Detailed explanations of the Australian Road Rules changes coming into effect this week

Changes to laws involving u-turns, cyclists, roundabouts, bus only lanes, electric vehicles, seatbelts, use of electronic devices in parked cars, funeral processions, and child restraints are coming into effect.

The South Australian government has announced a slew of changes to the Australian Road Rules that will take effect in the State this week. The modifications encompass updates to electric vehicle parking regulations, child restraint laws, and other road safety measures.

Here’s what the new road rules are, and what the rules means.

Giving way to those doing a U-turn (rules 38, 74)

This change will resolve a contradiction where drivers entering a road and those making a U-turn on the road were required to give way to each other. Drivers on the road will have the priority. Drivers entering from the road from a road-related area or from adjacent land must give way to those doing a U-turn on the road.

Prohibiting U-turns on crossings (rules 43 and 43A)

U-turns will be prohibited at a range of crossings including:

  • children’s crossings
  • level crossings
  • marked foot crossings
  • pedestrian crossings and
  • where roads and road-related areas intersect, such as
    carpark exits.

This change addresses the confusion and safety risk, where only some pedestrian crossings and intersections display ‘no U-turn’ signs.

Giving way to pedestrians and cyclists (rules 62-74)

The ARR will now adopt a current South Australian give way provision to enhance road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Drivers will continue to be required to give way to pedestrians and cyclists who are crossing the road the driver is entering. Drivers must also continue to give way to pedestrians and cyclists who are on o entering a pedestrian crossing or sliplane.

Cyclists can claim the lane in a roundabout (rules 111, 129)

This rule allows cyclists to ‘claim the lane’ when approaching and riding in a single lane roundabout.
This means they will be exempt from the requirement to ride as near as practicable to the far left side of the road in such situations.

Bus only lane provisions (rules 28, 32, 154A, 187, 280)

The ARR will adopt South Australia’s use of bus only lanes, which are painted in red and prioritise buses. These are often combined with ‘B-lights’ at intersections. There are exemptions for drivers to use these lanes where necessary to avoid an obstruction and to drive across them to enter or leave a road.

Electric vehicle parking and charging areas (rules 203B, 203C respectively)

There are two new parking offences relating to electric vehicles

(EV) parking and charging: The first prohibits parking in a designated EV parking area.

The second prohibits parking in an EV charging area, when the vehicle is not being charged. South Australia will rely on signage approved by Standards Australia, which is not yet included in the Australian Road Rules but found in the local law.

Examples of properly adjusted and fastened seatbelts (rules 264, 265)

For the first time the rules will contain some examples of what constitutes a properly adjusted and fastened seatbelt. This will apply to both drivers and passengers. The driver example is: A lap and sash seatbelt is properly adjusted and fastened for a driver if—

(a) the seatbelt is secured in the buckle with the lap portion of the belt sitting low and firmly over the driver’s hips; and

(b) the sash portion of the belt is positioned firmly over the driver’s shoulder and not under the driver’s arm furthest from the secured buckle or behind the driver’s back.

A lap belt is properly adjusted and fastened for a driver if the seatbelt is secured in the buckle with the belt sitting low and firmly over the driver’s hips.

Parked vehicles and use of electronic devices (rules 299, 300)

This change will clarify the exemption for using electronic devices in parked vehicles. A vehicle may be parked even if the engine is running, or a key is in the ignition lock.

Funeral processions (rule 300A)

Interrupting or interfering with the free passage of a funeral procession is prohibited.

Removal of prohibition of selling non-standard child restraints (Regulation 50(5) Road Traffic (Miscellaneous) Regulations 2014 Regulation 50(5) of the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous)

Regulations 2014 will be deleted on 30 March 2014. This change will allow parents and carers of children with a medical condition or disability to source restraints specifically designed for children with disabilities, such as the Carrot range. Parents and carers will not be required to have the vehicle and child restraint inspected, but they will still need to carry a certificate from a medical practitioner when driving to allow their child to use a particular restraint under ARR 266(2C) and ARR 267(3A).

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