Offence for installing traffic control devices

This article comes from a question I received about the lawfulness of installing traffic control devices without approval.

The question is:

Is it against the law to install a traffic control device without the proper approval?

The answer is yes.

What is a “traffic control device”?

A traffic control device is a sign, signal, marking, structure or other device which direct or warn traffic on, entering or leaving a road. It includes things like traffic signs, road markings and traffic signals.

What does the law say?

Section 123 of the Road Transport Act 2013 states (with emphasis added):

123 Unauthorised prescribed traffic control devices

(1) A person must not, without appropriate authority:

(a) install or display a prescribed traffic control device on, above or near a road, or

(b) interfere with, alter or remove any prescribed traffic control device installed or displayed on, above or near a road.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

(2) A person must not install or display on, above or near a road any sign, signal, marking, structure or other device that might reasonably be mistaken to be a prescribed traffic control device.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

Accordingly, it is unlawful to install a traffic control device (or something that resembles a traffic control device) on, above or near a road. The maximum penalty is 20 penalty units, which equals $2,200.

However, it is worth noting that the authorities can exercise their discretion and choose not to issue a fine, even if they know a person has acted in an unlawful way.

What do the courts say?

The courts have said nothing in relation to this provision. This could suggest that this law is not enforced very often, or that people do not appeal the fine in the courts.

Where do I get the appropriate authority?

The appropriate authority is usually obtained from the local council or Roads and Maritime Services.

 

 

 

Posted by

Alyce is a civil engineer and a practicing lawyer, who has a desire to share her insights on the legal and practical realities of the development industry.

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