New traffic laws have been put in place to improve public health and safety on Norfolk Island roads.
Ute tray riding will continue to be part of Norfolk Island's driving experience, however, there will be some changes to improve safety for tray occupants.
The new laws take into account the community feedback provided on ute tray riding and other proposed changes to Norfolk Island's traffic laws through an extensive consultation process in 2019.
There was a substantial response to the initial 2019 consultation paper, which proposed a ban on ute tray riding. A second consultation stage was then undertaken to listen further to community views.
Together with the community, we considered ways to better protect passengers travelling in an open ute tray. These are now reflected in the new laws.
Once the changes to ute tray riding come into effect:
- only full licence holders will be permitted to have passengers in the back of an open ute tray
- drivers must pass a written test about the rules applying to ute tray riding to get a licence endorsement
- drivers must remain sober if passengers are in the ute or truck tray
- there will be a night time curfew
- children must be at least eight years of age before allowed to sit unrestrained in the open ute tray.
There will be a three-month implementation period before the new arrangements for ute tray riding will commence. More details on the test and licence endorsement process will be available in the New Year.
The test will ensure drivers understand the new, and existing, rules for ute tray riding.
Please also note the following new rules will be coming into effect immediately:
- P-platers from Australian states and territories will be allowed to drive in Norfolk Island—they will have to comply with the road rules applicable to Norfolk Island P-platers
- the Norfolk Island Police Force will be able to commence roadside mobile drug testing
- A 24-hour automatic licence suspension will apply if a driver refuses to submit to breath, saliva or blood testing, and automatic licence suspension will apply if a driver is charged with certain major driving offences, including high range drink driving and driving under the influence of drugs or psychotropic substances.
A fact sheet providing more detailed information about the changes is on the department's webpage at www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/legislation-updates.aspx
Details of the 2019 consultation processes are also at www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/legislation-updates.aspx
I would like to thank those community members who participated in the public consultation process in 2019 and shared their views with myself and the department.
These changes aim to strike a balance between improving road safety and local circumstances on Norfolk Island.
Please drive safely over the festive season.
Administrator of Norfolk Island
17 December 2020