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Serious Traffic Law Offences

In addition to violations of ordinary road rules, the law in South Australia defines several serious driving offences

Minor traffic violations in South Australia are defined by the Road Rules. For the most part, the Road Rules are uniform in every state and territory. They govern routine traffic violations like speeding and disobeying traffic signals that are typically punished by fines and demerit points.

More serious traffic offences in South Australia are defined by the Road Traffic Act 1961. Punishment for many of those offences includes the possibility of imprisonment, particularly for repeat offences. This article will explain the more serious traffic offences in South Australia.

Careless Driving

The offence of careless driving is committed by driving a vehicle without due care or attention or without reasonable consideration of others who are using the road. The offence is more serious if:

  • it causes an injury or death,
  • it is committed while trying to elude a police officer, or
  • it is committed while the person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.

Reckless or Dangerous Driving

The offence of reckless or dangerous driving is committed by driving a vehicle recklessly or at a speed or in a manner that is dangerous to another person. To determine whether driving was dangerous, a court considers road conditions and the presence of other traffic.

Drink Driving

The offence of drink driving can be committed in different ways. They include:

  • driving  under the influence of alcohol
  • driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol (0.05 for most drivers)
  • failing to take a requested breath test
  • failing to stop at a testing station

Drug Driving

The offence of drug driving is similar to drink driving in that it can be committed in different ways. They include:

  • driving under the influence of drugs
  • driving with certain drugs in the driver’s blood (including cannabis)
  • failing to comply with a request to submit to a drug screening test
  • failing to stop at a testing station
  • failing to supply a lawfully requested blood sample

Contravention of Police Directions

It is an offence to refuse to comply with a direction given by a police officer to:

  • stop a vehicle,
  • move a vehicle,
  • leave a vehicle,
  • provide identifying information (including name, address, and date of birth).

Failing to Stop at Scene of Accident

Any driver who is involved in a traffic accident has a duty to stop at the accident scene. It is an offence to fail to give all possible assistance to any person injured in the accident. It is also an offence for the driver to fail to report the accident in person to the police within 90 minutes after the accident occurs.


Various defences can be raised to traffic crimes. Available defences depend upon the crime charged and the circumstances of the crime. To determine what defences might be available if you are accused of a traffic offence, you should consult with a lawyer.

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