AAP FactCheck examined a Facebook post from June 28, 2019 shared by an Australian user on the Capricorn Coast Gardening Buy, Trade, Sell group. The post purports to list a range of new Queensland driving offences and the penalties that apply in each case. It features an image of a Victoria Police officer handing a driver’s licence to another Victoria Police officer inside a vehicle.
The post’s caption reads: “New Road rules in QLD” – serious – be careful out there… / They kept these quiet, didn’t they???… / NEW Qld Road Rules as of now!!!… / $256 + 0 points Driving with person or animal on lap / $44 + 0 points Reversing for longer than necessary / $256 + 1 point Following another vehicle too closely / $256 + 0 points Driving without a clear view in all directions / $66 + 2 points Driving in right-hand lane of a multi-lane road with an 80km/h or higher limit / $44 + 0 points Entering an intersection when the road beyond is blocked / $44 + 0 points Parking/stopping within 10m of an intersection without a traffic light / $88 + 0 points Making a U-turn at an intersection controlled by lights / $198 + 3 points Making a U-turn across a single or double continuous line / $352 + 2 points Playing loud music / $66 + 0 points Tooting the horn / $330 + 3 points Using mobile phone including use by cyclists / $44 + 0 points Leaving vehicle without handbrake left on / Having Sat Nav in an impeding position – supposed to be in bottom right hand in front of driver (My understanding is that must not be in the area where the windscreen wipers Sweep) / Failing to have a hand on the steering wheel while stopped at lights”.
Capricorn Coast Gardening Buy, Trade, Sell is a public Facebook group which describes itself as “a place for Central Coast Qld to trade their fresh produce and anything gardening related”.
The post had been shared more than 4600 times and attracted more than 900 reactions.
AAP FactCheck examined each road rule mentioned in the post and found that all the rules do exist under current legislation. However AAP FactCheck has also confirmed that the rules have been in place for more than 10 years: having entered into force in Queensland’s Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2009.
A spokesperson for the TMR confirmed to AAP FactCheck that “all of the offences are currently listed under the Queensland Road Rules and have been covered by various transport regulations for some time”.
While the offences listed were correct, the monetary penalties shown for each offence are inaccurate, with the TMR confirming they don’t reflect current rates. “They are not new offences. Only the current penalties are out of date,” the spokesperson said. “This Facebook content has been posted regularly over recent years.”
There are also inaccuracies in some of the claimed offences. For example, while the post claims a “Sat Nav” or satellite navigation unit is supposed to be in the bottom right hand corner of a windscreen, the Queensland legislation makes no mention of a specific area where such devices must be placed.
The actual rule states: “A driver must not drive a motor vehicle unless the driver has a clear view of the road, and traffic, ahead, behind and to each side of the driver”.
The Facebook post also claims drivers “making a U-turn at an intersection controlled by lights” would incur and $88 fine but no demerit points. Queensland rules actually impose a two demerit point penalty.
In another claim, the post says “playing loud music” will incur a $352 fine and lose two demerit points. However AAP FactCheck confirmed that Queensland road rules do not have a specified offence of “playing loud music”.
The regulation states: “A person must not start a vehicle, or drive a vehicle, in a way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke; or wilfully start a vehicle, or drive a vehicle, in a way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke”.
The TMR spokesperson said the actual offence “covers more than just playing loud music while starting or driving a vehicle”. “It includes making unnecessary noise or smoke by the way the vehicle is started or driven,” the spokesperson said.
Yet another misleading claim is that road rules cover a driver “failing to have a hand” on the steering wheel while stopped at traffic lights. Once again, the legislation makes no mention of such a requirement.
“Regarding the rule about hands on the steering wheel, a driver has to have proper control of the vehicle,” the spokesperson told AAP FactCheck. “Whether a single hand on the steering wheel would constitute an offence is a matter for the Queensland Police Service to determine, who enforces the road rules.”
Based on the evidence, AAP FactCheck found the post to be false. The Queensland road rules mentioned in the post are not new and have been in effect since 2009. The fines listed for each offence are also inaccurate, and there were inaccuracies in how some offences were described in the post.
False – The Facebook post is false.
First published September 5 13:43 AEST