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Road Safety Facts & Myths

Misinformation is all around us when it comes to road rules in Australia. This could be due to many factors such as varying laws across the states, people unaware of changes in the law or word of mouth. Shine Lawyers has busted some of the most comment facts and myths for drivers.

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

A common myth amongst Australians is that having something to eat after drinking will lower your blood alcohol levels (BAC) and help you sober up. People have become confused as eating before starting to drink alcohol 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.

There are many other factors that can impact someone’s blood alcohol levels, apart from having an empty stomach;

  • Body size and fat percentage
  • Gender
  • Tolerance
  • Alcohol percentage of beverages

Fact – Eating while driving could lead to a fine!

Distracted drivers are a major cause of motor vehicle accidents in Australia. While mobile phones contribute to a lot of that distraction, other tasks, such as eating have been found to be just as dangerous, according to a study by Griffith Health Institute researchers. The researchers found that during the trials both eating and texting reduced the driver’s performance behind the wheel at the same level.

There is no is law that specifically states that drivers are not allowed to consumer food while driving a motor vehicle, although the laws on driver distraction could cover those this if it interferes with a driver’s control of the vehicle.

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

Myth – Riding a push bike, scooter or skateboard while intoxicated means you can avoid a drink driving penalty.

When riding a bicycle, scooter or skateboard on a government maintained road you must obey the general road rules that apply as if you were driving a motor vehicle.

While the penalty is more for those people that decide to get behind the wheel of a car while over the limit, there are consequences for those that are riding, scooting or skating home when intoxicated. The penalty differs from state to state, so instead catch a taxi, public transport or organise a lift with a designated driver.

It is important to remember that you are still putting yourself and others around you in danger when intoxicated, regardless of the mode of transport as alcohol effects;

  • Vision
  • Reaction time
  • Concentration
  • Alertness

Fact – Wearing a seat belt can protect you in a low speed accident.

According to the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety, even at low speeds, less than 60 km/h, not wearing a seat belt can result in serious consequences. Many people get in the mindset that if they are just going around the corner or driving a short distance they don’t need to worry about their seatbelt. A seatbelt is the most basic safety feature in a car and should be worn for every journey.

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

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

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: August 18, 2017.

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  • 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.

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