The Australian traffic laws contain the basic rules of the road. The motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, passengers and others commuting on the road are required to follow these laws in order to maintain safety. The Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI) has approved these laws and they are frequently reviewed and updated as per the maintenance process.

In New South Wales (NSW) Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 (NSW Consolidated Act) (the Act) confers the rules to be followed and penalties prescribed therein in order to improve safety and efficiency of traffic on roads and related areas.

Road Rules

For Pedestrians

The Act has prescribed certain rules created for the safety of the commuters on foot. They are as follows:

While approaching a railway crossing if a red pedestrian light is shown, the pedestrian must not cross;

Ff the red pedestrian light appears only after the pedestrian has started crossing the track, then he/she must finish crossing without delay;

If warning bells have also begun to ring and the pedestrian has already started crossing the railway line or tram track, he/she must finish crossing without delay; and

While crossing at traffic lights (without pedestrian lights), the pedestrian must cross the road when the traffic lights change to yellow or red.

Roundabout Rules

The roundabout sign means to slow down, be ready to give way and if necessary even stop to avoid a collision. When you are approaching a roundabout, you must get into the correct lane, indicate your turning, and give way to the traffic already on the roundabout. This can avoid traffic congestion.

Use of Mobile Phones

While driving, the driver is permitted to make or receive calls, only if the mobile:

Is secured in a cradle fixed to the vehicle, or

Can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone.

Functions including video calls, internet, texting, games and emailing through phone are prohibited while driving a car. It is important to remember that learners and P1 drivers are not allowed to use any function of a phone while driving.


The Act also prescribes heavy penalties, if a driver does not obey the traffic rules and regulations. Such penalties include fines and on-the-spot licence suspensions. Apart from the basic fines and penalties, there are few more severe penalties prescribed by the Act for breaking the traffic laws. It includes:

For Drivers

While driving, the drivers are supposed to follow certain rules for the safety of the pedestrians as well as for themselves. They are as follows:

While turning into a road at an intersection, a driver must give way to any pedestrian crossing that particular road at that point of time;

Drivers approaching an intersection without traffic lights should stop on a pedestrian crossing immediately before the intersection;

Drivers are required to drive in particular lanes and are permitted to move out of it only during a U-turn;

Bikers are not permitted to carry animals on their motorcycles; and

A driver of a long vehicle, while driving behind another long vehicle, must at least keep a distance of 60m distance.

Loading Zones

Loading zones are marked areas where the vehicles principally designed and constructed for carrying goods unload or reload themselves in the course of business. It is also used for dropping off or picking up passengers. The loading zone areas may be in force for 24 hours a day or for some specific hours.

Speeding penalties;

Demerit points scheme;

Seat belt penalties; or

Motorcycle penalties.

This article is aimed to provide a brief summary of traffic laws. If you have any queries related to traffic laws feel free to contact our team of experts at Owen Hodge Lawyers.

How can we help?

Fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch with you to discuss how we can help