Sometimes when taking a road trip, you may realize you’re at risk of falling asleep while driving. So, to avoid a car accident, you decide to pull over at a truck stop or rest area to sleep for a bit instead of wasting money staying at a hotel for less than a day.
However, are you allowed to sleep at truck stops in Australia?
In most areas in Australia, sleeping at truck stops is perfectly legal as long as you don’t do it for excessive periods or park in spots designated specifically for truck drivers or other customers. Some areas have specific laws or guidelines regarding sleeping at truck stops.
In this article, I’ll go into detail about the laws and regulations about sleeping at truck stops and how to be safe when doing so.
Rules For Sleeping At Truck Stops In Australia
It’s okay to sleep at most truck stops in Australia as long as it’s not over 24 hours. Some truck stops have a limit of only a few hours, so make sure you pay attention when stopping at one. Make sure you’re in a designated parking spot as well.
Some states in Australia have stricter rules regarding sleeping at truck stops than others do.
According to Lawpath, there’s no federal law regarding this subject, so the individual states in Australia decide it.
New South Wales
It’s perfectly legal to sleep in your vehicle in New South Wales at a truck stop. This state encourages drivers to pull over and sleep if they begin to be too tired while driving. They would rather them be safe instead of trying not to fall asleep.
They make sure that an individual’s stay isn’t super extended. Make sure you get some sleep and then head back to the road. Most truck stops in New South Wales have posted signs with parking limits on them so that drivers know how long their stay can be.
As of 2022, sleeping in your vehicle at a truck stop is legal in Victoria. However, they’re working on trying to get those laws changed to where it is prohibited to sleep anywhere in your vehicle overnight. So, if you decide to sleep in your car, make sure and look up the laws in that area to avoid a fine.
Queensland has stringent laws regarding this situation. Per the City of Brisbane Act 2010, they require that you stay at a designated campground even if you’re sleeping in your vehicle. If you’re caught sleeping in your vehicle, you’ll get a fine and possibly be prosecuted.
Can You Sleep In Your Vehicle At A Truck Stop To Avoid Driving Under The Influence?
You can’t sleep in your vehicle to avoid driving under the influence. Even if you are not driving, if law enforcement were to see you, they could still prosecute you because it still shows intent on driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Being in your vehicle with possession of the keys while being under the influence doesn’t make you look innocent. So, to avoid getting in trouble with law enforcement, make sure you have a plan on where to stay if you are over the legal limit to drive.
Great Truck Stops To Stop And Sleep At
Now that we’ve covered some guidelines and which areas have laws prohibiting sleeping in your vehicle, let’s get into some great truck stops that you can sleep at.
Keep in mind that some truck stops have designated spots for only truck drivers, and if you park in these spots, you can face a fine. The fine for doing so is usually $100 or more. This rule started being implemented in 2020.
Also, some truck stops are for truck drivers only, so make sure you check before taking a nap at one.
Emmdale Roadhouse – New South Wales
The Emmdale Roadhouse truck stop is a great place to stop. They have great food, snacks, and highly rated coffee. The truck stop also has a store with some travelling necessities.
This truck stop does have beds, but that is a perk only if you’re a truck driver. However, sleeping in your vehicle shouldn’t be a problem.
Cowan Rest Area – New South Wales
The Cowan rest area is more of a basic truck stop, and it isn’t as fancy as the Emmdale Roadhouse. However, it does have a lot of spaces available for numerous trucks and cars, 60 spots to be exact, and isn’t too far from the highway. It’s free to stay there for two hours.
Even though it doesn’t have shops or restaurants right at the truck stop, there are plenty of cafes and other eateries only a few minutes away.
Hattah Roadhouse – Victoria
The Hattah Roadhouse truck stop has everything you need. They welcome all types of travellers, from truck drivers to tourists, and have plenty of spaces for numerous guests. There’s great food, snacks, coffee, and a spot to get fuel before hitting the road.
For now, sleeping at this truck stop is allowed, but as mentioned before, keep an eye out if the laws get changed.
BP Barnawartha – Victoria
The BP Barnawartha truck stop is open to all vehicles, and you get a great view of the mountain while you’re there. The truck stop has a shop on site with various merchandise. There are also plenty of food options and a place to get fuel before heading back onto the road.
Sleeping in your vehicle at a truck stop is allowed in most places in Australia. Queensland prohibits sleeping at truck stops by non-truck drivers. At truck stops in New South Wales and Victoria, make sure you don’t park in a spot designated for only truck drivers because you could receive a fine of $100 or more.
Never sleep in your car while under the influence because you could still get prosecuted with intent to drive for being behind the wheel in possession of the keys. When sleeping at a truck stop, make sure it’s not for excessive amounts of time.
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