As the spooky season comes to it’s roaring final days, and everyone you know is frantically arranging their costumes for Halloween, an eerie warning been given about a fine you could cop if you wear your spooky garb at the wrong time.
According to a spokesperson from the International Driver’s Association (IDA), if any Halloween drivers aren’t careful with how they wear their costumes while in their car, they could land themselves fines of up to $2,000!
That’s enough to kill me and force my tormented soul to haunt my 2007 Suzuki Swift until the end of days.
The fines come due to how different states penalise drivers for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle with an obstructed view, and how some — more elaborate — costumes will make it hard to see.
“Impaired vision or restricted movement can dangerously affect your driving ability, leading to potential accidents. So besides risking fines, you are also putting yourself and other road users at risk,” said IDA spokesperson, Dominic Wyatt.
Now obviously you’ve got to be doing some pretty appalling driving for an officer to give you a fine for wearing that Ghostface mask you found in a dollar shop for your office’s mandatory Halloween party.
But it could potentially land you a $2K fine or more in some parts of the country. (Good thing you saved money on your costume.)
In NSW, driving without a clear view of the road could land you a penalty notice fine of $387. That sucks already, but it’s admittedly far short of losing $2K.
However, according to the currently enforced NSW Road Rules (2014), the amount of penalty units you could receive for such an offence is far bigger.
Penalty units are a set value (that differ between states) used to calculate fines in Australia. If an offence is said to be worth 10 penalty units, the fine would be the state’s penalty unit price multiplied by 10.
According to NSW Road Rules 2014 Section 297: Driver to have proper control of a vehicle etc (2), a driver without a clear view of the road and traffic ahead, behind, and on their sides, could receive a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units.
In NSW, one penalty unit equals $110. A maximum of 20 would mean that wearing your view-obstructing Halloween costume could earn you a whopping $2.2K fine – ahhh!
In Queensland the amount of maximum penalty units is the same, however penalty units in the state are valued at $154.80, meaning an unlucky offending driver could get a fine of $3,096. (No thanks?!?!?)
Across other states the fines vary, as do the value of the penalty units.
In Victoria the maximum penalty units for obstructed viewing is three. With a Victorian penalty unit costing $192.31, that means an inappropriate spooky drive could cost $576.93.
Here’s a table to see which states and territories could have you cough up the largest fine.
|State||Max. Penalty Units||Penalty Unit Value||Max. Potential Fine|
|SA||NA||(SA don’t use penalty unit).||$2,500|
Across the board, none of these amounts are anything I’d be okay with paying.
In Western Australia you’ll only face a maximum of 2 penalty units, and at $50 a unit you could only lose a maximum of a hundred bucks. Not so bad in comparison!
All of this is to inform you of one very simple way to avoid these fines:
Don’t wear a costume that obstructs your view while driving.
In my (non professional) opinion, it seems unlikely that someone would receive a maximum penalty unit charge for this specific offence, but that’s no reason to risk it.
Get your costume off girl, don’t be crazy.