Tough penalties apply to those who don't comply with the road rules and all drivers are encouraged to keep within the law when driving - not to avoid a fine or loss of demerit points, but to ensure safety and avoid needless death and injury on the roads.
The Road Safety (General) Regulations 2009 covers a range of offences including speeding, drink driving, using mobile phones while driving and anti-hoon legislation.
Attitudes towards drink driving have changed over the years. The vast majority of people regard drink driving as socially unacceptable and a major cause of road trauma. However, there are some who continue to ignore the warnings and about 25% of drivers killed in road crashes each year have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of over 0.05.
To help combat the issue of drink-driving, on-the-spot loss of licence occurs for:
- Repeat offenders
- First offenders with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.15 or more, and
- Probationary or learner drivers with a BAC of 0.07 or more.
See the VicRoads website for a more detailed look at drink driving penalties and loss of demerit points.
Drug driving has become a greater focus of road safety campaigns as it has been found to be a major contributor to road fatalities in Victoria. Police regularly conduct random roadside screening tests and there are strong penalties for driving under the influence of drugs.
While illegal drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy and ice are an obvious target, prescription drugs are increasingly part of the drug driving problem - as many drivers use them inappropriately, particularly when combined with alcohol.
Drug driving is a serious offence and strict penalties apply. For more information see the VicRoads drug driving page.
Using a mobile phone while driving
Distractions are a major contributing cause to road accidents and because of this it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. This also applies when the vehicle is stationary, such as stopped at traffic lights, but not when you are parked.
This means it is illegal to:
- play games
- take photos
- use any function of the phone while driving
Research indicates that using a mobile phone increases the driver's risk of crash by four times. For more information see VicRoads mobile phone penalties page.
Demerit points and penalties
Under the Victorian Road Safety Act and Road Rules, penalties and loss of demerit points apply for breaches of the road rules. Most offences incur an on-the-spot fine, however some can result in immediate loss of licence.
- Fully licensed driver – no more than 12 demerit points in any consecutive three year period.
- Probationary drivers and learners – no more than five demerit points in any 12 month period or 12 in any three years.
If you reach these thresholds you can be suspended for a minimum of three months.
For more information see the VicRoads demerit points information page.