Can you exceed the speed limit while overtaking someone? What are the rules and penalties in each state? Here’s what you need to know.
If you’ve ever been stuck behind a giant truck, reckless driver or slow mover on a family road trip, you’ve likely been overcome by the urge to overtake.
Sometimes, overtaking is the best option for both road safety and traffic flow – but can you ever break the speed limit to do it?
In short: no, you are not permitted to speed when overtaking in any Australian state.
In fact, it is always illegal to exceed the speed limit, no matter the circumstances.
To overtake safely, drivers should have a clear view of the approaching traffic and sufficient space for overtaking and should use their indicators to signal.
Of course, the penalties for committing this offence vary depending on where you are and how far over the speed limit you were travelling.
Here are the rules for every state and territory in Australia.
Can you speed to overtake in Victoria?
Driving above the speed limit, even when overtaking, is against the law in Victoria.
Penalties in Victoria range from $231 for exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h, to $925 and a 12-month licence suspension for exceeding the speed limit by 45km/h or more.
A full list of Victoria’s speeding penalties can be found here.
Can you speed to overtake in NSW?
Under NSW road rule 20, drivers in NSW must not driver faster than the speed limit, including when overtaking.
Penalties are issued on a sliding scale, depending on how far over the speed limit the driver was travelling, the type of vehicle they were driving and whether the offence took place in a school zone.
Penalties range from a $128 fine and one demerit point for exceeding the speed limit by 10km/h or less, up to $3300 and a minimum six-month licence suspension. A full list of NSW speed penalties can be found here.
Can you speed to overtake in Queensland?
In Queensland, it is illegal to exceed the posted speed limit in any circumstance.
“Drivers should only overtake when safe to do so, including in compliance with the speed limit,” a Queensland Transport and Main Roads spokesperson told Drive.
“The penalty for speeding ranges from $287 and one demerit point to $1653 and eight demerit points. Drivers being overtaken by a vehicle on the wrong side of the road cannot increase their speed until the other vehicle has passed them and returned to the correct side of the road.”
Can you speed to overtake in the ACT?
“It is illegal to exceed the speed limit at any time, including while overtaking another vehicle,” a spokesperson for ACT Police told Drive.
“The penalties for speeding in the ACT vary depending on the number of km/h a vehicle is travelling over the posted speed limit.”
Penalties range from $307 and one demerit point for travelling 15km/h or less over the speed limit, up to $2136 and six demerit points if travelling 45km/h or more over the speed limit in a school zone.
Can you speed to overtake in Western Australia?
No, you are not permitted to speed to overtake someone in Western Australia.
The penalties will vary depending on what speed you’re travelling and range from a $100 fine for travelling no more than 9km/h over the speed limit, up to $1200 and seven demerit points for travelling more than 40km/h over the limit.
A full list of Western Australia’s speeding fines can be found here.
Can you speed to overtake in Tasmania?
“No. Normal speeding fines apply, and penalties vary on the amount you are speeding over the limit,” a Tasmania Police spokesperson told Drive.
Penalties range from a $91 fine and two demerit points for travelling less than 10km/h over the speed limit, up to $1041, six demerit points and a four-month licence suspension for travelling 45km/h or more over the limit.
A full list of Tasmania’s speeding penalties can be found here.
Can you speed to overtake in South Australia?
No, you cannot speed to overtake in South Australia.
Penalties depend on the speed you’re travelling over the speed limit and range from $187 and two demerit points, up to $1825, nine demerit points and a loss of licence for six months.
A full list of South Australia’s speeding penalties can be found here.
Can you speed to overtake in the Northern Territory?
It is illegal to speed, including when overtaking, in the Northern Territory.
Travelling up to 15km/h over the speed limit will attract a fine of $150 and one demerit point, while travelling 45km/h or more over the speed limit will result in a $1000 fine and six demerit points.
A full list of the Northern Territory’s speeding penalties can be found here.