Van spotted on Aussie road sparks debate: 'How is this legal?'

A commercial vehicle's design has had other drivers looking twice.

A company vehicle in Victoria has attracted attention on the roads with questions raised over its legality, but in a shock to locals it’s been given the seal of approval by Melbourne’s law enforcers.

Painted white, with a blue and white chequered pattern running along its sides, plenty of locals in Williamstown have been spooked into mistaking the van, which belongs to a cleaning company, for a police vehicle.

“Surely this can’t be legal, right?” someone wrote online. “How is this tradie vehicle not imitating a police vehicle?”

The vehicle looking like a police van and belonging to JPT Services, being driven down the road in Williamstown, Victoria.
The vehicle, belonging to JPT Services, has been spotted regularly around Williamstown according to a Reddit post. Source: Reddit/mrarbitersir (Reddit/mrarbitersir)

Double-take giving residents ‘mini heart attacks’

Other users on Reddit were quick to admit that they’d fallen for the same misconception.

“I've passed [this van] on the freeway a couple times and had a mini heart attack each time,” one person said. “Yep [I’ve] seen [it] around Willy a lot,” another commented. “Grabs attention but not for the right reasons. Should have been charged and changed a long time ago.”

“I saw this van down at the beach recently and thought the same,” someone else added. “Interestingly enough I saw an actual police car drive past it in the car park. They didn't seem to care about it but maybe they were busy with something more important.”

But others thought the gaffe was a great move if it encouraged people to be safer on the roads.

“If it makes even one muppet stop speeding and actually keep left unless overtaking, good,” one person wrote. “Great for exposure/advertising [but] also great for slowing other cars down,” said another. “Don't know if it's legal or not, but it sure gets a lot of attention when on the road!”

The JPT Services van with its blue and white chequered pattern.
Jason Thurley, the owner of JPT Services, said he has received lots of calls from customers who've spotted his van. Source: JPT Services (JPT Services)

Vehicle not in breach of laws

Williamstown Police confirmed to Yahoo News Australia on Tuesday afternoon that it had received reports of the vehicle but that it was “completely compliant” and not in breach of the Victorian Police Act, adding that its familiar design was “a nice deterrent.”

The owner of JPT Services, a commercial cleaning business based in Williamstown, said it certainly wasn't his intention to drive crime down, “but if that's happening, I think that's a positive".

Jason Thurley, who was in the Victorian Police force from 2010 to 2014, said he was just looking to help his company “stand out” when he picked the blue and white design.

“I thought to myself, what sparks people's attention?” he told Yahoo News Australia.

“And I thought, no matter where you are, what you're doing, you're always going to notice a police-type vehicle going past. Like you can be having the most interesting conversation with the best looking person in the world and you’ll always see something out of the corner of your eye that will attract your attention.”

He added that since he launched his new-look van a year ago, he’s been getting plenty of calls from locals who’ve spotted him out and about.

“So it really has paid for itself quite a few times over to tell you the truth,” he said. “And if I can kill two birds with one stone and get a bit of business out of it, and slow people down at the same time, well that's even better.”

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