Are you in VIC? If not, please change below.

In your state, you are required to confirm you wish to access this information. Please enter 'QLD' or 'WA' in the field below to continue.

No thanks

Sorting fact from fiction: Road safety facts and myths

Fact or fiction street signs | Shine Lawyers

When it comes to road rules in Australia, misinformation is all around us. The laws vary across the states and it can be difficult to keep track of new and amended rules. We’re here to set things straight and have busted some common myths surrounding the rules on our roads.

Myth – Eating food after drinking will lower your blood alcohol levels

Many people wrongly believe having something to eat after drinking will lower your blood alcohol levels (BAC) and help you sober up. Eating before you start to drink will slow the rate of the alcohol reaching the bloodstream, but not after. The only thing that will lower your blood alcohol level is time.

Many other factors impact your blood alcohol level, apart from having an empty stomach:

  • Body size and fat percentage
  • Gender
  • Tolerance, and
  • The alcohol percentage of beverages.

Click here for our guide on what to do if you spot a drunk driver on the road. 

Fact – Eating while driving could lead to a fine

Distracted drivers are a major cause of motor vehicle accidents in Australia. While mobile phones are the main culprit, other tasks such as eating are just as dangerous. According to a study by Griffith Health Institute researchers, both eating and texting have the same affect on a driver’s concentration levels.

There’s no law specifically stating that drivers aren’t allowed to consume food while driving. However, the laws on driver distraction could cover snacking behind the wheel if it interferes with a driver’s control of the car.

In fact, a man in Brisbane was fined $250 for eating hot cakes with a knife and fork. He had no hands on the wheel and was charged with failing to have proper control of his motor vehicle.


Myth – You can’t get a fine for drink driving on a bike, scooter or skateboard

When riding a bicycle, scooter or skateboard on a government-maintained road, you must obey the general road rules. It’s just like driving a motor vehicle.

While the penalty is more for those who decide to get behind the wheel while over the limit, there are consequences for those that are riding, scooting or skating when intoxicated. Alcohol affects your vision, reaction time, concentration and alertness. So remember – you’re putting yourself and others around you in danger when intoxicated, regardless of the mode of transport.

Don’t risk it. Catch a taxi, jump on a bus or organise a lift with a designated driver.

Fact – Wearing a seatbelt can protect you in a low speed accident

Many people believe if they’re just popping around the corner or driving a short distance, they don’t need to worry about a seatbelt. However, according to the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety, even at low speeds (less than 60 km/h) not wearing a seatbelt can result in serious consequences.

In a motor vehicle accident, a correctly secured seat belt can:

  • Reduce the risk of being thrown from the vehicle
  • Prevent colliding with other people and interior parts of the vehicle
  • Spread the force across the occupant’s upper body, and
  • Slow the speed of the occupant.

Shine Lawyers – Get in touch

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, help is available. Get in touch with Shine Lawyers’ expert motor vehicle accident lawyers to begin your claim for compensation.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: December 22, 2017.

Join the discussion

Share this article:

  • Paul tomlinson wrote:

    Are cyclists required to give hand signals? or keep both hands on handlebars at all times.paul tomlinson

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Hi Paul, good question! It differs from state to state so I would recommend the rules in your state.

    Catastrophic Road Injuries

    The families of road accident victims often struggle with unimaginable pain even if their loved ones survive. Laura Hadfield is a solicitor working in the major claims team of Shine Lawyers. On many occasions, she’s heard the families of road accident victims make statements like “every day we grieve the loss of our loved one, […]

    Read more

    Cyclists to benefit from new TAC changes

    All cyclists in Victoria who are injured in accidents involving stationary vehicles will now be able to access compensation. Under new legislation introduced by the Andrews Labor government, cyclists will be able to access Transport Accident Commission (TAC) benefits if they are injured at any time by a moving vehicle, a stationary vehicle or a […]

    Read more

    Road Safety and Speed Cameras: Should an Alternative be Utilised?

    Speeding is the biggest killer on our roads, according to the NSW Centre for Road Safety, accounting for around 40% of road deaths. But are speed cameras the best way to deal with the problem or should we be looking at alternative options? has stated that in financial year 2017, speed cameras in Australia […]

    Read more

    Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Pedestrian

    Pedestrians make up the largest group of road users, simply because we are all pedestrians at some point – whether walking for fitness or leisure, going to work, heading to school or the local shops or walking to access public transport. [1] According to the most recent Road trauma Australia statistical summary, there were 1,768 […]

    Read more