We think you are in Victoria. If not please click 'Change'

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.

eating-while-driving

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.

    Back to school road safety

    During the busy rush of getting kids ready for a new year of school with books, uniforms and bags, it’s important for parents to ensure their children are stepping into the new school year on the right, and safe, foot. A recent study has returned some alarming statistics, showing that over 70 percent of drivers […]

    Read more

    Mark Bates – This is my story

    Mark was an electrician by trade, the bread winner for his wife and daughter. A fit and active 43-year-old, Mark enjoyed riding motorbikes, particularly his Yamaha Road Star. Mark was returning home from work. Mark was riding his motorbike home from a job site when he was t-boned at an intersection by a four-wheel drive. […]

    Read more

    There’s more to road safety than speed: The fatal five

    Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends. It’s also, sadly, a time when not all road users will make it home to their friends and families safely. Read Madeline’s story here. Each year, Australia’s road toll rises during the Christmas and New Year holidays as traffic volumes increase and people travel longer distances […]

    Read more

    Driving in Australia: A guide for British motorists

    Driving in Australia is quite similar to driving in the UK. We both drive on the left hand side of the road. We both have strict laws against drink driving and will take points off your licence for breaking the safety rules. With our smaller population, wide roads and plenty of open space, you might […]

    Read more

    Call Us Now

    Our friendly consultants are available to talk Monday to Friday, 8:15am to 6:00pm AEST.

    1800 618 851

    Live Chat

    Chat with Shine Lawyers through the livechat system without leaving your computer. No downloading, completely private and best of all - it's easy to use.

    Start a live chat now

    Enquire Now