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Speeding Fines and Demerit Points in Australia

Speeding fines in WA as at 1/1/2010:

Less than 9 km/h - $75 0 Demerit Points
10 km/h - 19 km/h - $150 2 Demerit Points
20 km/h - 29 km/h - $300 3 Demerit Points
30 km/h - 39 km/h - $700 5 Demerit Points
More than 40 km/h - $1000 7 Demerit Points

Source: RAC.com.au

The offence of exceeding the speed limit was sensibly created to improve road safety and offer guidance to Australian drivers. When it is applied with intelligence it can do exactly that, and indeed generally until about 1985 that's exactly what we had.

Much modern publicity suggests that perhaps 59.9 km/h is safe and legal, while doing 60.1 km/h (in a 60km/h zone) is dangerous and illegal. Many people accept the law at face value and condemn speeding drivers as dangerous. But thinking people all know that reality differs.

Sometimes 80km/h in a 70 km/h zone is a perfectly sensible speed. More frequently on other roads at other times 80 km/h is dangerously fast. But speed limits are by their very nature arbitrary. In almost all circumstances the speed limit is not the best speed to drive at. As local conditions vary the optimum speed varies too. For example on a foggy winters day with on a busy freeway a WA driver can legally travel at 100km/h, however most drivers are aware that travelling at this speed in that weather is not safe. On the other hand on a clear day on a quiet freeway, 100km/h seems very slow, most drivers can drive can drive comfortably over 110km/h in these conditions without any increased danger. Unfortunately driving at 110km/h on a clear day will get you a speeding ticket and driving at 100km/h on that foggy day will be classed as perfectly fine by the police. This concept of a driver being able to know what is a safe speed limit is called the 85th percentile rule.

This rule states that 85% of drivers facing no speed limits will drive at similar speeds due to their judgement on the conditions and road they are travelling on. With approximately 15% of people being unable to judge what speed they should travel at. The fact that 15% of people cannot perceive what the safe limit to drive is a good argument for the enforcement of speed limits, and better driver education / stricter license testing. However, the issues arise when incompetent councilors are responsible for setting what speed limits are. The limits often tend to be ridiculous and cause frustration for many drivers. What many drivers feel would be beneficial to everyone would be for qualified traffic engineers to set traffic speeds, these people will understand the 85th percentile rule and can set a safe speed limit for a road.

Secondly police need to be taught when they should issue a speeding ticket, for example a car caught doing 110km/h on a clear freeway would be let off however a car caught doing 60 km/h near a school at 3:30 pm should get a ticket. Unfortunately this is unlikely to happen as governments seem to enjoy frustrating drivers by erecting speed cameras everywhere and anywhere to catch drivers out. This makes it look like many governments do this as a form of income and it has been shown that some speed cameras can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars for a government. They truly are a cash cow for many governments whilst they scam as much money out for drivers as possible.

Due to the increasing number of speed cameras many drivers have had to resort to using Speed Camera Detectors to avoid getting caught out. This is not because drivers want to break the law; it is purely to allow them to drive with peace of mind without getting a speed ticket every time they go down a road that has just had a new camera set up.

It has been proven that camera detectors actually improve safety for driver, as without them they spend time looking out for speed signs or cameras when they should be concentrating on the road.

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Speeding Fine Articles:
Firefighters fined for speeding to blazes

April 04, 2008 source: The Daily Telegraph

Fire Fighters are being issued speeding tickets by the NSW Government for rushing to life-threatening emergencies in fire engines.

In an astounding case of bureaucracy gone mad, the Government is sending infringement notices to the homes of individual fire truck drivers.

It is then left up to the officers to sign statutory declarations or take the matter to court to avoid paying fines.

Workers are threatening to refuse to speed or break any road rules on their way to incidents unless the Government immediately overturns the rule.

Previously, all infringements by fire brigade vehicles on call were simply struck off by the brigade's chief legal officer and police pulled the penalty.

However, the infringements are now passed all the way down to the drivers, who have to prove they were responding to emergencies.

The Daily Telegraph has obtained two penalty notices, each for $238, issued to drivers responding to separate incidents on one day in February.

The State Debt Recovery Office proceeded to issue the fines even though the licence number on the infringement notice itself clearly identifies the vehicle as a fire truck.

The Fire Brigade Employees Union said the situation beggared belief and it has issued a directive that members refuse to pay.

"It's bureaucracy gone mad," secretary Simon Flynn said. "It's the Government fining itself, then spending a massive amount of money to sort out that it doesn't need to pay its own fines.

"We think it's ridiculous and if the Government doesn't fix it, we'll be telling our members to drive to road rules when they go to emergencies."

As it stands now, firefighters could be forced to take time off work to challenge fines in court, leading to staffing shortages.

Not only that, the Government would be obliged to pay officers hundreds of dollars in overtime.

NSW Fire Brigades said it was simply complying with the law.

A spokeswoman said that, under current traffic legislation, all employers with company vehicles that commit a traffic infringement had to receive a penalty notice.

"The legislation requires employers to declare the driver of the offending vehicle by completing the statutory declaration, which is attached to the penalty notice," she said. "The NSWFB, like all State Government departments, adheres to these requirements."

The spokeswoman said the NSWFB's current procedure was to forward the penalty notice to the relevant zone commander, who could determine the driver at the time of the offence, and it was the responsibility of the zone commander to complete the statutory declaration and return it to the senior legal officer.

However, the notices obtained by The Daily Telegraph prove the fines have been passed on to individual drivers.

The spokeswoman conceded there might be a need for improvement and said the process would be reviewed.

"The NSWFB will continue to review current procedures for processing traffic infringement penalty notices and will implement ongoing improvements as required," she said.

Speeding shame: WA Mps rack up speeding fines 8/3/08 - source

West Australian politicians racked up thousands of dollars in speeding fines last year in their taxpayer-funded cars, a special Freedom of Information probe revealed.

But the Government has refused to reveal the names of the MPs, though The Sunday Times has discovered they include Attorney-General Jim McGinty and Liberal leader Troy Buswell.

The Sunday Times has obtained copies of 34 traffic-infringement notices, under a Freedom of Information application.

In some cases our lawmakers -- who talk tough about road safety -- were driving nearly 30km over the speed limit, reaching speeds of up to 124km/h and copping $500 fines as a result.
[Of course if it were a P-Plater, we'd have heard (yet another) storing all about hoons and how they are dangerous drivers, but why then does the government try and hide these from the public? Keep reading below]

The lead-foot pollies paid nearly $7000 in fines last year for offences in 2006 and 2007.

One politician was caught speeding on Christmas Eve and another MP was nabbed on New Year's Day -- holiday periods when politicians urge the public need to drive safely.

The FOI application by The Sunday Times was initially rejected. The Department of Premier and Cabinet would only confirm 34 politicians had copped speeding fines. After an appeal, an internal review was conducted and more details were released.
[Information like this is sickening. The lengths the government will do to hide the facts from the public, all along screaming speed kills, yet try and BLOCK the public from finding the government employees committing the same crimes they speak so harshly about. 30km/h over the speed limit? That government employee should have been SACKED IMMEDIATELY]

The department refused to release the names of the errant MPs, citing their right to privacy. However, several owned up after being canvassed by The Sunday Times.

They include Attorney-General Jim McGinty, Liberal leader Troy Buswell, Liberal deputy leader Kim Hames, Energy Minister Fran Logan, shadow treasurer Steve Thomas and Local Government Minister Ljiljianna Ravlich.

In a day of confessions:

  • Mr Hames admitted getting two speeding tickets for doing 77km/h in a 70km/h zone and 87km/h in an 80km/h zone near Mandurah.
  • Mr Thomas admitted being pinged for doing 120km/h in a 110km/h stretch on the Old Coast Rd
  • Mr Logan admitted being fined $100 and losing one demerit point for exceeding the 90km/h speed limit on the Perth to Yanchep road by between 10km/h and 19km/h in 2006
  • Ms Ravlich admitted receiving a $100 fine and losing one demerit point for doing 70km/h in a 60km/h zone on Stirling Highway
  • Mr Buswell admitted receiving speeding tickets in October and December 2006. He said he lost no demerit points for speeding in December, but lost one point for doing 90km/h in an 80km/h zone near Mandurah.

Mr McGinty said he could not remember details of his driving offence.

"Obviously we all have to be mindful of the road rules but from time-to-time people do exceed the speed limit and politicians are no different to others,'' Mr Buswell said.
[Exactly! People do (from time to time) exceed the speed limits without intention. Most of these times they are concentrating on the road in front of them, not on the speedo. Does this make them dangerous or unsafe drivers? Of course not! This is just another reason why radar detectors are useful devices. They keep you alert and remind you to check your speed. Why else have radar detector owners had some 32% fewer accidents than non-users? Because they are concentrating on the dangers ahead and being constantly reminded to check their speed.]

But Premier Alan Carpenter said he had not had any speeding fines in two years, and politicians should lead by example.

"The simple message is that speed kills and politicians should be leading by example,' he said. [It may be the simple message, but it is the wrong message. Exceeding the speed limit is only a factor in 12% of fatal crashes, and 5% of all crashes].

Driving too fast for the conditions is a factor in 17% of fatal crashes and 12% of all crashes - as cited by the Manager of Road safety research at VicRoads from 1990 - 1994 in his letter below

  "I was Manager Road safety research at VicRoads from 1990 - 1994 and I am an expert in speed, speeding and crashes. Exceeding the speed limit is a factor in 12% of fatal crashes, and 5% of all crashes. And driving too fast for the conditions is a factor in 17% of fatal crashes and 12% of all crashes. Interestingly excellent USA research has shown that distraction is probably a factor in 65% or more of crashes - yet GB police only identify it as a factor in 2% of all crashes! And there are USA reports supporting that of the 20%-30% of crashes where speed is a factor, in only 5% is exceeding the speed limit the issue.
Regards John Lambert
MIEAust, CPEng 180785, Member ASME
Bachelor of Engineering (University of Melbourne), ARMIT (Mechanical)
Director and Company Secretary
John Lambert & Associates Pty Ltd
ACN 090 833 873
Member NSW Engineering Certification Scheme
235 Wandana Drive, Wandana Heights, Victoria, Australia 3216
 

 

"I hope those caught learned a valuable lesson.''

Police Minister John Kobelke agreed that the state's lawmakers needed to practice what they preached.

"Politicians as community leaders need to set an example, even if some of us fail from time to time,'' he said.

"Those who break the law will pay the appropriate penalty.''

But Road Safety Council independent chair Grant Dorrington took a more sympathetic view.

Mr Dorrington, who confessed to having lost his licence at 18 when he reversed into a car, said politicians were no different to anyone else and made mistakes.

"I think MPs are only human,'' he said. "They are just ordinary people given positions in parliament.

"At times, you can lose your concentration and be five or 6km over. "The real issue is people who do it (speeding) regularly.''

The FOI findings also revealed delays in issuing speeding tickets. It had taken police five months to send out some notices.

Assistant Commissioner of Police John McRoberts this week called for infringement management and speed camera operations to be privatised.

"We don't believe they are core police functions,'' he said.

"We also believe that another government department or agency or a private company is better suited to this function.''

Tough new laws for NSW street racing hoons
4/12/07 - source news.com.au

Street racing hoons and idiots who do burn-outs will be sent to jail for risking the lives of innocent motorists, under tough new laws.

Hoons will also be stripped of their licences for up to 12 months and fines for street racing and burn-outs trebled, the State Government will announce today.

The deaths of elderly grandparents Alan and Judith Howle, who were killed by street racers in July, sparked the crackdown by the State Government.

In the days after the Howles were killed on the Great Western Highway at St Marys The Daily Telegraph launched a campaign for street racers to be sent to jail.

After a Government review of laws, the jail free party has been declared over for the hoons who will be sent to prison for up to nine months if convicted of a second offence.

Police will also be given the power to strip licences on the spot and offenders face being taken off the road for 12 months.

Fines will be increased to up to $3300 for street racing and aggravated burn-outs or doughnuts.

The hoons would be better off in the WA police force!

   
     
 

The "hoon" police officer who was filmed doing burn-outs in a police car has been returned to full duties because he did nothing illegal.

Western Australia Police have re-instated the 30-year-old constable after an internal investigation found that he did not commit any traffic offences during an “exhibition”, Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said.

“Whilst I accept that the driving was done in good faith, the officer should have sought permission to use a police car in such a manner,” Commissioner O’Callaghan said.

The constable performed the burnouts during the North Midlands Agricultural Show in September, and after the footage became widely viewed on the internet the officer was stood down during a subsequent investigation.

The internal investigation carried out by the Mid West–Gascoyne Police District office has found that he did not commit any traffic offences during his driving “exhibition” as it was in a “closed and controlled area”.

The investigation also looked at any potential dangers to the community and the officers inside the police car.

And while I acknowledge the strong support from the Carnamah community for this officer, I maintain that those images posted on the internet did not send the wider community the right message about hoon driving,” the Commissioner said.

WA Police said that the officer has been counselled about this incident and may face some other internal management action.

He was reinstated to operational duties this afternoon and is expected to return to work immediately.

 

"Car hoons will not only face losing their vehicles but also their liberty," Police Minister David Campbell said yesterday.

"There is a very clear message to hoons that if they want to put lives at risk on our roads they will face being locked up."

Under current laws, announced since the Howles died, second time offenders would also have their cars permanently confiscated and in extreme cases the vehicles will be used in RTA crash test experiments.

The Howles' son-in-law Darren Tuma welcomed the news. "At the end of the day something needs to happen and at least the Government is being proactive," he said last night.

Street racers had been escaping jail time with the offence previously only attracting a 12 month licence disqualification, suspension of their car and a $2200 fine. Hoons only faced jail if they were caught committing an even more serious offence such as colliding with another car or injuring another motorist or pedestrian.

Robert James Borkowski, the alleged street racer who crashed into the Howles, was facing jail on a manslaughter charge. He was also charged with illegal street racing but faced only a fine on that charge. Fines for first time offenders caught doing aggravated burn-outs will blow out from $770 to $3300.

Crooked Politician leads into investigation into second traffic blue?
21/9/07 - source brisbanetimes.com.au

Liberal leader Bruce Flegg has called for an investigation into a second occasion last year when former Transport Minister Paul Lucas may have let his parliamentary driver may take the rap for a traffic offence.

Mr Lucas this week admitted his driver mistakenly paid a speeding fine, when in fact Mr Lucas himself was driving his ministerial car at 71kmh in a 60kmh zone in April last year.

Mr Lucas told a media conference yesterday he may have been driving on Sunday, August 27 last year when his car ran a red light at the intersection of Ipswich Rd and Cornwall St at Annerley.

On that Sunday, his diary includes notes that his children had sports events at Wynnum and then at Graceville.

As a Minister, Mr Lucas is entitled to drive his car on weekends and told the media conference he frequently did.

He said he did not believe he was driving on August 27 when the car ran the a red light.

A spokesman for Mr Lucas said: "The driver believes he was driving the vehicle when the incident occurred."

Dr Flegg, who has called on the Crime and Misconduct Commission to investigate, said the vehicle log should make it clear who was driving the vehicle at the time on August 27, 2006.

"It is hard to believe that Minister Lucas and a professional driver are unaware of the whereabouts or the driver of a government vehicle provided for them under a set of strict guidelines," he said

"It would be commonplace to keep a log or a record of the use of such vehicles and Mr Lucas' convoluted explanations now look even more unbelievable."

He said the issue was not about a person's driving behaviour, but about government accountability.

"The latest revelation that Mr Lucas may have avoided the penalty for running a red light suggests that this problem is more than just an honest mistake and requires further investigation.

"I have further written to the CMC to ask for investigation of this latest admission." His driver admitted yesterday to paying for a red light ticket for his boss earlier in 2006 on April 15, 2006.

Bracks' Son faces two extra charges - 28/7/07
source: www.news.com.au

NICK Bracks is expected to be charged with speeding and careless driving as well as drink-driving over the car crash that influenced his father's shock resignation.

Steve Bracks' eldest son spent time with friends at the family's Williamstown home as his dad dropped the political bombshell yesterday. Dressed in black

jeans, Nick, 20, looked relaxed as he left the home at lunchtime. He smiled and said he was "not bad" as he left the house in a car full of mates, but he would not comment on his father's decision.

Police are finalising the case against Nick over an alleged drink-driving crash on July 13. After a big night drinking, an old family car driven by Nick allegedly jumped a traffic island and smashed into a tree, injuring his passenger mate Huw Wilson.

The car was a write-off and Nick later recorded a blood-alcohol reading of .129. He will be charged on summons with drink-driving.

The Herald Sun has learned police are preparing further charges of speeding and careless driving.After the accident, an emotional Steve Bracks said he felt he had failed as a parent and yesterday he conceded the drama had influenced his resignation. "It's not the only reason that I'm making the decision, but it helped me make the decision," Mr Bracks said.

The incident was the latest in a string of alcohol-related mishaps involving the Bracks children. In April daughter Amy, then 17, was treated in hospital after allegedly drinking too much. Last year Nick tried to smuggle liquor into Olympic Park, and in 2005 he fell unconscious after an apparent drink-spiking incident at Lorne. He recently declared on his MySpace site that he had dropped out of university.

Yesterday a neighbour told of being woken by a loud party at the home in June 2005, when she believed Mr and Mrs Bracks were overseas. "It was about 4am and they (teenagers) were coming in and out of that house," said the neighbour. Police said they had fielded complaints of noise at the address in the past.

Referring to his family yesterday, Mr Bracks said the events of the recent weeks had played a part in his decision to quit. "The truth is they did, but only in confirming my course, not in setting it," he said.

There was no mistaking Mr Bracks's popularity in his electorate of Williamstown. Friends and supporters sent flowers to the family home and dropped greeting cards in the mail box. One neighbour said: "It's nice for him, but bad for the state." Said another: "He's a great family man. He works all the hours God made and we're going to miss him as our local member."

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TRAFFIC fines fail to deter most offenders, Tasmania's deputy chief magistrate says.
August 06, 2007 source:news.com.au

Magistrate Michael Hill said that fining those who break traffic laws was not very effective.

"They (fines) have a limited use because there is a significant number (of offenders) who are financially not well off," he said.

He said those on benefits were often unable to pay fines.

"To some extent fining these people is counter-productive," he said.

Mr Hill said it could also be quite difficult for magistrates to assess an offender's capacity to pay.

His comments follow the State Government's decision last month to consider raising speeding fines.

The Road Safety Task Force is reviewing speeding penalties, which Infrastructure Minister Jim Cox said were the lowest in the country. In a wide-ranging interview on sentencing traffic offenders, Mr Hill said measures such as random breath testing proved more effective.

"Fear of detection is the biggest deterrent," he said.

He said licence disqualification was also a powerful weapon for magistrates to use in sentencing.

Magistrate Hill said if the funding was available, the courts could have a role to play in reducing recidivism through education.

He said the courts would be open to measures such as diverting re-offenders into education programs before they could get their licence back. But he is against zero-tolerance sentences against traffic offenders.

"It's too open for injustices to happen," he said.

He said a blanket penalty, such as immediate imprisonment for all drink-drivers, did not take into account individual circumstances.

Magistrate Hill said the courts considered the context surrounding each offence.

"In the general thrust of things, magistrates work with heavy lists but are very conscious of the individuals that come up," he said.

He said the courts had the discretion to take into account criminal history, family situations, employment and the circumstances surrounding the offence.

But he said magistrates were also bound to work within the boundaries of what Parliament had legislated.

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Truckers fume over Speeding fines - 14/5/07 source: couriermail.com.au
Queensland truckers are swamping the State Government with a deluge of official complaints against thousands of driving offences they claim are fake or frivolous.

The industry says the only way to get its message across is to conduct an orchestrated campaign to cost the Government millions of dollars in lost bureaucratic time. Hundreds of thousands of forms requesting a review of an infringement have been distributed to drivers and it has been estimated each would cost $650 to process.

The angry drivers claim they have become the victims of an overzealous police force that is obsessed with revenue raising.

They claim they are being hit with hefty fines for offences that do not exist and have been fined for frivolous logbook infringements.

Australian Long Distance Owners and Drivers Association vice-president Peter Schuback said drivers were being encouraged to complain about every questionable fine.

"The aim is to make sure the Department of Transport knows what is going on out there," he said.

Premier Peter Beattie yesterday urged the drivers to back down.

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Drivers contest speed fines - 16/5/07 source: geelongadvertiser.com.au
Angry motorists are being forced to pay hefty speeding fines because of ongoing problems with highway speed-checking devices, a court has heard.

Three motorists appeared in Geelong Magistrates' Court yesterday, each initially prepared to fight fines received on the Melbourne-bound Princes Freeway at Avalon Rd Overpass last year. Colleen Stephens told magistrate Terry Wilson that at the time she checked her speedo and it read 100km/h. But the highway speed check had her travelling at only 93 km/h.

``When the speed check sign said 93km/h and my car said 100km/h I felt I could speed up,'' she said. Ms Stephens said she received three traffic infringement notices all about the same time and from the same spot.

``One of those was withdrawn and when no one would tell me why it had been withdrawn it stirred my curiosity,'' she said.

Ms Stephens said she wrote to the Department of Justice about the speed check sign, inquiring as to how often it was checked and who was responsible for its accuracy.

``They said it was checked every six months and had to be within 2 per cent of the speed camera,'' she said.

``They would not tell me when the speed check was last tested and I have since written to Freedom of Information to find out.''

Ms Stephens said that while in her case the speed check showed a discrepancy of 7km/h, a recent observation on her part showed the same speed check as having a discrepancy of 9km/h.

Andrew Giftakopoulos said he received six speeding notices in the mail on the same day last year.

``All were from the Avalon Rd Overpass and three were marked withdrawn,'' he said.

``I tried to find out why three were withdrawn but no one would tell me."

``I told the traffic camera office I would be taking the matters to court and fighting them.

``Today I found out that the demerit points had already been added to my licence even though the matter hadn't been heard.''

Mr Giftakopoulos said he regularly travelled the Princes Highway for work and regularly checked his speedo with the overhead speed check.

``If it is out, then it's bordering on extortion,'' he said. Mr Giftakopoulos said he did not believe he was speeding, but after looking at his options felt he had no choice.

``If I fight, it will be difficult to prove and today I learned it will cost me about $1200 to get an expert to give evidence,'' he said.

``I can't afford that sort of money but if I don't fight it, I cop the fine and demerit points.''

Ms Stephens, Mr Giftakopoulos and a third man Justin Meggs in the end pleaded guilty.

Ms Stephens' charge was found proven and dismissed.

Mr Giftakopoulos was without conviction fined $365.

Mr Meggs was without conviction fined $100.

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A New South Wales police officer is due to appear in court in February this year, charged with dangerous driving in his Highway Patrol Car.

Police say the charges relate to an incident in last January when the officer allegedly exceeded the speed limit on the F6 freeway, south of Sydney in excess of 200km/h

Channel 7 has reported the officer was recorded driving at 245km/h despite no emergency existing, or having a priority clearance permitting him to travel at speeds in excess of the PSL.

Channel 7 are also investigating whether this incident is similar to the one in Tuggerah Lakes, where the police officer took a girl on a joy ride, then tried wipe the ICV file when he got back to erase the records on the car's computer.

He was caught by a police audit of his car's computer system rather than by radar or speed cameras, Seven reported.

Police said the officer was immediately investigated after an internal complaint was made to senior police.

The officer was removed from his position and placed on restricted duties.

He was charged with two counts of speeding in a dangerous manner and two counts of exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h.

The officer first appeared in Sutherland Local Court in July last year and is due to return to court on February 5

What are his fellow coppers saying?

Quote: "I think he might be able to stay in the job. Definitely not in HWP any more though. Maybe if he has smart representation he might be able to negotiate an exceed speed, not a speed dangerous, if there is a backup charge of course. Otherwise if he has good representation, why couldn't he beat the speed dangerous-after all, he's in a marked HWP vehicle and HWP trained. The fact that he's doing it for non police purposes doesn't necessarily mean its dangerous......Not that I'm supporting his actions though."

Moral of the story?

"Speeding is dangerous, unless you’re a police officer trying to impress a couple of chicks."

 

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