Road rule mistake costing us $600k
QUEENSLAND drivers were slugged an eye-watering $600,000 in fines last year for breaking one simple but confusing road rule.
Drivers in the Sunshine State copped the fines for driving through orange traffic lights thanks to the little-known law, which means it is actually illegal to run an amber light.
Motorists who do so face the same penalty as they would for driving through a red light - a staggering $378 fine, on top of three demerit points.
The misconception that it is legal to drive through amber lights is so widespread in Queensland that more than 5300 drivers have been caught breaking the rule since 2015, with 128 infringement notices worth almost $50,000 issued in January 2018 alone.
Brisbane motorists were the worst culprits, with 437 being nabbed in 2017, compared with 349 in the southern region and 311 in the Gold Coast and Logan areas.
A Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman told The Courier-Mail drivers who broke the rule risked being caught by police officers or traffic cameras.
"Motorists must stop on a yellow light unless it is unsafe to do so," the spokeswoman said.
"If it is unsafe to stop, such as being close to the light when it changes from green to yellow, you may proceed through the yellow light within the posted speed limit."
The state's peak motoring body has supported the law, with RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith telling The Courier-Mail it existed to keep road users safe.
"The yellow light rule is there to indicate the light will soon turn red, so drivers can slow down and prepare to stop," she said.
"It's not a signal to speed up to make it through the intersection. This kind of behaviour is reckless and dangerous.
"Police wouldn't have issued fines if these were 50-50 calls. They must have been blatant attempts to skip through the lights and it's not on."
Over in Victoria, the VicRoads website states that for a yellow light, you must stop unless you can't do so safely.
NSW's Roads and Maritime Services also states: "Yellow (amber) means stop. You can enter the intersection if you are so close that sudden braking might cause a crash."
In South Australia, drivers must not enter the intersection "unless you are unable to stop safely without entering the intersection or risking a rear-end crash with vehicles following you", while the rules in the remaining states also appear to be similar.