Carrying too many potatoes in your car was illegal in Australia as recently as 2021

The law banning the carriage of more than 50kg of spuds could see motorists issued with a $2000 fine and remained in force by one Australian state up until last year.

Who doesn’t love an obscure road rule?

We all know – or should know – that it’s illegal to honk your horn for any reason, giving pause to reasonably ask the question, ‘what is a car horn’s for, then?’.

Similarly, driving a vehicle too slowly is also considered an offence in all states and territories of Australia. Driving with a dog in your lap, leaving your car door unlocked and/or your car’s window open even just a fraction can attract the ire of local constabulary in some states including Queensland, South Australia Victoria, the ACT and Northern Territory.

In New South Wales, driving through a puddle and splashing pedestrians waiting patiently for a bus at a bus stop is also a no-go. No mention, though, if it’s similarly illegal to splash pedestrians NOT waiting at a bus stop. Is being considerate of others and being a decent human being limited to public transport users?

But, our favourite obscure, and by obscure we actually mean WTF? road rule pertains to the humble potato.

Under the Marketing of Potatoes Act 1946, it was illegal for anyone to sell, purchase, take delivery of and deliver more than 50kg of everybody’s favourite tuber. Those provisions included carrying that amount in your vehicle unless you were a member of the Potato Corporation or an authorised agent of said Corporation.

Offenders suspected of carrying more than 50kg of spuds could be stopped, have their vehicles searched and be issued with fines ranging from $2000 for a first offence up to $5000 for subsequent offences with the added kicker of an additional penalty up to twice the value of the amount of the spud contraband being carried.

While this sounds like an archaic law – and it is – it’s worth noting the Act applied to all states and Territories of Australia although was gradually repealed.

Except, Western Australia, which always likes to do things a bit differently. The lawmakers of WA steadfastly maintained it was illegal to carry more than the proscribed amount of spuds in your vehicle until May 2021.

Yes, that’s right, as recently as the middle of last year, when WA finally repealed the Act of 1946, you were breaking the law if you popped down to your local supermarket and loaded up your trolley with 51 one kilo bags of potatoes, stacked them in the boot of your car before hitting the road. Criminals, the lot of you.

What’s your favourite potato-based dish. Recipes in the comments below, please.

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