The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released the latest package of proposed amendments to the Australian Road Rules for public consultation today.
The NTC is responsible for regularly reviewing the rules in consultation with stakeholders to determine if amendments to existing rules or the introduction of new rules are required.
“The proposed changes, in many instances, reflect and legally recognise current community and driver behaviour by clarifying existing rules.”
The proposed amendments are detailed in the Australian Road Rules 10th Amendment Package Explanation of Amendments document, available from the NTC website. Some examples of the proposed changes include:
Expanding the definition of a level crossing to include all of the area marked by yellow cross-hatching, in order to bring the rule in line with community understanding and increase road and rail safety
- Enabling drivers to use driver’s aid functions (such as navigational applications) on a mobile phone if the driver does not touch the phone while driving and if the phone is secured in an approved fixed mounting
- Amending the definition of a bicycle to include electric bicycles known as pedalecs in order to be consistent with the Australian Design Rules.
The changes are based on advice from the Australian Road Rules Maintenance Group which includes representatives from road agencies and police from each of the state and territories across Australia, as well as a Commonwealth representative.
“Feedback received during the public consultation period will inform the amendment package that will be presented to the ministers from the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI) for approval later in 2013,” said Mr Retter.
“It is important to note that, as with all of the Rules Amendment Packages, the amendments in the 10th package will only take effect once they are approved by SCOTI and are adopted into the law of each state and territory.”
The NTC is also undertaking a separate review of the Australian Road Rules and Australian Vehicle Standards Rules to explore ways to improve the way both sets of rules are developed and implemented. An evaluation report has been released for public comment and is also available from the NTC website.
The Australian Road Rules were introduced in 1999 and contain the basic rules of the road for motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, passengers and other road users.
The Rules form the basis of the road rules in each state and territory. As ‘model laws’, however, they have no legislative force of their own.