Passenger rule could cost you hundreds
EVERYONE knows there are a lot of things that could get you in trouble if you are caught doing them behind the wheel, with texting, drinking alcohol and eating being just a few examples.
But many drivers might not know that you can also cop a fine for things your passenger does, even if it may seem harmless to you.
Drivers know that having an unrestrained passenger in the car is illegal but there are certain things your passenger might be doing, like reclining their chair, that could infringe on this rule.
The majority of drivers have probably let a passenger recline their seat on a long drive to have a nap and it's likely many have done it themselves.
While it might not seem dangerous, doing this can mean the seatbelt isn't adjusted properly and that can mean big fines for both the driver and passenger.
In New South Wales if you are caught with a passenger who isn't wearing their seatbelt correctly you will be hit with a $337 fine and three demerit points.
If the passenger is 16 years or over they can also be given a $337 fine.
A Transport for NSW spokesperson told news.com.au that a passenger reclining their seat can also infringe on other road rules by possibly obstructing the driver's view.
"It is strongly advised that passengers only recline the car seat while the vehicle is stationary," the spokesperson said.
"Rule 297(2) provides that a driver must have a clear view of the road, and traffic, ahead, behind and to each side of the driver.
"A $330 fine and three demerit points applies for disobeying this rule."
The spokesperson added that it is up to police to decide whether or not the reclining passenger is infringing on any of these laws.
In Victoria if a driver fails to ensure a passenger over the age of 16 is wearing a properly adjusted and fastened seatbelt they will be given a $322 fine and three demerit points.
That fine bumps up to $363 if the passenger is under the age of 16.
The passenger can also be given a $322 fine for not wearing their seatbelt correctly.
Motorists in the Australian Capital Territory will face a massive $492 fine and three demerit points for being caught with a passenger not wearing a seatbelt properly.
Western Australia has the highest penalty for this offence, with passengers over the age of 16 getting a $550 fine and drivers copping the same amount plus four demerit points.
The Northern Territory has the second highest penalty, with both the passenger and motorist getting a $500 fine and drivers also getting three points on top of that.
Driving without having a passenger correctly restrained will set you back $391 and three points in Queensland.
Passengers over the age of 16 will cop the same fine.
In Tasmania this offence will cost a driver $326 and three demerit points if the passenger is aged 16 or over, with the passenger also being fined the same amount.
However, if the passenger is under 16 the driver will receive a bigger fine of $366.75, on top of the demerit points.
Failing to ensure a passenger is correctly strapped in will result in a $423 fine and three demerit points for drivers in South Australia.
Passengers caught breaking this rule will also get a $423 fine.
People who recline their chair while in a moving vehicle are not only risking a fine - there are also significant safety risks.
Last year the NSW Centre for Road Safety released footage from its Crashlab showing the
harrowing consequences incorrectly wearing a seatbelt under the arm or travelling in a reclined seat can have.
An improperly adjusted seatbelt can cause massive internal injuries or death if a crash occurs while travelling at just 60km/h.
Dr Jeremy Hsu, head of trauma and a surgeon at Westmead Hospital, said even sitting upright and having the seatbelt incorrectly adjusted can cause irreparable damage.
"All the force is applied to the abdomen which would probably result in injuries to the liver,
spleen, anything within the abdomen," Dr Hsu said.
"When it came to the low rider test, a very high-risk of death and permanent disability."