Young driver leaning on a Toyota Ute bonnet in the bush
Our community

Your views Feb/March 2021

Our readers share their thoughts on travelling with pets, number plates and oncoming traffic, while others have their questions answered by one of our car experts.

Dogs on the road

Elaine Duggan, Newstead

After your article about the safety of dogs travelling in your car, it brings to mind my experience while travelling overseas and the acceptance of dogs in hotels, planes (in a dog carrier in the cabin at your feet), in fact everywhere. It is such a shame that responsible owners are not allowed to travel and stay in accommodation with them. It could be of great benefit to tourism if this practice was adopted. We have a dog and find it very difficult at times to have her minded while we travel within Tasmania.

Plates please

Derek Tite, Ulverstone

As a driver for the past 66 years, I was always under the impression that number plates had to be clearly visible at all times. Lately I have noticed many vehicles with the rear number plate obscured (letters and number scratched out). This makes them hard to detect. Is this legal? If not, then why do the police not fine the owners, and also allow the vehicle to be driven?

Our response

In Tasmania, it’s an offence for an object to obscure or reduce visibility of a number plate. Also, number plates mustn’t have any features that prevent them from being photographed by a photographic detection device.

Cutting corners

Paul Haigh, Launceston

I strongly agree with John Spence's concerns with oncoming traffic cutting corners. I moved to Launceston 15 years ago and enjoy the courtesy and patience of most drivers in the north. My biggest safety concern when travelling up the West Tamar Highway is the regular occurrence of oncoming traffic with part of the vehicle in my lane when coming head on around blind corners. Can there be an information and education blitz on this like the 1.5 metres for cyclists campaign?

Questions for our car medic


I’ve lost the spare fob for my five-year-old Camry. Can I buy a new one off eBay or do I have to go through Toyota? George Nguyen, Hobart


Generally speaking, vehicle remote key fobs can't be programmed to the car by the owner. Vehicle security and immobilisation is an area that is extremely hard to interrogate and even RACT Roadside Patrols can’t manipulate these systems. Because of the sophisticated equipment required for reprogramming, it's going to have to be a locksmith or the dealer for it to work.

We wouldn’t recommend getting a key or fob off the internet. Let the locksmith or the dealer supply it, as the actual key fob cost is likely to be the smallest part of your bill. The major expense is the programming – if you don't have any keys you might expect to pay anything from $500 to double that, depending on the vehicle type. Things are usually a fair bit cheaper, though, if you still have one key fob that works, as these can be replicated more easily. Grant Page, RACT Roadside Patrol