It’s happened to almost everyone who’s driven on the road in Australia: you get stuck behind someone who’s leaving below the speed limit that suddenly decides – when there is an overtaking lane – that it’s time to sit at the limit, or just above it!
- Accelerating when overtaken is dangerous
- The shape is also bad, and can increase road rage
- Most states can fine you or hit you with demerit points for this offense
It is no less frustrating, not to mention very dangerous.
The road is there to share, after all, and it’s okay for drivers not to want to speed – but speeding to avoid being overtaken is an offense in some jurisdictions across Australia, as it arguably should be.
It can be a source of undue and unnecessary frustration and lead to road rage, not to mention dangerous driving if you have to pass slow moving vehicles.
So what are the rules? And where is it a penalty foul? Here is a summary:
Victoria & NSW
In Melbourne it is a driving offense that can result in fines and demerit points. The specific rule is road rule 145, which states: “Increase speed when overtaken”, with a fine of $330 and two demerit points.
The same rules and terms are used in Sydney, but with a slightly higher penalty. “Increase speed when overtaken” can get you a $349 fine and three demerits.
Brisbane has the same rules as the other states above, but a lighter penalty: “Speeding when overtaken” can see a driver hit with two demerit points and an $86 fine.
Tasmania & ACT
Hobart has a slightly different take on it in terms of wording and penalties: “Increase speed when overtaking and before overtaking vehicle has safely returned” is an offence, and the fine is $181 – no demerit.
There is also no consideration of demerit points in Canberra, which follows the same ARR 145 “increase speed when overtaking” rule. But the Province has a hefty $307 fine for that offense.
Adelaide appears to have a similar legislative background using the framework of Section 145 of the Road Rules, including a two demerit penalty, but in the Driver’s Handbook there is no mention of that rule that we could find.
Darwin doesn’t seem to have a clue to this particular Australian Highway Code, although it could be argued that a driver who fails to allow an overtaking vehicle may be in violation of the “Improper Overtaking (general)” rule, which carries a $70 fine.
Perth also does not appear to follow the same model rules set as other Australian jurisdictions. The only word on overtaking and speed published on the state Highway Safety Commission’s documentation is: “When overtaking, make sure you have a clear view of oncoming traffic and use your indicators to signal your intentions to other drivers. You must not exceed the speed limit.”
Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant road authorities in your state or territory.