Can You Get Fined For Tooting Your Car Horn?

Can You Get Fined For Tooting Your Car Horn?

A string of social network reports have accused the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads of introducing new traffic penalties for the tiniest of infringements. Some of the “crimes” that may result in hefty fines include tooting your car horn and failing to keep a hand on the steering wheel while stopped at red lights. But are these reports actually legitimate, or is everyone being taken for a ride? The answer might surprise you.

Parking ticket picture from Shutterstock

The below image recently popped up on my Facebook page after being shared by an irate friend. Supposedly left on the window of a Queensland motorist, the notice provides a refresher of traffic laws, including some sneaky new additions that have been highlighted in red:

This has caused a fair amount of outrage in social media circles, with many people accusing the state government of shameless revenue raising. The ‘horn tooting’ fine has been especially seized upon by angry Facebook posters. In the words of my friend: “WTF! Is this horn thing legit???”

Well, it turns out that the above flyer was not issued by any government agency. As reported in The Fraser Coast Chronicle last year, the shared image contains “inaccuracies and inconsistencies” and may be the work of hoaxers.

However, this doesn’t mean that the information contained in the photo is completely bogus. Many of the listed infringements refer to existing traffic laws — including the horn tooting one. Indeed, ‘illegal use of a warning device’ can actually result in a stiffer penalty than the cited $66; you can even lose points off your licence in some states.

This is yet another example of why you can’t believe everything you see on Twitter or Facebook. By the same token, sometimes a lie can contain a kernel of truth — so it pays to do your research.

See also: The Most Infuriating Traffic Fines In Existence | Top 10 Parking Crimes Against Humanity | How To Never Pay For Parking At Shopping Centres Again


  • Yep, you can only use horn as a ‘warning’ device.

    Hand on steering wheel – probably accurate. I do believe you also need to have the car in-gear at all times, so leaving car in neutral at lights is illegal.

    • No honking between 11pm and 7am here in NZ, I’m pretty sure we can honk as an attention-getting device, i.e. to let your mates know you’ve arrived. It’s not solely to warn bad drivers thankfully.

      That hand at red lights thing though, totally ridiculous in my option. Is it so dickheads in the cue don’t pound the accelerator as soon as the lights go green?

    • And if I’m ever pulled over for using the horn, I’ll tell the cop clearly:

      Yes, officer, it was being used as a warning. That light was green. It was a warning to the driver in front that if he doesn’t wake up and drive off, I’m about to drive up his arse,

    • Ummmm, So how exactly do you leave a manual car in gear while it’s running?? You haven’t really thought this through have you??

          • Car manuals also tell you to turn off all air conditioners, close all vents, and turn off the radio/cd player before turning off the ignition… But I’d wager very few people bother with that either. I find it much safer to remain in gear with the clutch depressed, meaning that if you need to move in an emergency situation, you are that much quicker. Eg, about to be rear-ended or an ambulance needs to pass etc.

    • I’d dare a policeman to try and prove that my car wasn’t in gear, unless you grind gears or stall it half way across the intersection I guess, but otherwise, good luck chum! 🙂

  • If I ever received a fine for failing to keep a hand on the steering wheel when stopped at lights, I think a heftier fine would soon follow for failing to keep my hands off the dickhead who enforced the first fine

  • these are mostly in place for the dickheads, in the horn tooting case, only a wanker of a cop would pull you up for honking your horn to let ya mate know your across the road the law is there for the dickheads who think a “horn off” in the middle of a burbs at 2am is a fun way to pass time.

  • You cant drive in the right hand lane of a road with a limit over 80km/h? Surely they need to include the bit about overtaking?

    • That’s right you can not drive in the right lane, you must drive in the left lane, the right lane is only to be used for an overtaking maneuver.

      It’s a law I would like to see enforced more, nothing is more frustrating than being stuck behind people going under the speed limit in every lane.

  • Horn thing. Totally legit in NSW. Mate got fined on the last day of yr12 for holding his hand on the horn for about 10 seconds as he drove out of the school carpark.

    • thats tough, i spent all day (and a set of tires) fishtailing up and down the road where my school was (because i was “banned” from going to school the last day)
      (no children, birds, kittens or whales were hurt in my actions)

        • no bloody idea why i got banned…
          it was racist though.
          (as you can probably tell, i’m a wog ok?)
          me and a few mates went up to school on the last day, we had flour and that is all we had, the vice prin was at the door, puts his hand in my face and says “you and your mates are banned from entering the school”.

          we had done nothing wrong at all, there was about 9 of us, all of the greeks and italians went to go in together, as we did, for the whole year.

  • Eh. If I got fined for these I’d just write “BULLSHIT” and return to sender because I don’t believe in bullshit.

  • You sure can be fined for blowing your horn. …. particularly if the slow moving erratic car that performs a u turn without indicating for 3m or 30sec that your tooting at turns out to be an unmarked police car 🙁

    • Stupid cops. I’ve had this happen to me in a marked cop car, but luckily I didn’t honk. In the case you were fined, it’s easily excusable because you were alerting the driver to your presence.

  • read australias constitution people you will see that any fine issued by anyone but a judge or magistrate in its first form is illeagle. just do as i have many times when pulled over ,make sure to tell the officer to print his name clearly on the fine so you can sue him for extortion.

    • Note to readers: When someone claims something is illegal because it’s not in the Constitution, you can generally assume that the person making the claim does not understand the Constitution. There’s a good detailed explication of a typical example here.

    • Outside of describing the wage the Govenor General will be paid, discussing original states and how many votes they get, rattling on about railway lines and customs and banning aboriginals from voting Australia’s constitution doesn’t really have much in it at all.

      More people should read it, just to be underwhelmed.

  • Am I the only one here who finds it ridiculous that anyone would actually believe that the phrase “tooting the horn” would be a sufficiently accurate legal description to make it in to legislation? Tooting. Really. Even if it is illegal under some circumstances, I’m pretty sure the language used would be a bit more proper, eg “Sounding a car horn or other warning device for a purpose other than warning other motorists or pedestrians of imminent danger caused by said vehicle.”

    These things are usually written by immature teenagers, and believed by bogans and idiots. See also: Mountain dew glow stick, Space Pen story (a.k.a. Russians just used a pencil) and “Microsoft is giving away free laptops to the first 500 people who share this status!!!”

  • According to that list you can be fined $44 for stopping at a stop sign or to give way at an intersection. And driving with loud music gets you 2 demerits, but someone sitting on your lap gets none…

  • I assumed nonsense the moment I saw ‘penalties’ spelt wrong in the title.
    Referring to is as ‘tooting’ the horn was another tell.

  • I’m totally fine (ha!) with all of these rules. Horn use is absurd and I can’t remember the last time I saw it used as a warning device (as opposed to an extension of attitude).

    My little pet hate is people sitting in neutral in the front row at the lights – it’s your responsibility to be ready to drive off when the lights change, not stuff around with putting the car back in gear, etc. Delays at lights affect traffic flow and annoy other drivers – be ready in front!


    • never mind sitting in neutral, a lot of cars have ‘stop/start’ technology now. their engine switches off when they are stationary. my mini cooper has it. japan started using it about 20 years ago.

  • I read a while ago of what was supposedly the quickest ever failed driving test (in South Australia). The person being tested drove up and honked the horn. The examiner walked out of the office, informed them honking the horn while stationary was illegal, and failed them before even entering the car.

    I think this was in the Book of Heroic Failures or a book along similar lines.

  • The horn fine thing is also reasonable for instances when it is used by idiot drivers to scare the crap out of cyclists because some cyclist somewhere was an idiot and the driver is being a hero and getting back at the cycling community. (And I’m sure the initial offense occurred – far too many cyclists think the road rules are only for cars, but that’s hardly relevant.)

    • Are you sure that isn’t a legitimate warning to the cyclist saying “Excuse me sir, it appears you are operating a vehicle incapable of doing the signposted speed limit on this road. You are barely visible and it’s lucky I saw you and was able to slow down in time. Now, you’re holding up traffic. Perhaps you should re-evaluate your choice of vehicle or route. Also, that Lycra makes you look ridiculous”.

      • It still baffles me how cyclists are allowed on the road and are classed as ‘vehicles’, yet cars can get booked for driving way under speed limit.

    • yes, we do realize.

      do you however realize that you can be fined for causing an obstruction by driving too slowly? around 20 kays under the limit is where you can get in trouble
      source? fine for doing 70 in a 100 zone

  • and the rules say ‘leave 3 seconds gap’, so at 80kph when the gap between cars squeezing into the left lane drops below about 67 metres, some cars should ‘pop out’ into hand lane. at 110kph it would be more like a minimum gap of about 92 metres if my mental arithmetic is correct.

  • ” you can even lose points off your licence in some states.” Not to nit-pick. But you don’t ‘lose’ points off your license, you gain demerits 🙂

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