RACV is reminding motorists about the dos and don’ts of transporting Christmas trees this festive season with drivers facing heavy fines if caught.
RACV’s Transport Manager, Peter Kartsidimas said trees that aren’t secure properly could attract Victoria Police fines between $248 and $16,500.
“If you’re buying a ‘real’ Christmas tree this year, consider how you’re going to get it home. An incorrectly secured tree can damage a vehicle and can also endanger other road users if it falls off on the way home,” Mr Kartsidimas said.
“Under Victorian road rules, long loads are not allowed to protrude more than 1.2 metres from the front or rear of a vehicle. It is also illegal to have any object protruding more than 50 millimetres or 15 centimetres from the side of your vehicle.
“Drivers need to make sure that when transporting Christmas trees, they aren’t too big for their vehicles. It is not illegal to drive with the boot or hatch of the vehicle open but it’s important that visibility is not obstructed.
“If you do plan to carry a tree on the roof of your car, make sure you use properly fitted roof racks and securely tie the tree down with ropes or straps,” he said.
RACV suggested a few other things to ensure your Christmas tree and you get home in one piece, including:
- Placing a blanket between the tree and the car’s paintwork
- Ensuring the trunk of the tree is facing towards the front of the vehicle, this will stop all the pine needles flying off on the way home.
- Avoiding high speed roads to reduce the risk of damage to the tree and the risk of it blowing away
According to VicRoads, the operator of a vehicle in breach of width, length or height limit or load restraint requirements, could face a maximum penalty of $3224, and if your tree falls from your car and causes a serious crash you could even end up in jail.
“The best advice is to use common sense. If your vehicle is not suitable for the job of carrying a Christmas tree or you don’t have the proper equipment, the cost of home delivery might be the cheapest and safest solution,” Mr Kartsidimas said.
For media enquiries, interviews or images, contact RACV’s Media & Communications team on 03 9790 2572 or 0417 041 398.