The simple trip from Albury to Wodonga is regularly putting P-plate drivers at risk of fines of about $500 because the two states cannot agree on licensing rules.
It has been a problem frustrating motorists on the Border for years, but the latest crop of probationary drivers, like 18-year-old Dani Sanderson, want a resolution.
The Lavington teenager did not receive any advice from Roads and Maritime Services when she got her licence, so took the initiative to call police from both states herself.
“Ever since I received my learners licence I have been contradicted by both NSW and Victorian police on what laws we follow as we cross the border,” she said.
“Many say we follow the laws of the state we are travelling into, others say we follow the laws on our licence.”
One of the most confusing aspects was passenger restrictions.
In NSW, drivers with a P1 licence cannot have more than one passenger under 21 between 11pm and 5am and the RMS advises drivers to obey rules relating to the state where they obtained their licence.
But in Victoria, passenger restrictions operate 24 hours per day and police have to follow legislation which states drivers from all states must follow Victorian road rules.
Miss Sanderson said her friends pulled over by police in Victoria had been told to head back to NSW with their extra passengers or receive a fine.
“People are over all the confusion that has been brought up with these conflicting laws and it’s not just young drivers, it’s adults too,” she said.
She has started a petition to fix the cross-border anomaly.
“If the law is to follow your licence, then the Wodonga Police Station needs to be notified about this because it only seems to be happening in Wodonga and surrounding areas, from what I’ve heard,” Miss Sanderson said.
“All I ask for is that the Wodonga and Albury police stations talk to each other and get themselves on the same page – we need clarification.”
Wodonga Highway Patrol Sergeant Cameron Roberts said laws between Victoria and NSW had been inconsistent for years, but his officers could only enforce the laws of their state.
“It’s been the most commonly asked thing from the public,” he said.
“They want to know, they want to get it right.”
Wodonga’s top cop said only a national set of road rules, agreed to by all the state governments, would clear up confusion.
“That would take the guesswork out of it,” Sergeant Roberts said.
“It would be good if it was the same but it’s not.”
Learning the laws to avoid big fines
Young drivers need to be very careful to understand what they can and cannot do in each state:
Drivers on either side of the border cannot:
- Use any type of mobile phone, including hands free, Bluetooth or an automated audio device;
- Have any alcohol in their system; or
- Supervise a learner driver.
NSW motorists on a probationary licence must:
- Drive at a maximum speed limit of 90km/h as a P1 drivers and 100 km/h as a P2 driver; and
- Not drive a vehicle with more than one passenger under 21 between 11pm and 5am.
Victorian motorists on a probationary licence must:
- Not carry more than one passenger aged between 16 and 22 years of age at any time of day as a P1 driver.
Wodonga Highway Patrol Sergeant Cameron Roberts said the peer passenger rule was enforced in Victoria.
“Peer pressure can be applied at any time, it’s not time based,” he said.