Is Trailer Advertising on Our Road Sides a Distraction to NSW Drivers?

We all know that drink driving in Sydney, and other traffic offences, such as holding a mobile phone while seated in your car with the engine running, are all traffic offences in NSW- which cause safety concerns for all road user.

Now, in efforts to improve road safety to avoid drivers from getting distracted on NSW Roads, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment have introduced new laws to address this issue by preventing road side trailer advertising, with the introduction of penalty fines.

Large fines attract those who place transportable billboards on footpaths, nature strips or roads in NSW.

These changes were made in late 2017 to improve road safety, and are effective from March 2018 attracting $1,500 fines for individuals, and up to $3,000 fine for businesses.

The Banning of Advertisements on Roads and Road Related Areas

The Department of Planning and Environment, through their environmental policies, regulate and control advertising and signage throughout NSW.

On 1 March 2018, changes come into effect that ban all advertisements displayed on parked trailers located on a road or road related area, such as a footpath.

The changes relate to all outdoor advertising and signage on nearby roads throughout New South Wales.

An advertisement, under the policy, includes all signs and notices that advertise and promote goods, services or events.

Not complying with the new laws attract a fine of $1,500 (for individuals) or $3,000 (for businesses) if you are caught.

What Circumstances Can you Advertise on Your Vehicle in View of Motorists?

Advertising On or Near Roads

According to the guidelines, a fine will not apply to an advertisement that:

  • Is associated with the primary use of the trailer, such as a trailer that is used for a gardening or delivery service; or
  • Has been erected by the RMS for the purpose of road safety or traffic management.

You should contact and enquire with the local council to avoid receiving a fine.

Advertising on Private Property

You must gain consent from either your local council, the RMS, or the Minister for Planning to display signage on a trailer that is parked on private land.

This change only applies to an advertisement that is in view from the road or a road related area.

For consent to be granted, it must be shown that:

  • The signage is consistent with the policy aims. This includes, that the signage be of high quality design and finish, being compatible with the future of the area, and proves effective communication; and
  • That it satisfies the policy assessment criteria, including whether the signage obstructs landscape views, is visually appealing, and does not affect the safety of the public.

For a complete list of the policy assessment criteria, please see Schedule 1 Assessment Criteria.

If you are found to be advertising on a trailer that is visible from a road or road related area without consent, you may now be fined $1,500 (for individuals) or $3,000 (for businesses).

Advertising in Transport Corridors

Another way that an advertisement or signage is allowed to be visibly displayed to motorists, is on transport corridor land.

What does Transport Corridor Land mean?

Transport corridor land is:

  • Land associated with a railway track, such as stations and platforms; or
  • Land associated with a classified road, known as the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, Eastern Distributor and Motorways; or
  • Zoned Industrial land owned or managed by the RMS or Rail corp.

As of 29 November 2017, you are allowed to advertise on transport corridor land, however you must have consent.

If the advertisement is displayed on a vessel, then an application for consent to the RMS is required.

The Minister for Planning will accept applications for the display of an advertisement on transport corridor land associated with a classified road, such as tunnels and motorways.

All other applications for consent are to be made to the relevant local council.

The Minister will not grant consent to display the advertisement unless:

  • The local council has been notified of the application in writing; and
  • Any advice from a design review panel that may have been appointed by the Minister has been considered; and
  • The Minister believes that the advertisement falls within the Guidelines.

If you believe this applies to you, please view the Guidelines prior to making an application.

You may be liable to pay a fine of $1,500 (for individuals) or $3,000 (for businesses) if you advertise without consent.

Further, if you would like to display a particular advertisement and are unsure what the policy says about this, please see Division 3 of the Policy.

So why were the changes made?

The Department expressed concerns that an advertisement or signage that was displayed on a trailer located nearby or on a road, gave rise to safety concerns for all motorists.

It was stated that these forms of roadside advertising were very distracting and would often block the vision of motorists.

By changing the policy on trailer advertisements, the Department predicts that this will minimise or eliminate risks to drivers on NSW roads.

Deputy Mayor Julie Passas expressed concerns after receiving dozens of complaints from the residents of Ashfield over roadside advertisement trailers on Frederick St. In a report by the Daily Telegraph, the Deputy Mayor said, that the trailers “left little room for trucks and heavy vehicles to pass without crossing double yellow lines.”

The Deputy Mayor was also reported expressing concerns, that “the trailers block motorists’ vision and we’ve got trucks and buses going over the double lines just to get around them. They are a safety hazard”.

Others have criticised the new laws, expressing a practical concern on how authorities are going to be able to go around and fine everyone who parks a trailer on the street, where there is no on-site parking at their homes.

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About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Australia's Leading Criminal Defence Lawyers, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Courts.

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