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    Traffic Law: Getting You Up To Speed

    Traffic Lawyers

    “The law is the public conscience.” Thomas Hobb

    As society changes, so do the laws. When the law changes, the relevant authorities publish announcements, usually with the assistance of media outlets, but not everyone views these announcements and many may be out-of-date with current laws.

    This article serves to provide you with clarity regarding some common myths that are out there in the public sphere.

    Rumour No. 1 – I know I can’t talk to anyone on the phone while driving but I can read a text message

    Incorrect. You cannot have your mobile phone in your hand at any time while driving a vehicle. This includes reading, writing or sending a text message. You are also prohibited from turning on or turning off your phone.

    New laws are being introduced in 2020 which will see drivers facing $1,000 fines if they are caught using a mobile phone.

    Err on the side of caution – invest in a hands-free device. Please note, if you are learner or p-plater under 25-years-old you are not allowed to use a hands-free device. This includes putting the phone on loudspeaker!

    Rumour No. 2 – I know I cannot eat a full course meal behind the wheel but a sandwich or burger is okay

    It really depends on your driving. You can eat or drink behind the wheel but if you are found to not be concentrating on your surroundings and the road and are pulled over by police you could be charged with careless driving. If you do not have proper control of your car, then police may issue an infringement notice.

    Remember – distracted driving is one of the Fatal Five and is responsible for many deaths in Queensland. Stay safe and plan ahead – eat at the restaurant, wait until you are home or stop at a local park and take a quick break.

    Rumour No. 3 – I am only going to be five minutes so I can leave my pets in the car with the windows down

    False. In Queensland it is illegal to leave your vehicle with your windows down. Pets inside or not.

    Rumour No. 4 – I take my pet with me everywhere and it is okay to let the pet sit on my lap

    This is illegal. Pets are prohibited from sitting on your lap or causing you to lose proper control of the vehicle you are driving. It should also be noted, there is no specific law that requires you to restrain your pet but most pet owners love their pets and invest in restraints to protect them in the event of an accident.

    Rumour No. 5 – I can leave my child in the car while I pay for petrol but not to go food shopping

    Technically no. Queensland laws state that you must not leave a child under 12-years-old unattended for an unreasonable time without making reasonable provision for the supervision and care of the child. As you have learnt, you cannot leave a vehicle with the windows down so you therefore cannot leave your child in the vehicle with the windows down while you pay for fuel.

    Think you can leave your keys in the car, with the air-conditioning on and children in the car, while you pay for fuel? The answer is no. If you are going to be more than 3 metres away from your vehicle you must secure the vehicle under Queensland laws.

    Rumour No. 6 – There is no law stopping me from sleeping in my car after a big night out

    This all depends on whether you can prove you are not in charge of the vehicle. It is illegal to sleep in the front seats of the vehicle after you have been drinking but if you are sleeping in the back seat you need to prove to police that you are not in charge of the vehicle. If you think you can prove this to the police then take the risk. Otherwise, find somewhere else to sleep off the big night.

    Rumour No. 7 – I am only going to be five minutes so I can leave my keys in the car to pay for fuel

    Not quite. If the petrol station’s cashier is more than three metres away from your vehicle you must lock your vehicle. If you are making payment at the pump with your card then you are fine.

    How We Can Help

    If you find yourself charged with a traffic offence we recommend you seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you have the best chance of keeping your licence and avoiding heavy penalties. Our traffic lawyers have assisted many individuals defend traffic charges, including drink driving, careless driving, dangerous driving and driving while distracted.

    We provide $99 traffic law initial consultations where you can meet with an expert traffic lawyer from our Criminal & Traffic Law Team to discuss your situation and plan the best course of action.

    Contact Us

    Are in you in trouble on the road? We can assist you. Contact Quinn & Scattini Lawyers’ experienced traffic lawyers on 1800 999 529, email or submit an enquiry below.

    We are available to meet with you at any of our local offices (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Beenleigh, Cleveland and Jimboomba) or by telephone or video-conference.

    This article is for your information and interest only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and it does not constitute and must not be relied on as legal advice. You must seek specific advice tailored to your circumstances.

    Traffic Law - Dangerous Driving

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