Double demerits, 40kmh zones and more: road rules to remember this long weekend

IT’S the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, which means two things are for sure: there will be lots of people on the roads, and the police will be out in force.

With that in mind, here are a few quick answers to some of the common questions you might have this long weekend.

Always drive safely and be respectful of other road users.

Have a happy and safe break!

What are police targeting this weekend?

Victoria Police will patrol major arterials, tourist areas, main roads and back roads, targeting key risks – speed, fatigue, distraction, and drink- and drug-driving.

Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer asked motorists to be aware of changing environmental conditions, to be patient, drive to the road conditions and plan ahead.

“Country deaths are over represented in the lives lost on our roads and with five out of the six deaths over the Labour Day long weekend on country roads it’s sadly a sobering reality,” he said.

Operation Regal starts on Friday and ends Monday.

Do we have double demerit points on long weekends?

Not in Victoria, no – but be wary if you’re crossing the border.

NSW and ACT have double demerit points in place from Friday, June 8 to Monday, June 11 inclusive.

Double demerit points apply for speeding, illegal use of mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt, and riding without a helmet.

While Victoria has never had double demerit points, this is not the case everywhere.

In Queensland, people who repeatedly commit specific offences will receive double demerit points for the second or subsequent offence if the later offence was committed within a year of an earlier offence. 

Western Australia also has double demerit points in place during holiday periods and long weekends.

What was that rule about doing 40 kilometres an hour past police?

In July last year, a new road rule was introduced to improve safety for emergency and enforcement workers.

This means you need to slow down when you pass a stationary or slow-moving emergency or enforcement vehicle with flashing red, blue or magenta lights, or sounding an alarm.

You must slow down to a speed that would allow you to stop safely if necessary.

Do not exceed 40km/h when you pass the vehicle, and do not speed up until you’re safe distance away.

For more information on when and where to slow down, see our full Q&A here.

Finally, what are Victoria’s new penalties for drink-driving?

New drink driving laws came into effect on April 30 that included harsher punishments for drivers who blow over the limit.

The new laws mean drivers who blow between 0.05 and 0.069 will have their licence taken away for at least three months.

When their licence is returned, offending drivers will also be forced to have an interlock device fitted to their vehicle for six months.

According to the Transport Accident Commission, drivers’ skills start to be affected and their ability impaired when the blood-alcohol level reaches 0.02.

The new laws will also see harsher punishments for drug-induced drivers.

People caught behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs will have to complete a behavioural program.

First-time drug drivers will also lose their licence for six months – an increase from three months – with repeat offenders forced off the road for a year. Find out more here.

Want to know more before jumping behind the wheel? See our Road Rules Refresher videos here.