There is a change to seatbelt exemptions also.

If you have a medical certificate stating you can not wear a seatbelt it must have an end date of less than 12 months or you can be penalised.

Other rules include drivers being responsible for anyone who does not wear a properly fastened and adjusted seatbelt.

That means as the driver you can be charged $300 and accumulate three demerit points for anyone who isn't wearing a seatbelt.

Gympie Times


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