Common Traffic Offences and Penalties Under South Australian Law
Common Traffic Offences and Penalties
Some road users may be surprised to learn that their bad habit or occasional mistake on the road is actually an offence with a substantial penalty – particularly since penalties increased on 1 July 2020. See below for an outline of 10 types of common traffic offences and their penalties under South Australian law.
Speeding and Hoon Driving
All road users will know that it is an offence to exceed the prescribed speed limit. The penalty imposed for speeding will depend on how many kilometres per hour the driver exceeded the speed limit by and the type of vehicle they were driving. For drivers of cars, the penalties for speeding are as follows:
|Less than 10 km/hr||$180.00 and 2 demerit points|
|10–19km/hr||$406.00 and 3 demerit points|
|20–29km/hr||$825.00 and 5 demerit points|
|30–44 km/hr||$1,500.00 and 7 demerit points|
|45km/hr or more||$1,690.00, 9 demerit points, automatic loss of licence for 6 months and possibly clamping or impounding of the offender’s vehicle|
In addition to speeding, there are other ‘hoon driving’ offences. Misusing a motor vehicle will result in the loss of 4 demerit points, while driving recklessly or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to the public will result in the loss of 6 demerit points. Both charges will additionally result in a fine imposed by the court, and police may clamp or impound the offender’s vehicle.
Alcohol & Drugs
It is an offence to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In South Australia, drivers can have up to a 0.049 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) without committing an offence. If a driver has more than 0.049 BAC, the driver will have committed an offence. The penalty will depend on the amount of the substance detected in the driver’s blood. For drug offences, the mere presence of the drug in the driver’s system is enough to constitute an offence and will attract a penalty. The penalties for first time offences are as follows:
|Driving with a BAC of 0.05–0.079||$757.00 fine, 4 demerit points and possibly clamping or impounding of the vehicle.|
|Driving with a BAC of 0.08–0.149||Fine of $900.00–$1,300.00, 5 demerit points, immediate 6 month loss of licence, and possibly clamping or impounding of the vehicle.|
|Driving with a BAC of 0.15+||Fine of $1,100.00–$1,600.00, 6 demerit points, immediate 12 month loss of licence, and possibly clamping or impounding of the vehicle.|
|Driving with methylamphetamine, THC or MDMA in saliva or blood||$757.00 fine, 4 demerit points and possibly clamping or impounding of the vehicle.|
|Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs||Fine of $1,100.00–$1,600.00, 6 demerit points, alcohol interlock being fitted to vehicle (for alcohol offences) and possibly clamping or impounding of the vehicle.|
Drivers should also be aware that multiple alcohol or drug-related driving charges result in increasing penalties and an alcohol interlock being fitted in their vehicle following their period of disqualification.
It is also an offence to refuse to take an alcotest, breath test, drug screening test or blood test. This will attract a fine of $1,100.00–$1,600.00 and the loss of 6 demerit points.
For persons aged 16 years or over, it is an offence to not wear a seatbelt when travelling in a motor vehicle regardless of whether you are the driver or a passenger. If you are caught without a seatbelt, you will be fined $388.00 and lose 3 demerit points.
Similarly, drivers of vehicles must ensure that a person or persons under 16 who are travelling in their vehicle are wearing their seatbelt(s) or approved child restraint(s). Failing to do this will result in either a $388.00 fine and loss of 3 demerit points (if there is one such person), or a $458.00 fine and loss of 5 demerit points (if there is more than one person).
The penalty for using a mobile phone while driving is a $544.00 fine and the loss of 3 demerit points.
Red Lights and Signs
There are various penalties for disobeying traffic lights and signs:
|Running a red light||$496.00 fine and 3 demerit points|
|Disobeying a stop or give way sign||$458.00 fine and 3 demerit points|
|Disobeying a no U-turn sign||$389.00 fine and 2 demerit points|
If a driver fails to stop and assist after being involved in a motor vehicle accident which causes injury or death, they will lose 5 demerit points and be liable for a court imposed penalty.
Giving Way, Turning and Lane Behaviour
Drivers may commit an offence by improperly performing some everyday driving behaviours. The offences and penalties are as follows:
|Failing to keep left when turning||$345.00 fine and 2 demerit points|
|Failing to indicate left before turning||$339.00 fine and 2 demerit points|
|Failing to Give Way|
|To pedestrians, at a crossing with lights||$436.00 fine and 3 demerit points|
|When entering a roundabout||$458.00 fine and 3 demerit points|
|Failing to move out of an emergency vehicle’s path||$458.00 fine and 3 demerit points|
|Failing to drive in the direction indicated by lane arrows||$389.00 fine and 3 demerit points|
|Driving in a bicycle lane||$285.00 fine|
|Failing to keep a safe distance behind another vehicle||$358.00 fine and 1 demerit point|
|Failing to keep the minimum distance behind a long vehicle||$260.00 fine and 1 demerit point|
|Failing to stop at a children’s crossing||$458.00 fine and 3 demerit points|
|Failing to stop at a level crossing||$496.00 fine and 3 demerit points|
Driving without a valid licence will attract a $507.00 fine. This penalty will be greater if the person has never held a licence, or is driving while disqualified following certain drink or drug driving offences.
Drivers may get a $260.00 fine and lose 1 demerit point for driving at night or in hazardous conditions without their lights on. The fine also applies to using fog lights when not permitted.
Other vehicles and road users
There are additional offences relating specifically to drivers of trucks and buses, to do with speeding and failing to use a low gear. These offences all attract a fine and a loss of demerit points.
Motorcyclists must wear a helmet and must only ride with one pillion passenger or they will be committing an offence. Penalties for these offences vary.
Cyclists can face penalties if they overtake a turning vehicle in certain circumstances, ride whilst holding onto a motor vehicle, ride without a helmet, ride without lights at night or in hazardous weather conditions, or proceed when bicycle crossing lights change. Penalties for these offences generally involve a fine rather than a loss of demerit points.
Pedestrians should be aware of offences relating to proper use of road crossings, use of footpaths or causing traffic hazards. Penalties for pedestrians are generally $52.00 fines.
We’re here to help!
If you have been charged with one or more of the above offences and you want to challenge or defend the charge, we can help. Johnston Withers criminal lawyers have a wealth of experience assisting clients with traffic offences. If you would like advice or representation, please contact Jasmin Boyce on (08) 8231 1110, or get in touch online.