Why You Should Never Put Your Feet On The Dash

Passenger feet are seen on dashboards everyday but would that be the case if travelers understood the dangers associated with ‘resting their legs’?

Don't rest easy: It's not illegal to put feet up on the dashboard but that doesn't mean you should do it.

Don’t rest easy: It’s not illegal to put feet up on the dashboard but that doesn’t mean you should do it.

Putting your feet on the dashboard is dangerous and potentially fatal. Upon impact passenger frontal airbags are deployed from inside the dashboard so if your feet are up at the height of the dash your legs will be pushed upward rather than keeping your legs and lower body secured in a seated position.

Is it illegal?

NSW Road Rule 268 covers how persons must travel in or on a motor vehicle, however it does not mention the specifics on seating positions or having feet on the dashboard. So it’s not illegal but still should never be practiced, on the off chance your airbags are deployed while your feet are resting on the dash.

Frontal airbags generally deploy in head-on collisions where the force of the impact is greater than hitting a solid object at a speed greater than 25km/h. In head-on collisions with a stopped vehicle, the speed would generally need to be significantly higher than 25km/h for the airbags to deploy. This means that even a minor crash can cause serious damage if you are caught with your legs or feet resting on the dash.

Knee airbags are also deployed to keep your lower legs safe upon impact, but only if your feet are rested on (or close to) the floor. If these airbags were to push your legs and knee caps towards your face it could result in horrific injuries.

Crashes are unavoidable sometimes due to other driver’s mistakes and a vehicles safety features (i.e airbags) provide protection from injury. The vehicle structure, seat belt system and airbags are all designed to provide crash protection. However these features don’t work as intended if the person in the car is not sitting upright in the vehicle.

So next time you see feet up on the dashboard remind your loved ones to put them back on the floor where the vehicle’s airbags can keep you as safe as possible.

Would this information make you think twice about ‘riding shotgun’ with your feet on the dash?

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The information contained on this webpage is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. 

While we endeavour to ensure the information is complete and up to date, we make no warranties as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information and accept no responsibility for any loss or damage you may suffer as a result or your reliance on any part of it. Links to other websites are inserted for convenience only and do not constitute endorsement of material on those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.

The dos and don’ts of merging with traffic

You may recognise some of these behaviours, or maybe even be guilty of such habits? Here are some of the worst merging offenders.

road-safety-merging-lanes

MERGE LIKE A ZIP: Be courteous.. don’t push in

Lane sharks 
When it’s clear there is a lane ending and merge ahead, a lane shark will continue to drive in that lane or change into the ending lane, just to get a few car spaces ahead. In New Zealand drivers who cut-in carelessly or without reasonable consideration for other motorists can be issued with a fine.

Slow mo’s
There will always be cautious motorists who drive under the speed limit. While this is acceptable within reason, driving too slowly when merging could spell disaster, especially on a freeway. If you are travelling slower than the speed of the traffic you are merging into, chances are your vehicle will not merge seamlessly, causing indecision among other motorists.

Lane hogs
Unfortunately, there will always be motorists who ‘pretend’ not to see your car and speed up when you are trying to merge. If this happens, don’t try and push in. Slow down and merge when there is a safe gap in the traffic. And if you are one of those drivers who doesn’t like to give up ground, remember that a car length is an insignificant amount of time, even if you are in a rush!

Tips to merge safely

If merging safely causes you stress, consider these tips from NRMA Safer Driving School:

  • Before changing lanes, give plenty of indication and check your blind spot
  • Ensure the gap you’re entering is large enough for your vehicle to safely fit
  • Without going over the speed limit, try to match the speed of the vehicles around you rather than braking

As always, a little bit of courtesy and consideration for other motorists will go a long way.

How often do you see examples of dangerous merging?

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Ask NRMA: Are police allowed use mobile phones while driving?

Over the years, images of police officers using mobile phones while driving have generated lots of attention on social media, posing the question: is this illegal? 

NSW Police - NRMA Blog

Under NSW law, using a mobile phone while driving is illegal. It attracts an on-the-spot fine of $325 and four demerit points, with an increase of $433 for offences in school zones. There are however exemptions for emergency vehicles, including police.

Part 300 of NSW Road Rules covers use of mobile phones. It states:
1)  The driver of a vehicle must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, unless…
… (c)  the vehicle is an emergency vehicle or a police vehicle.

As you might expect, police often get asked on their social media why this exemption exists. This statement is from the NSW Police Facebook pageOfficers may need to receive information about a job over their mobile phones for operational reasons, just as they might need to increase their speed to get to jobs without activating warning devices. That’s not to say officers have an excuse to breach the rules in every circumstance - where possible, they will comply with all road rulesThey
are also rigorously checked against our Safe Driver Policy.

In addition, there are also exemptions for drivers of police vehicles under NSW Road Rule 305, regardless if the vehicle is displaying a blue or red flashing light or sounding an alarm. So the law is clear. Police are allowed to use mobile phones when driving. However, they will comply with the road rules where possible.

What do you think?

The information contained on this webpage is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. 

While we endeavour to ensure the information is complete and up to date, we make no warranties as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information and accept no responsibility for any loss or damage you may suffer as a result or your reliance on any part of it. Links to other websites are inserted for convenience only and do not constitute endorsement of material on those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.

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Ask NRMA: Is it illegal to attach a camera to motorbike helmet?

An NRMA Member recently asked us on Facebook if it was an offence to have a camera attached to your motorbike helmet while riding. Is it legal to wear a GoPro on your motorbike helmet

Amongst other things, the answer to the question depends on how ‘approved motor bike helmet’ is defined in the legislation. 

NSW Road Rule 270(1)(a) is quite ambiguous when it comes to defining exactly what constitutes an ‘approved motor bike helmet’ under motor traffic law (see law below).

Part 270 of Road Rules 2014 covers wearing motorbike helmets

(1) The rider of a motor bike that is moving, or is stationary but not parked, must:
- (a) wear an approved motor bike helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head, and
- (b) not ride with a passenger unless the passenger complies with subrule (2).

As stated in the legislation, an approved motor bike helmet must comply with standard AS/NZS 1698. It has been argued by some that this standard relates to the initial manufacturing of the helmet and not attaching third party modifications, such as cameras, to the helmet.

Keep in mind, that the legislation also allows for helmets that have an identifying mark certifying compliance with the standard UNECE22.05 as an approved motor bike helmet, but it is the AS/NZS 1698 standard that has been discussed in court cases and sets precedents in various states in Australia.

It should be noted that it is definitely illegal to screw a device into the helmet by drilling holes or interfering with the structural integrity of the helmet. Once it’s structural integrity is compromised, the helmet wouldn’t qualify as an approved helmet and the rider’s safety would be at risk.

An interesting development is that the law firm Maurice Blackburn recently appealed a magistrate’s decision in Victoria and successfully argued that the Australian Standard governing motorcycle helmets is not made freely accessible to the public by VicRoads, and therefore riders could not be found guilty of breaching a standard that was not publicly available.

However, at this stage in New South Wales, it is still technically illegal to wear a GoPro or other such device on a motorcycle helmet. The law on this may change some time in the near future to bring NSW in line with other states such as Queensland and South Australia. Their position is clearer, stating that the time for compliance with a standard is at the time of manufacture and not after the sale of the helmet.

Therefore, until the meaning of ‘approved motor bike helmet’ has been more conclusively defined by the courts in New South Wales, you do risk a New South Wales police officer fining you $325 plus three demerit points (for specific helmet offences including the fitting of cameras) with also the possibility of double demerit points over in a double demerit holiday period, if you wear a camera attached to your motorcycle helmet.

Have any more questions? Feel free to contact our Motoring Advice on 13 11 22 (Monday-Friday 8:30am – 5pm) 

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The information contained on this webpage is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. 

Whilst we endeavour to ensure the information is complete and up to date, we make no warranties as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information and accept no responsibility for any loss or damage you may suffer as a result or your reliance on any part of it. Links to other websites are inserted for convenience only and do not constitute endorsement of material on those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.

NSW Police target school zone compliance today

Image courtesy of NSW Police Force Facebook

Police from the State’s Traffic and Highway Patrol Command are conducting Operation Compliance 5 today, after the road toll surpassed last year’s total with a month still to go.

The states road toll has now reached 353, which is already more lives lost on NSW roads than in the entirety of 2015.

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The states road toll reached the morbid milestone of the 2015 road toll (350) earlier this week, more than a month away from the end of the year.

In an effort to change the way of thinking on and around our roads, police will be conducting Operation Compliance 5 today (Wednesday 30 November 2016).

The day-long operation will see officers around the state targeting traffic offences around school zones, people using mobile phones while driving, people not keeping left, and inspecting cars for defects.

Assistant Commissioner Corboy of the State’s Traffic and Highway Patrol Command said that the operation is aimed at changing driving culture and keeping everyone safe.

“We need to change the way of thinking on our roads, and especially around schools.

“Today we will have police in and around school zones ensuring that children and other road users are safe.

“We will also be monitoring drivers across the state and fining anyone who still thinks it’s okay to text and drive.

“The culture around school zones and the use of mobile phones behind the wheel needs to change,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

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