By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
Bad drivers: They are indeed among us.
But then there are the outright stupid. The drivers so utterly senseless that they actually think the things they are doing on the road are entirely acceptable.
Take for example, this 29-year-old driver who was caught travelling along the NSW South Coast with a woman sleeping in the boot of her car.
To make matters worse, she was pulled over by police to begin with because she was speeding – a solid 72km/h over the limit.
Yeah, about those stupid drivers…
Police “Bewildered to Discover Woman Sleeping in Boot: How the Incident Unfolded
During the Easter long weekend in April this year, police were patrolling Turpentine Road in Tomerong when they noticed a driver clocking 152km/h in an 80km/h zone.
When they pulled over the Cambodian national driver for speeding, they were left bewildered to also find a woman sleeping in the boot of the Mitsubishi 4WD.
The driver was given a $325 fine for driving with a passenger in the boot and was booked for exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h.
She was banned from driving in NSW for six months.
Police Slam Motorists for “Stupidity on the Roads”
The incident, it turns out, was one of several cases of “stupidity” on NSW roads during the early stages of the state’s Easter long weekend road safety blitz, in which police were targeting all speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt and motorcycle helmet offences.
Speaking of the operation, NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said he was shocked to hear of so many drivers being reckless with their safety over the Easter long weekend.
“Officers have encountered several cases of what can only be described as stupidity on the roads,” Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said.
“Sadly, some drivers are ignoring common sense and putting their own lives, their passengers’ lives and the lives of other road uses at great risk of death or injury.”
On more than one occasion over the Easter long weekend, police stopped drivers who had unrestrained passengers, some in the boot of their cars, and even one reportedly on the roof.
Drivers Behaving Badly: The NSW Statistics from the Easter Long Weekend
It turns out, in just the four days of the Easter long weekend, police dished out 5182 speeding fines, charged 228 drivers with drink driving offences in NSW, and issued 8337 other infringement notices.
Speaking of the tallies, Assistant Commissioner Corboy expressed his frustration of drivers engaging in risky behaviour behind the wheel.
“With 228 people charged with drink driving offences, we are past the point of being disappointed, we are now angry that drivers are not listening to our warnings,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.
“Too many people are risking their own and other people’s lives with their reckless and stupid decisions.
“The message is clearly still not getting through and I fear that for many of the drivers and riders out there, it may only sink in after it’s too late.”
So, Are You Allowed to Travel in or On the Boot of a Motor Vehicle in NSW?
The simple answer is no.
In NSW, it is illegal to carry passengers in a part of a vehicle not designed for carrying passengers.
This means the boot of a hatchback or sedan – and the back of a wagon, van and ute.
In NSW, if you are caught breaking this rule you can expect a fine of $344 and three demerit points.
What the Law Says about Travelling in or on the Boot of a Motor Vehicle in NSW
Rule 268-2 Road Rules 2014 (NSW) prohibits a person from traveling in or on the boot of a motor vehicle in NSW. This carries an on the spot fine of $344 with no demerit points.
It also prohibits a driver from driving a motor vehicle if a person is in or on the boot of the vehicle. This carries an on the spot fine of $344 with 3 demerit points.
Generally, a person is not allowed to travel in or on any part of a motor vehicle that’s not a part designed primarily for carrying passengers or goods. This attracts a $344 on the spot fine without any demerit points.
A driver is also not allowed to drive a motor vehicle with a passenger in or on a part of the vehicle that’s not a part designed primarily for carrying passengers or goods. This will result in a $344 on the spot fine with 3 demerit points (section 268(4A) Road Rules 2014 (NSW)).
Exceptions to these rules include:
- A person who is in or on a police or emergency vehicle, or engaged in door-to-door delivery or collection of goods, or collection of waste or garbage, in or on a motor vehicle that’s travelling not more than 25 km/h; or
- If in all the circumstances, there’s no reasonably danger of the person falling or being thrown from the vehicle or being injured due to him/her travelling in a manner prohibited by the rule(s); or
- The authority authorises a person, by order in writing, to do the things prohibited under rule 268 in order to allow a sporting or similar event to be filmed or facilitate a special event, so long as any conditions set by the authority are complied with (section 268-1 Road Rules 2014 (NSW)).
The above are all penalty notice offences which do not require a court attendance unless the fine is court-elected.
Once the fine is paid within 21-days, the case is put to an end without the recording of a conviction. Demerit points if applicable to the rule will also be incurred upon payment of the fine.
There will be 21-days to pay or court-elect the penalty notice fine. After this period expires, a ‘reminder notice’ will be sent giving a further 28-days to pay or court-elect.
However, if this period expires, the SDRO will then issue an enforcement order with a further 21-days, with serious consequences if this period expires, including imprisonment, community service order, court action and sanctions against your driver licence.
In the event a court-election for a penalty notice offence is made, court attendance will be required where a plea of ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ will be required to be entered in court.
In that event, the Court has discretion to impose a maximum penalty of $2,200 if a verdict of guilty is found or a plea of guilty is entered in court for breaching any of the earlier mentioned rules. The maximum penalty is rarely given as a sentence.
Demerit points and fine will be avoided if the court imposes a sentence without conviction, known as a non-conviction section 10 order, or where a verdict of ‘not guilty’ is returned in court.
With Sydney’s leading traffic and drink driving lawyers, we’re happy to answer your questions.
Contact our friendly staff if you have any further questions arising from this article 24/7 on (02) 8606 2218.