Is your car dirty?
On 20 January, Newcastle, Port Stephens and the Hunter Region water restrictions were raised to Level 2, restricting showers to four minutes, banning the use of sprinklers and irrigation systems, and limiting car washing to a bucket-only operation.
However, this does not mean that you can neglect washing your car in the interest of water preservation. In fact, police have warned that leaving your car with a dirty number plate could land you in hot water. Under clause 25 of the Road Transport Regulations, if your number plate is so dirty that your details are not displayed cleanly, clearly, and legibly, you could be hit with a fine of up to $457. The offence also carries a three demerit point penalty.
What are the rules for number plates?
According to the regulations, your number plate details must be visible from 20 metres away.
In order to comply with the law, number plates must be:
- in an upright position that is substantially parallel to the vehicle’s axles,
- not more than 1.3 metres above ground level,
- not obscured, defaced or otherwise illegible,
- clearly visible from any point that is up to 20 metres from the number-plate, and within an arc of 45 degrees above and to either side, and
- fixed to the front and back of the vehicle.
Any cover on the number plate must:
- be clear, clean, un-tinted and flat over its entire surface,
- not have reflective or other characteristics that would prevent detection by speed, red light or other similar camera.
Dirty windows can be costly
Driving with dirty windows could also lead to a fine. Rule 297 of the NSW Road Rules makes it an offence to drive a motor vehicle without a clear view of the road and traffic. If you cannot see ahead, behind and to each side of you clearly, you could be fined $344 and incur three demerit points. This rule has a wide scope, and may also apply to any stickers or decorations in or on the car that might obstruct your view.