The Penalties for Driving with an Unsecured Load in NSW

By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.


Moving house can be a stressful time – especially when it comes to transporting your large kitchen appliances.

Indeed, the classic case of how to move the dreaded fridge certainly comes to mind, particularly when you consider its size and that it weighs about 140kg on average.

Whether it’s a short trip down the road, to the next suburb, or halfway across the country, for the sake of safety, common sense dictates that you should probably hire professional movers to handle this type of operation – or at least a few extra sets of hands.

Alas, common sense does not always prevail in all, and sometimes, people simply act out of convenience, disregarding the myriad of disastrous results that can take place from heavy handling.

For a case in point, look no further than the Adelaide woman, who last month, was filmed standing in the tray of a moving ute clinging onto an unrestrained refrigerator.

South Australia Police were quick to investigate the situation following the footage revealing the ute travelling through various intersections and over speed bumps as the woman grips tightly and bounces around in the back of the ute.

In South Australia, as it is in NSW, it is an offence to carry an unrestrained load in your vehicle.


Video of Fridge Lady Shared to Instagram Alongside Caption: “The Perfect Girlfriend Doesn’t Exis…”

If the act of endeavouring to hold secure an oversized kitchen appliance in the back of a travelling ute wasn’t dangerous enough, the video of the incident which was shared to social media was given the caption “The perfect girlfriend doesn’t exis…”

The footage is believed to have been captured in the Hyde Park area of Adelaide city on Mitchell Street, attracting more than 13,000 likes on Instagram for the woman pulling off the dangerous act.

In the video, the fridge can be seen unrestrained.

As expected, social media users were quick to egg on the precarious act.

“Put a ring on it,” commented one user.

“That’s one cool chick,” another wrote on the post of the video.

“This looks safe and what a great way to save money,” jested another person on the platform.


“Stupid and Dangerous”: Fridge Lady Ultimately Slammed on Social Media

Nevertheless, the woman’s actions were ultimately slammed as many shared the sentiment that the occurrence was risky business.

“She’s a moron and whoever’s driving is a complete d**k,” one person wrote, critical of the woman’s actions.

“$5 for a suitable rope from Bunnings… Your partner with a cracked skull and brain damage from the fridge toppling over a crushing her head, priceless,” another person commented.

Meanwhile, other social media users probed the chivalry of the driver.

“Why wasn’t she driving and a bloke holding the fridge?” one woman interrogated.

South Australia Police confirmed it is an offence in the state to drive or tow a vehicle carrying an unsecured load, the penalties of which include a fine of $435 and the loss of three demerit points for the driver.


What You Need to Know About Carrying a Load on your Vehicle in NSW

Like it or not, in NSW, the law clearly states that if you are going to carry a load on your vehicle, it must be properly secured to the vehicle in a manner that does not make the vehicle unstable or unsafe.

In other words, it must be secured so that it is unlikely to drop or dislocate from your vehicle, and it must also be restrained using suitable equipment.

In case you’re wondering why restraining your load correctly is so important, the NRMA warns that unsecured loads such as household goods and materials for building pose as serious risks to other road users and the public in general because they can become flying missiles with the capacity to kill.

Unsecured loads, and in particular those overhanging from your vehicle, have the ability to loosen in motion. In the case then that your vehicle comes to a sudden halt, these objects can propel into the air and cause critical injuries to those around.

Moreover, this also leaves other drivers on the road forced to suddenly deviate in order to avoid the falling items.

This can cause them loss of control of their vehicle, leading to accidents and even damage to vehicles.

Ultimately, your load on your vehicle must be positioned appropriately using the right restraint measures, while before and after your trip you should monitor your load.

The Penalties for Driving with an Unsecured Load in NSW

In NSW, it is an offence to drive your vehicle with an unsecured or overhanging load, which incurs an on-the-spot fine of $457 as well as 3 demerit points prescribed by rule 292 Road Rules 2014 (NSW).

A driver is not to drive or tow a vehicle if it’s carrying a load that’s not properly secured to the vehicle, or if it’s placed on the vehicle in a way that causes the vehicle to be unstable, or projects from the vehicle in a way that’s likely to injure a person, obstruct the path of other motorists or pedestrians, or damage a vehicle or anything else, including a road surface.

If you receive an on-the-spot fine for this and pay it, it will put an end to the case but you will end up with the 3 demerit points.

If you wish to dispute the allegation or you wish to plead guilty but avoid incurring the 3 demerit points, then instead of paying the fine, you may court elect the penalty notice which will then result in you being required to attend court and either plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’.

If you’re found ‘not guilty’ by the Magistrate (after pleading ‘not guilty’ in court), the charge will be dismissed and you won’t end up incurring the 3 demerit points or fine.

If you plead ‘guilty’ and get a section 10 or conditional release order non-conviction sentence as a result, you will also avoid the demerit points and fine, ultimately putting an end to the case.

However, by court electing you expose yourself to the Magistrate’s discretion at facing a maximum penalty of up to $2,200 fine (which is rarely ever imposed).

Click here for a guide on representing yourself in court.

Our traffic lawyers in Parramatta and Sydney specialise in traffic law, offering a free consultation with fixed fees for most traffic cases. Call us 24/7 to arrange an appointment today.

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