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(VIP Driving School Driver Safety Series Article #5, March 2019)
As a driving school, we predominantly talk about what to do when behind the wheel while driving on the road. There are so many rules and need for common sense in traffic and busy areas when operating a motor vehicle that it is easy to forget about the rules when not even sitting in your car.
Yes, you read that right! There are rules to follow as a motorist even when you’re not sitting in your car.
This week came the news of a driver who was fined by police for not taking enough care when he left his vehicle unattended. While it has caused an uproar amongst the community and social media, it is very much a rule of the road and care must be taken to observe and practice the law.
The motorist had parked his car at a service station near Sydney and quickly popped in to grab a meat pie to eat. Upon returning to his vehicle he was met with police who gave him an alcohol and drugs test, checked his car and then issued him with a $112 fine for leaving his car unlocked and the windows down.
Sharing his experience on social media, people questioned if the law even existed and whether police have anything better or more important to do with their time.
The truth is that it is a real law known as Rule 213 (5) which can result in a fine. If they catch you doing this with the key also left in the ignition, expect to pay double the amount!
Although considered something very minor compared to many other illegal things a motorist could do, it is an important rule because if motorists didn’t take care to lock their cars and leave the windows up then it would encourage thieves to come to these places more often.
The other effect of more motorists not securing their vehicles is that it would increase the cost of insurance premiums since theft from motor vehicles (and possible theft of motor vehicles) will be more frequent and cost insurance companies more to cover.
So even though it seems trivial and silly to some, it’s an important thing to remember to do when you leave your vehicle. Police can and will enforce this road law and it’s up to you to do the right thing.
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