It’s happened to almost anyone who has travelled on a road in Australia: you’re stuck behind someone going below the speed limit who suddenly decides – when there’s an overtaking lane – that it’s time to sit at the limit, or just above it!

  • Speeding up when being overtaken is dangerous
  • It’s also bad form, and could increase road rage 
  • Most states could fine you or hit you with demerit points for this offence

It’s nothing short of frustrating, not to mention very dangerous.

The road is there to share, after all, and it’s fine for drivers to not want to speed – but speeding up to avoid being overtaken is an offence in some jurisdictions across Australia, as it arguably should be.

It can be a source of undue and unnecessary frustration and lead to road rage, not to mention dangerous driving if you need to get past a slower-moving vehicle.

So what are the rules? And where is it a penalty offence? Here’s a rundown: 

Victoria & NSW

In Melbourne it is a driving offence that could result in a fine and demerit points. The specific rule is road rule 145, which states: “Increase speed when being overtaken”, with a resulting fine of $330 and two demerit points applicable. 

The same rule and terminology applies in Sydney, but with a slightly higher penalty. “Increase speed when being overtaken” could see you fined $349 and hit with three demerits. 


Brisbane has a similar rule as the other states above, but a more lenient penalty: “Increasing speed when being overtaken” can see a driver penalised two demerit points and an $86 fine. 

Tasmania & ACT

Hobart has a slightly different take on it in terms of the wording and the penalty: “Increase speed while being overtaken and before overtaking vehicle has safely returned” is the offence, and the fine is $181 – no demerits.

There’s also no demerit point consideration in Canberra, which follows the same ARR 145 rule “increase speed while being overtaken”. But the Territory has a sizable $307 fine for the offence. 

South Australia

Adelaide seemingly has the same legislative background using the Road Rules Section 145 framework, including a two-demerit penalty, but in the Driver’s Handbook there was no such mention of that rule that we could find.

Northern Territory

Darwin doesn’t appear to have a pointer to this specific Australian Road Rule, though it could be argued that a driver failing to allow an overtaking vehicle to pass might be contravening the rule “Overtaking incorrectly (general)”, which incurs a $70 fine.

Western Australia

Perth likewise doesn’t seem to follow the same model rule set as other Australian jurisdictions. The only wording around overtaking and speed published on the state’s Road Safety Commission documentation is: “When overtaking, make sure you have a clear view of oncoming traffic and use your indicator to signal your intentions to other drivers. You must not exceed the speed limit.”

Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory.

Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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