Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Tasmania?
Tasmania may seem like a small island when comparted to its neighbour Australia but at almost 600 miles wide and long, there’s still plenty of opportunity to get lost. Always know where you are going to get fuel from when you set out on long drives and be aware of the fact that fuel stations may close late at night or Sundays. Cell phones may not work in some parts of Tasmania.
Driving is on the left hand side of the road. Do not overtake on the left hand side and do not overtake if there are solid white lines. At roundabouts give way to vehicles already on the roundabout and select your lane early.
Watch out for animals on the roads. If you do hit a marsupial you are legally required to stop and check whether or not they had any young in their pouches. When driving on the highway you should stay on the left unless overtaking. At T junctions, the motorist going straight through has right of way.
You should be aware that it can take many hours to drive between towns, even with the comprehensive road system.
Some roads which are OK in the dry season may become impassable in the wet season.
Seat Belt Laws
Everyone in a moving car in Tasmania must wear a seat belt by law.
Drinking and Driving
The legal limit for blood alcohol in Tasmania is 50mg per 100ml of blood – less than that of the UK. The police carry out random breath tests and if over the limit you'll face a court appearance with a fine and a suspension for the first offence and a possible custodial sentence for further offences. If you are a new driver or a probationary one, no alcohol is allowed in your bloodstream.
Must Have Documents
To be able to drive in Tasmania, all you need is your UK driving licence. It's useful to carry your registration documents and insurancce certificate too.
50 km/h in built up areas.
100 km/h on rural roads
110 km/h on freeways.
If there is no speed signposted the speed is 100km/h.
School zones have their own speed limits in Tasmania which should be signposted, usually 40 km/h on roads where the limit is 70 km/h or less and 60 km/h where the speed limit is 80 km/h or more.
Non-Tasmanians who are fined for speeding will have the fines sent to their home address. If the ticket is sent to your car rental company, they will charge an administration fee to pass it on to you.
Minimum Driving Age
Car rental companies may require you to be over 25 years of age, though some rent to 21 year old and even 18 year old customers. Tasmania has one of the lowest minimum ages for driving in the world. You can gain a provisional licence from the age of 16 and take your test from 16 years and 3 months.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
It's not illegal to use detection equipment in Tasmania but several websites also tell you where cameras are located.
On the Spot Fines
Tasmanian police will give you a ticket detailing the offence, the fine and where and when to pay it. If fines are large enough, you can opt to pay in instalments.
Child Safety Rules
Australia’s complicated rules over child restraint systems are followed in Tasmania too which are as follows:
• Babies up to six months must be in a rear facing car seat
• From six months to four years they can be in a forward or rear facing seat
• Children up to four years old can't travel in the front seat unless it's only a two seater
• From four to seven a booster seat or forward facing seat must be used
• Children from four to seven can only ride in the front seat if there are no other seats for them
A minimum of third party insurance cover is required by law. If you are involved in an incident, it's useful to have your insurance details to hand.
Rules of the Road
Standard driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• Tasmanians drive on the left in right hand drive cars
• 70% of Australian cars are automatic – most rentals are too!
• When the speed limit is over 50 mph (80 km/h) it's illegal to stay in the right hand lane on multi-lane roads, except when overtaking
• Some roads have overtaking lanes which are usable for both directions, a black and yellow sign will show who has priority
You simply need to ensure that the vehicle being towed is securely attached and that you have good all round visibility.
Tasmania has different ways to catch speeding motorists including fixed and mobile cameras and cameras in unmarked cars. For all offences you'll receive a ticket which is called an 'on the spot fine' despite not being able to pay it on the spot.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
Using a mobile phone without a hands-free kit is illegal in Tasmania and you’ll be fined for doing so.
Parking regulations relate mainly to parking where there are continuous lines in the middle of the road. If there are, there must be at least three metres between your car and the lines.
Parking in the cities is usually expensive wherever you park. This has been done deliberately to make people use public transport and it should certainly make you think twice about taking your car into Hobart.
Although you can earn an AU$100 fine for not paying for parking or overstaying your allotted time, many risk it because parking regulation is quite lax.
Your European disability badge won’t work in Tasmania but there is a local scheme which means that showing your badge can get you a more convenient space.
Motor Way Signs
Motorway signs in Tasmania are the same as on the mainland- white writing on a green background.
Apart from the usual Aussie humour laced language, you’ll have no difficulty getting understood in Tasmania.
Traffic lights follow the UK system in Tasmania and it’s illegal to turn left on a red light unless it's indicated you can do so.
There are no toll roads in Tasmania.
The emergency services number is 000, though 112 is also accepted, particularly from mobile phones. The United States Embassy in Canberra is on +61 (0) 2 6214 5600 and the British High Commission is on +61 (0) 2 6270 6666. For more embassy numbers visit www.wordtravels.com/Travelguide/Countries/Australia/Contacts.
What to do in an emergency
You are legally required to stop and help if you have been in an accident where someone has been hurt or injured. Phone the police on 000 and await their arrival. Leaving the scene where someone has been hurt could see you spend up to 10 years in jail. You are obliged to provide first aid care if you have a qualification and are protected by law from legal recrimination should something go wrong.
The price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Tasmania as at August 2014 is 91p a litre with diesel costing 95p on average.