CHOICE membership

Road Rules


Those of us who live in the less-fascist states/territories are probably glad they don’t.

My belief is the reason comes down to each one knowing better or ‘not invented here’ …


I forget which of our members posted it although credit is due. He was in some inter-state negotiations some years ago and to paraphrase his comment,

‘When you have 6* states reps in the room, and each has it perfect already, it is hard to get any one of them to agree to anything lesser.’

* + those from ACT and NT


… and JBT - though I imagine JBT was represented by the ACT rep for obvious reasons …


Just another in a long list of quite unnecessary anomalies between States.

Somebody remind me again why we have them? Ah yes a series of historical accidents in the 19th century culminating in federation.

Somebody remind me why in more than a century we have done nothing about this absurdity? … crickets.


Ah, the sounds of summer! What message do they carry? :thinking::thinking:

You may have unintentionally stumbled on the solution there?

The states and commonwealth and territories rarely agree on anything.
They can’t even agree on which code of football to follow.

Cricket is as close as we get to a universal anything? It includes even a PMs 11 to be sure Canberra gets a look in. Sorry, that still leaves the NT, but it is still sort of subject to Canberra’s will constitutionality? :roll_eyes:

The simple resolution is that the country could be run to universal acclaim by Cricket Australia. A well connected organisation of perfect values and useful connections. It even has experience with all those international relationships to call on. For everything else “it’s just not cricket” is the answer. :wink:


A person whose name I can’t remember once said . " Australia before federation was 6 cities looking for a country …still looking ":grinning:


The US is the same with 50 states each having their unique laws for road rules and licensing for many things. eg if you are a dentist registered in Pennsylvania and wish to relocate to another state, it is probable you will have to do licensing tests just like a new graduate. All of that after 2+ centuries and counting. It seems to come with politics and ‘leadership’ aspirations. If there were no problems created and nurtured why would we ever elect anyone else? ‘It is all the oppositions fault!’ with some truth, because when they eventually achieve government nothing is done to right absurdities anyway.


And of course there are a few hundred politicians on all sides of the State houses who want to keep their job or get a job. When did anybody ever vote to abolish themselves?

You can see how we are locked solidly into the status quo. Change will never come from within. If it ever comes from outside, ie the Commonwealth, then the incumbents rebel and pull on the strings of “States’ rights” whatever that means. There are plenty of places where the feds are hated more than the capital city. WA has resurgences of secessionism whenever they are feeling hardly done by.


Why are there so many differences in the road rules between the States and Territiries? I ask myself this quite often!
I have driven through many other countries, including NINE European countries, which have only one thing in common, the belong to the EU! The nine countries speak very different languages (I only had high school French and a smattering of German - Czech, Slovak, Polish & Hungarian were a toal unknown) and for a while various numbers of these countries hated each other so much they killed each other in the millions. And yet, I had less trouble keeping up with the varying road rules than I do in Australia.
While there is lots of inter-State/Territory rivalry, it has not deteriorated into all out war! But there remains irreconcilable differences in State Road rules!!!

I suggest that someone (like a Federal Government?) sit all the road ministers down with a list of road rules that are wildly different, eg School Zones, and the constituency with the most different rules must statistically and factually prove their rule is right. If they are NOT right they have determine which IS the safest most effective rule and all constituencies must follow that rule.

Yep, I know I am writing fiction, it would not happen there is far too much parochialism in Australia to allow consistency of regulations in any sphere!!


I forget which of our contributors posted it a while back, but he was a participant in a multi-state issue. His conclusion was telling, to paraphrase

'When you get the responsible people representing their states/territories in a room and each already has it perfect, it is hard to change much.

A great plan, but consider that each already has it perfect because of the statistics and studies they have sponsored and used for their state/territory laws. Back to my opening paraphrase.



Many of which have more to do with revenue than road safety … I’d contend in most cases it is still more difficult to get an ACMA cabling licence than a driver licence … QED :wink:


Don’t panic!

They are onto it.

“Ministers have agreed to a goal”

of having an end-to-end regulatory system in place by 2020 to support the safe, commercial deployment of automated vehicles at all levels of automation

Yes Allan, as you suggest they do meet, find common ground and agree!

The qualification ‘in each state’ is a silent understood omission?


I do too and like many other things run by the states, the states produce their own legislation and have their own policies and guidelines which is the main problem. There is not unilateral coordination of standards across states…just stages agreeing to do something. May be the coordination should be the main function of the commonwealth…to provide the framework for the states to adopt…I could see many states tabling independence if this ever eventuated.

A few weeks ago listening to Toby Hagon on ABC nightlife, I discovered that in some states (can’t recall which ones but can confirm it isn’t in my home state of Queensland) now have rules where a driver must slow down to a nominal speed when passing an emergency services vehicle. This is the first I had heard. Ignoring the ‘merits’ of such a road rule, how is travelling interstate …which is every easy to do and often done by many…supposed to know these intricate road rules implemented by other states…especially when one’s licence is based on the road rules in the state where the licence is issued.

When legally ‘ignorance is not a defence’, it sets up interstate traveller for fines and penalties which would not have occurred if they were driving under the same circumstances in one’s home state.

Surely something can be done to standardise many of the functions so that such standards are nominated by the Commonwealth and delivered by the states.


NSW, Vic, WA, Tas (all 40 kph), SA (25 kph!), OTOH Qld has a very pragmatic and reasonable rule. and it looks like NT is similar.

Always an optimist!


Without changing the discussion too far, the complexity of the issues relating to most legislative outcomes are best illustrated in the heading of this and similar news reports.

Extradition is something we typically associate with international boarders. And importantly when you cross one, it requires this onerous legal process to bringing you back to the place of the offence. Equally once you cross a border the laws of the new nation you are in apply unreservedly.

It would seem more likely that PNG and NZ could become the next two states in the Commonwealth than the existing ones relinquish their status to the commonwealth.

The road to Australia’s Federation was a long and uncertain one. It was encouraged by the mother (British Parliament), and shared concerns re national defence. To have common agreement on traffic laws and the road rules would seem a trivial problem in comparison. At the same time an excuse for ignoring the need and reason why it remains so.

We may be fortunate that the majority of our traffic rules and core vehicle registration requirements (ADR’s) are common.

P.s. It would also seem reasonable that as a member of the RACQ I should be able to access a resource on the members pages that has an up to date guide to the differences between the road rules in each state. NRMA and RACV etc included? I have yet to find one and have not received any response from previous enquires or suggestions made to the champion of the motorist! :roll_eyes:


Re slowing to 40 kph (or 25 in SA), the rules create hazards, and I experienced one first hand.

On the M80 moving with traffic a patrol ahead went to the shoulder to check on a breakdown. After pulling off they put on their emergency lights. I had the usual headlights in my rear view but started to judiciously slow toward 40 as required. Those headlights suddenly got Very Large and traffic whizzed by on all sides! The driver behind overtook as soon as the next lane was clear, and off he went at speed.

Two issues

  • this was on a 4 lane wide westbound section (plus wide shoulder, dual carriageway) of the M80 w/100 kph speed limit. The rule requires all 4 (all) lanes to slow to 40 kph for the safety of that emergency vehicle well off on the shoulder.
  • you can be fined for not slowing but no demerit points will apply. The infringement penalty for breaching the road rule is $272.05 with the maximum court penalty $777.30.

If the vehicle behind me ran up my boot I am sure there would have been no bad outcomes (really!?!), save for a dispute of who was in the wrong and whose insurance would pay, and the inconvenience of getting cars repaired, and assuming it did not create a bigger accident or require towing.

I am all for making it safer for emergency workers, but these laws have been made by people who seem to be divorced from reality. Vicroads states on the relevant web page describing this rule that its purpose is to educate us for better safety, implying infringement notices are discretionary.

If the patrol car put his lights on as soon as he started slowing rather than after he was off the freeway lanes it could have been less ‘interesting’.

Road rules for our safety. Maybe this genre will make us all safer someday, but until then? With discretionary enforcement? Think about it.