Australian road rules undergo changes

NEW LAWS: The state government has introduced several new driving laws, including two related to EV parking and charging. Picture: file

A NEW series of road rules are set to be implemented this week, which includes updates to electric vehicle parking regulations and child restraint laws.

Restrictions on the sale and use of certain non-standard child restraints have been removed by the state government in hopes of making it easier for parents and carers of children with a medical condition or disability to source specially designed restraints.

Parents and carers will no longer be required to have their vehicle and the associated child restraint inspected, but will still need to carry a certificate from a medical practitioner when driving.

This came after a long history of advocacy from groups such as Mobility and Accessibility for Children in Australia Ltd (MACA)

In addition to these changes, two new parking fines have been introduced in relation to electric vehicle parking.

They include the prohibition of non-electric cars from parking in designated electric vehicle parking areas and parking in a charging bay which the vehicle is not using for charging.

The first offence will incur a $75 on-the-spot fine, while the second will result in a fine of $111.

These changes to the law have been introduced as a result of the growing number of electric vehicles (EV) in the country.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tom Koutsantonis said the changes would help to implement more road safety and accessibility across the state.

Mr Koutsantonis said the changes to child restraint regulations would also help to “remove the barriers” for accessing non standard restraints.

“We have removed the ban on the sale of non-standard child restraints, streamlining the process for parents and carers to obtain appropriate, safe and tailored restraints for children with a medical condition or disability,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“This removes the barriers to accessing non-standard restraints and empowers parents and carers to prioritise safety without unnecessary hurdles.

“We’re also embracing the increasing numbers of electric vehicles on our roads by ensuring smooth integration and access to charging infrastructure.

“These broader amendments introduce practical changes that align with the state government’s vision for safer roads and better support for families across the state.”

Royal Automobile Association (RAA) Charge Program director Andrew Howard said the new rule for electric vehicle stations would help to alleviate confusion for drivers.

“The majority of drivers now understand the importance of EV charging bays and do the right thing,” Mr Howard said.

“We do see instances where a car is parked in an EV charging bay and is not plugged in and charging – and as a result, these bays appear to be available on charging apps.

“You can imagine for a person who has driven to a car park under the assumption that there is a free charger there, finding a car parked in the bay and not charging is frustrating and an inconvenience.

“We hope a uniform approach will help educate all drivers and act as a reminder to practice good parking etiquette, and that applies to EV drivers too.”

Further changes include revisions to some rules relating to U-turns and giving way to cyclists and pedestrians.

It is also now illegal to interrupt or interfere with funeral processions.