Our recent story about the truckies who copped fines for stopping in a no-parking zone in Coonabarabran, NSW, provoked plenty of lively discussion on our Facebook page.
Many truckies shared stories of similar experiences in the same spot, and other regional towns.
But we also got some valuable expert advice that could help truckies avoid paying heavy-handed parking fines in the future.
Former truckie Robert Bell, now the director and CEO of Highway Advocates, which provides legal support and representation for truckies, says the number of fines being issued, and the general lack of discretion by authorities, is galling.
“Many truck drivers who have had tickets placed on their windscreen when having a seven-hour break in side roads or industrial areas will testify to that,” said Bell.
In the case of the drivers fined in Coonabarabran, he said the officer may have relied upon a provision that says a truck cannot park in this particular area.
“However, other provisions of the Road Rules appear to allow what this particular driver got fined for,” he said.
“Another one is fatigue breaks in industrial areas, or similar. Council parking officers especially have jumped onto this revenue stream. They again appear to be jumping onto legislation in isolation and relying upon Road Rule 200, which states in general terms that heavy vehicles, or long vehicles, cannot park more than one hour in a built-up area. A built-up area is defined as somewhere that has buildings or streetlights.
“As one Sydney Council found out when we got involved, if the driver stops at a particular place to comply with another provision of another law and the driver stops no longer than necessary, the courts can exercise discretion available under the Road Rules elsewhere.
“Our observations are general and cannot be construed as legal advice in isolation. It does not mean you can have a power nap in Pitt Street and get away with it. However, if you do receive a penalty for any of the above, or otherwise, give us a call. We know what you need to know.”
Another industry expert, who is well-versed in helping company drivers appeal similar fines, said the police infringing drivers in Coonabarabran need to inform themselves of NSW Road Rules 200(2A-1)(a) which states, “The driver of a heavy vehicle, or a long vehicle, is permitted to stop on a length of road in a built-up area for longer than 1 hour if— (a) the driver is carrying out functions under the road transport legislation.”
This means, if the driver stops and puts it down as a rest break, our expert source says they can stop anywhere on the side of the road, regardless of the parking signs.
“The truckies just need to write a letter, quote the legislation, and ask for it to be withdrawn. It’s easy to do and police have no choice but to withdraw it.”
Our source also supplied this handy template below for drivers to follow.
Hi, Re: Infringement No (put the number here).
I would like to have the above infringement issued to (name of person/company it’s issued to) on (time & date) reviewed please as I think it has been issued in error.
According to NSW Road Rules 2014, Clause 200(2A-1)(a), it states that: “The driver of a heavy vehicle, or a long vehicle, is permitted to stop on a length of road in a built-up area for longer than 1 hour if— (a) the driver is carrying out functions under the road transport legislation”.
As you can see by the work diary page attached (be sure to attach a copy and make sure there aren’t any errors), I was taking a rest break at that time, as required by law to do so when fatigued or at the legislated limits of work hours.
I look forward to your response.
Thank you, (Your name)
Let us know if you have any luck using this.