It’s Electric: New road rule amendments specific to parking of electric vehicles and speed limits on beaches
New amendments to the Australian Road Rules (the Rules) in respect of speed limits on beaches have commenced and specific Rules relating to the parking of electric vehicles will commence on 30 March 2024.
Amendments outlined in the Road Traffic (Road Rules - Ancillary and Miscellaneous Provisions) (Road Rules) Amendment Regulations 2023 and the Australian Road Rules (Miscellaneous) Amendment Rules 2023, are set to commence on 30 March 2024. We set out these amendments below.
Regulation 19A – Electric-powered vehicle symbols and signs
Among the key amendments is the insertion of regulation 19A, which introduces symbols and signs specific to electric-powered vehicles relating to electric vehicle parking and charging spaces. These symbols and signs, such as the electric-powered vehicle symbol and electric-powered vehicle charging symbol, are set to become integral components of South Australia's traffic and parking control signage.
These symbols will designate parking spaces and charging stations specifically intended for electric vehicles. This ensures that these areas are utilised appropriately, preventing use by non-electric vehicles (“ICE-ing”).
Regulation 203B & 203C – Stopping in a Parking Area for Electric-Powered Vehicles and the Charging of Electric-Powered Vehicles:
Amendments to the Rules include the insertion of rules 203B and 203C, which have existed in other jurisdictions for some time. Rule 203B will, upon commencement, create an offence for a driver of a non-electric-powered vehicle to stop in a parking area for electric-powered vehicles, while rule 203C will create an offence for a driver to stop in a parking area for the charging of electric-powered vehicles unless the vehicle is an electric-powered vehicle and the vehicle is plugged into an external source of electricity.
The definitions of parking areas for electric-powered vehicles and parking areas for the charging of electric-powered vehicles in both of the above rules are similar and provide for the delineation of these areas by way of permissive parking signs displaying and electric-powered vehicle symbol or charging symbol or road markings consisting of or including an electric-powered vehicle symbol or electric-powered vehicle charging symbol.
So what is an electric-powered vehicle? Sorry conventional (non-plug in) hybrid owners, but you’re out. Rule 203B(3) defines an electric-powered vehicle as a vehicle propelled by 1 or more electric or traction motors (whether or not the vehicle is also powered by another form of propulsion) and which can be recharged from an external source of electricity.
Beach Speed Limits
The Motor Vehicles (Speed Limits on Beaches) Amendment Regulations 2023 commenced on 1 December 2023, inserting Clause 8A into the Road Traffic (Road Rules—Ancillary and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2014 (the Regulations). This clause is now in operation and focusses on speed limits while driving on beaches. The clause sets a maximum speed limit of 25 kilometres per hour when within 50 meters of a person and 40 kilometres per hour in all other cases.
The maximum penalty for an offence against this regulation is a fine of $5,000. Expiation fees range from $196 (exceeding the prescribed speed limit by less than 10kph) to $1,635 (exceeding the prescribed speed limit by 30kph or more). Demerit points are also incurred.
Regulation 8A(3) – Beach Definition
An expansive definition of ‘beach’ is set out in regulation 8A(3) of the Regulations and encompasses the typical foreshore areas, dunes and mudflats.
The focus of these regulations is, of course, to enhance the public safety and particularly the safety of beach users. Whilst enforcement of speed limits is not within the ambit of the ordinary regulatory functions of a council, it is important to remain cognisant of these rules when officers are conducting beach patrols or utilising vehicles to undertake other works on the foreshore.
Should you wish to discuss any of the matters raised in this article, or require specific advice as to any aspect of the operation of these regulations and rules, please contact Dale Mazzachi on +61 8 8210 1223 or email@example.com or Paul Kelly on +61 8 8210 1248 or firstname.lastname@example.org