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John Sutton

It is an offence under section 5B of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act to perform a burnout in a motor vehicle on a road or road related area, unless it is done with the written approval of the Road Transport Authority for the purposes of a race, attempt or trial.

The definition of a burnout for the purposes of this section is determined by the type of motor vehicle being driven.

  • On a motorbike: if the vehicle is operated in a way to cause the motorbike to undergo a sustained loss of traction by the driving wheel.
  • On any other motor vehicle: if the vehicle is operated in a way that causes a sustained loss of traction by one or more of the driving wheels.


The maximum penalty if you are convicted under this section will depend on the particulars of the offence. If a burnout has occurred because you have placed a prohibited substance on the surface of the road or road related area, or near one of the vehicle's tyres, the maximum fine is 30 penalty units. If no prohibited substance was involved, the maximum fine is 20 penalty units.

In either case, if this is a first offence, the automatic period of disqualification is three months. If this is a repeat offence, the automatic period of disqualification is twelve months however the Court has the discretion to impose a lengthier period of disqualification.

For the purposes of this section, a prohibited substance is defined as:

  1. Petrol, oil, diesel fuel or any other flammable liquid;
  2. Any other substance that increases the risk of death, injury or damage to property (including damage to the surface of any road or to any prescribed traffic control device from the burnout.


It is a defence for an offence under this section if the driver shows that although there was a technical contravention of this section (that is, that a burnout occurred), the motor vehicle was not deliberately operated to cause that effect to occur. Intent is always a difficult element to prove. If you have been charged with an offence under this section, it is important that you receive competent legal advice as soon as possible.

where to next?

In Canberra, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777