Driver Knowledge Tests

Defect notices

police stopped driver

A police officer can stop you for a random roadside inspection if you are driving a car or motorbike. There are vehicle standards in Australia which all vehicles must comply with which define a set of rules which ensures that vehicles operating on the road are ‘safe’. If police suspect (or identify that) your vehicle doesn’t comply with these rules then they can issue a defect notice and put a yellow or red sticker on your car like this:

Defect notice

A yellow label means a minor fault and a red label means a serious fault.

The defect notice is a form which looks like this:

vehicle defect notice form

A vehicle defect notice isn’t a fine, although a fine might be issued to you for other reasons. It’s a notice to say that you can’t drive the vehicle until it has been checked and repaired to make it safe to drive. If it’s a minor defect then you may be allowed to drive it for a certain period of time and to a certain destination to allow you to get it fixed. However, if it’s a dangerous defect then it may be ordered off the road with a red label and must be towed away rather than driven.

The details of the defects will be noted on the form, e.g. worn tyres, cut springs, noisy exhaust, and the form indicates where you must take it to have it checked, e.g. Authorised Inspection Station, and whether it needs a full or part inspection.

The defect must be cleared within 21 days from the end of the period the vehicle is allowed to be driven otherwise the registration may be suspended and/or cancelled. You can apply for a time extension if it’s not possible to repair the vehicle in the specified time, or you can cancel the registration.

Once you’ve had your vehicle fixed you must present the form back to the officer or inspector who issued the defect notice.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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