November 6, 1995
From February 1 next year, Western Australian drivers will have to `keep left' while travelling on the roads.
Police Minister Bob Wiese said the new Keep Left rule would be introduced following an extensive driver education awareness campaign to be held over the Christmas-New Year period.
Mr Wiese said the awareness campaign would also continue for four weeks after the regulation was introduced, during which time police would only caution erring drivers.
He said the rule would apply to all roads - both marked with lanes and unmarked - and on unmarked roads drivers would have to keep their vehicles close to the left-hand side.
"The Keep Left rule is a major step forward for road safety in this State," Mr Wiese said.
"It will provide for a safe increase in traffic flow along freeways, highways and other busy road systems.
"Keeping to the left of the road will also help decrease the danger of head-on collisions in country areas."
Mr Wiese said failure to keep left would carry a $50 penalty and two demerit points and the new road rule was a last resort because previous attempts to educate the WA driving public on adopting courteous driving habits had failed.
"It is basic common courtesy to keep left and allow fellow road users to pass safely," he said.
"On most European roads the rule is obeyed or drivers face the wrath of other motorists - a voluntary system I had hoped would be adopted here, but that ideal did not eventuate."
Mr Wiese said WA was one of the last States to adopt the regulation and the Police Service and his ministerial office had received numerous requests from the public and the RAC for a Keep Left rule to be introduced.
"With the holiday festive period fast approaching and many thousands of Western Australian drivers on the roads, there is a perfect opportunity to start practising the courtesy of keeping left," he said.
"Those people towing boats and caravans should spare a thought for others because the regulation will assist in reducing driver frustration - a cause of many serious head-on traffic accidents in country areas.
"The mechanics of the keep left rule are to use common sense and courtesy."
Mr Wiese said the driver awareness campaign by the Road Traffic Board would begin on December 20.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595 or pager 482 4648