Column

January Stock Journal Column: Signs keep stock, drivers safe

January 28, 2021

MOVING livestock across main roads can be a challenging and dangerous task which is why appropriate safety measures need to be taken into consideration to protect stock and staff.

There is currently no legislation in South Australia covering traffic control requirements for the movement of livestock.

The Civil Liability Act 1936 states any person who is responsible for the management and control of an animal must exercise care to ensure the animal does not cause a hazard to other road users.

The Highways Act 1926 also prohibits the movement of livestock along or across controlled access roads, except where transported by a motor vehicle.

The Department for Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has developed guidelines for the use of signs to warn motorists about the presence of livestock either crossing or travelling along a section of road.

Either temporary or permanent stock warning signs can be used depending on the frequency of livestock movement across a road.

Both temporary and permanent signs are only intended to warn drivers of the likelihood of livestock being on the road and do not impose any legal requirement on drivers, nor do they protect stockowners under the law of negligence.

Stockowners are encouraged to use temporary warning signs when stock is being moved in a controlled manner along or across roads.

Temporary signs can be placed temporarily on the shoulder of a road to warn approaching drivers of the hazard.

These signs are owned and supplied by the stockowner and should only be used when livestock are about to enter or are on the road.

The signs must be placed so they are visible from at least 200 metres by approaching motorists and 250 metres ahead of the actual stock being moved, to allow motorists sufficient time to react and slow down prior to reaching the stock.

The signs may need to be relocated as livestock move along the road so the occupied section of road is not more than five kilometres long at any one time.

Permanent livestock warning signs are installed by DPTI on roads where stock is moved along or across a road daily or if the road is unfenced.

An application to DPTI is required for this to occur and no signs may be permanently installed without approvals.

Drivers are expected to proceed safely past livestock using their own judgement in addition to any advice received by the stockowner.

The Road Traffic Rule 2018 permits the use of yellow flashing lights by producers when moving livestock.

The yellow light must be mounted on top of a vehicle and must be visible from all sides.

The use of yellow flashing lights is not compulsory, however is encouraged when livestock are being moved along the road reserve and are not clearly visible to a driver or where vehicles are used to move livestock where permanent stock warning signs are installed.

Producers are encouraged to contact the Livestock SA office if they have had any issues with moving livestock on roads.

ANDREW CURTIS, Chief Executive Officer, Livestock SA