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The truth about ‘illegal’ car snacks revealed

<p>Be it a long haul trip between towns, a coastal getaway, or an early morning Saturday sports run to the local oval, drivers all across Australia have found themselves steering to the drive-through or reaching in the Esky for a much-needed snack. </p> <p>And while rumours have swirled for years that such an act could put hungry drivers behind bars, they don’t have to fear any longer. Road rules may differ from state to state, but at the end of the drive, the answer remains the same: it isn’t illegal to eat while driving in Australia. </p> <p>There are, of course, various conditions that come along with the ruling, and most circle back to whether or not a driver is in complete control over their vehicle at the time of snacking. </p> <p>For example, in New South Wales, if you are found to have lost control of your vehicle due to eating, police officers have the power to impose a fine of $481 and three demerit points. </p> <p>In Victoria, there is no specific rule that prevents drivers from digging in on their drive. However, they can still receive a careless driving charge if eating is found to have a negative impact on either their concentration or their control over their vehicle. This charge comes with a penalty of $444 and - like New South Wales - three demerit points, as well as a maximum of 12 court penalty units if the driver is found guilty by a magistrate. </p> <p>The state of Queensland follows suit - it isn’t illegal there either, though “distracted driving” remains a real threat, with research even determining that eating can be just as dangerous as texting while behind the wheel. And drivers found to be travelling without control over their vehicles can face a fine of up to $575. While this is larger than either New South Wales or Victoria’s financial penalty, the demerit point cost remains the same at three. </p> <p>As a spokesperson for Queensland Transport and Main Roads told <em>Drive</em>, “a driver must always have proper control of their vehicle and drive with care and attention for the safety of other road users.</p> <p>"While there are no specific laws prohibiting a driver from eating while driving, it is up to the driver to ensure they remain in proper control of their vehicle and sufficiently alert to the road environment."</p> <p>And for drivers in the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia, and South Australia, <em>Drive</em> have reported that the message essentially remains the same. While there are no rules that specifically prohibit behind-the-wheel snacking, a driver can - and will - face penalties if they are found to be demonstrating poor control of their vehicle.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Australia’s top towns revealed

<p dir="ltr">A study has compared 752 small Australian towns and crowned the 36 at the top of the pack. </p> <p dir="ltr">The study was <a href="">published by <em>The Australian</em></a>, and saw demographer Bernard Salt consider criteria such as unemployment, diversity, median income, technical skill, and education across the 752 towns in his mission to declare the best of the best in each Australian state and territory. </p> <p dir="ltr">More specifically, Salt looked at towns that: </p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Earn more than $1,282 per a week household median income</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Less than 5.1 per cent unemployment</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 15 per cent attained university education</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 36 per cent with technical (trade) skill</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 12 per cent workforce owner/manager</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">No less than 14 per cent born overseas</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">At least 17 per cent volunteer</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">At least 14 per cent provide unpaid care e.g., for example to a relative</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 59 per cent have no long-term health condition</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 6.5 hours per a week in unpaid domestic housework</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Salt’s findings revealed a town in each state and territory that was “drawn from a list of 36 finalists that survive most of the filters”, and ultimately declared to be a step above the rest. </p> <p dir="ltr">For Queensland, Tamborine Mountain came out on top. </p> <p dir="ltr">For the Northern Territory, it was Nhulunbuy. </p> <p dir="ltr">For South Australia, Mount Barker. </p> <p dir="ltr">Western Australia, Dunsborough. </p> <p dir="ltr">Victoria, Bright. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tasmania, Legana. </p> <p dir="ltr">And last but not least, Kiama took the trophy for New South Wales, as well as bragging rights as “the standout overall.” </p> <p dir="ltr">“In the modern era, say the 2020s and beyond, I think that small-town Australia, as well as big-city Australia, needs skills, training, entrepreneurial energy and a measure of diversity to deliver opportunity to residents,” said the founder of The Demographics Group.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What this exercise shows is that across the continent Australians want more or less the same thing when it comes to living in a small town,” Salt went on, “proximity to a capital or major regional city; a tree-change or a sea-change environment; or, better still, all three criteria jammed within a single location offering views and amenity.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Australian people have spoken through their collective responses to the census,” he concluded. “Sea-change, tree-change, big-city access and a place of their own within which they can potter about and steadily make improvements, while also volunteering, caring, and making a contribution to the local community. That is the essence of small-town Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And of course if you disagree with the metrics and the logic of how the top towns were selected, then you are free to <a href="">jump on to the website</a>, access the model, switch around the metrics and come up with your own version of Australia’s top towns. Hours of fun for the demographically inclined.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty </em></p>

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