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Commonly Broken Queensland Road Rules

The RACQ recently released a list of the most commonly broken Queensland Road Rules. Some of these are rules that drivers may not be aware of. Some of them are rules that people know but break anyway. Being mindful of the Queensland road rules when you’re driving not only keeps the roads safe but can also save you paying a lot in fines.

This article sets out some of the least known and most commonly broken Queensland road rules. These rules are set out in the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2009.

Keeping to the left

On single-lane Queensland roads, drivers must keep as far to the left as possible. On multi-lane roads, if the speed limit is 90 or more or if a sign indicates ‘keep left unless overtaking’, drivers must not drive in the right lane unless they are:

  • Overtaking;
  • Turning right
  • Making a U-turn
  • Avoiding an obstruction;
  • Driving in congested traffic
  • Lawfully using a special purpose lane

Drivers are permitted to overtake on the left on multi-lane roads.

Penalty: $86 fine, two demerit points.

Having your number plate obscured

Queensland road rules require drivers to display two number plates and these must be legible and in good condition.

Drivers must not have their number plates obscured by dirt, damage or by carrying a bicycle rack, spare tire or tow bar that covers the number plate. If a driver needs to carry an item that obscures the number plate, they must obtain an accessory plate that clearly displays the registration number.

Passenger holding their baby

Having a child unrestrained in a car that you are driving is an offence. This is the case even if you have an adult passenger who is holding their baby while you are driving. As the driver, it is your responsibility to ensure any child in the car is traveling safely and legally. Having a child unrestrained attracts a fine of up to $500 and two demerit points. If you are caught twice with a child unrestrained in your car within a 12-month period, the demerit points are doubled.

10% over the speed limit

There is an old myth that drivers do not get fined for travelling over the speed limit if they are within 10% of the speed limit. This is false. Under Queensland road rules, drivers can receive fines for being over the speed limit even if they are over by only a few k’s.

Using your phone while driving

Using a phone in your hand while driving is illegal. This is the case even when you are stopped at lights or stuck in a traffic jam. To use a phone legally while driving, the phone must be fixed to the car and able to be operated without touching the phone.

Under Queensland road rules, learners and P1 provision drivers are not allowed to use a phone even with a ‘hands-free’ handset or loudspeaker function.

Penalty: 20 penalty units

Failing to use headlights

Driving at night or in reduced visibility without your headlights on is an offence under Queensland road rules.

Penalty: $130 fine, one demerit point

Sleeping in your car while drunk

It is illegal to be in charge of a car whilst intoxicated in Queensland. If you are sleeping in your car after drinking, you may have to prove that you were not ‘in charge’ of the car. Just by being in the car while affected by alcohol or drugs, you risk being charged with an offence.

Failing to stop for a stop sign

A stop sign means that drivers must bring their vehicles to a complete stop behind the line, before taking off again.

Penalty $391 fine and three demerit points

Following another vehicle too closely

It is an offence under Queensland road rules to follow too closely behind the vehicle in front.

Penalty: $304 fine and one demerit point.

If you require legal advice or representation in a traffic matter or in any other legal matter,  please contact Go To Court Lawyers. 


Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection, domestic violence and family law in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

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