R 291 – Creating unnecessary noise and smoke
Rule 291 of the Road Safety Road Rules 2009 provides that a person must not start a vehicle, or drive a vehicle in a way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke.
The Rules also provide an example:
Causing the wheels of the driver’s vehicle to lose traction and spin on the road surface may make unnecessary noise or smoke.
The penalty for creating unnecessary noise or smoke is 2 penalty units. In some circumstances however, you may be charged by police with contravening r 291 as well as a provision of the Road Safety Act such as a general duty or improper use of motor vehicle charge. These charges carry greater penalties, including loss of licence, and you should speak with an expert traffic lawyer about the possibility of withdrawing other charges.
Unnecessary noise and smoke
The creation of noise or smoke is often a result of performing donuts, burnouts, drifting, or drag racing. If you are charged under r 291 during a drag race or speed trial, you may also be charged with a speed trial offence. This offence carries significant penalties, and you should contact a traffic lawyer as soon as possible about these matters.
In certain circumstances, the creation of noise or smoke can be accidental. This may occur when accelerating too quickly without meaning to do so. Unlike other areas of the criminal law, the r 291 of the Road Rules does not require an intention to create noise or smoke. This means the police can charge you with unnecessarily creating noise or smoke even if you did not intend to do so.
The police have the discretion not to charge you with creating unnecessary noise or smoke, particularly if it appears to be accidental. However, they may still indeed charge you, and you will be fined 2 penalty units.
What you can do
If you believe you did not unnecessarily create noise or smoke, you should speak with an expert traffic lawyer. They will be able to offer you advice about the Road Rules, as well as any other charges you may be facing relating to the incident. Particularly if you have been charged with more than one road offence, including unnecessarily creating noise or smoke, you should contact a traffic lawyer as soon as you can. Your lawyer may be able to have some charges withdrawn, or proceed on a lesser charge, and help you keep your licence.