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Prince Charles - (QUOTE):
"The whole of the 20th century has always put the car at the centre. So by putting the pedestrian first, you create these liveable places I think, with more attraction and interest and character ... liveability."
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17th  March 2003

 

Manager, Customer Education and Compliance

PO Box K198

Haymarket

NSW 1238

 

Review of Fines and Demerit Points

NRMA congratulates the Government on undertaking the review of the current fines and demerit point system. The recommended changes will make for a simpler, more consistent and credible system.

 

As NRMA stated (2002) in its Call for Comment The NSW Demerit Points Scheme, demerit points and fines should reflect the safety risk of the offence. It is NRMA’s view (supported by our member research) that offences which cause harm or risk to others should incur demerit points, while offences that are traffic nuisance related, should be addressed through fines.

 

Noted below are infringements that NRMA wishes to highlight and requests the RTA reconsider to ensure consistency and credibility of the demerit point and fine system.

 

Infringement

Commentary

Recommendation

Speeding through worksites

Credibility of worksite speed zones is questionable due to the frequent practice of leaving out signs when no work is being carried out.

 

For the credibility of the system, it is vital that work signs come down when work is not being undertaken.

Do not introduce special category.

 

Retain existing penalties for speeding offences.

 

Stopping Offences

Fines applying to stopping offences need to reflect the safety risk of the offence.

 

More serious offences eg stopping on a pedestrian crossing incurs a fine of $225; while the less serious offence of stopping in a loading zone, incurs a fine of $75.

 

 

High risk offences should incur a fine of Level 5 /$225

 

A penalty of

Level 4/ $175 should apply to the majority of stopping offences.

Stop in Bus Zone

A fine of $175 was mentioned in the Executive Summary while in the table it is $225. (Working party recommended $225)

Cont’d

Level 5/ $225

Stopping on a path/strip

The offence for stopping (parking) on a path/strip in built up areas of $75 seems to be inconsistent with its safety risk where it forces pedestrians onto the roadway.

 

Given that the majority of stopping offences are in the range of $175- $225, the proposed low fine ($75) may encourage drivers onto the footpath rather than on the road.

Level 4/ $175

Stop in /on bus/transit/truck lane

A fine of $175 was mentioned in the Executive Summary, while in the table, the fine is $75.

 

Level 4/ $175

Double parking

Double parking can put many other road users at risk.

 

The current recommendation of reducing the fine from $93 to $75 does not reflect the safety risk.

 

Consistent enforcement is essential to reduce this unsafe practice.

 

Level 4/ $175

Trucks log books offences

 

Serious offence given fatigue issues in heavy vehicle industry.

Level 5 / $225

3 points

Displaying altered/defaced mutilated parking ticket or coupon

Indicates intent to deceive, but the safety implications are low.

 

Level 4/ $175

 

 

Loading Zones

In order to improve compliance with parking regulations, and to reduce the likelihood of double parking, Councils and RTA should consider allocating additional loading zones in business activity centres.

 

Revenue Implications

NRMA’s review of the proposed fines indicates that overall revenue will increase by around 10% if the number of infringements remains the same. NRMA does not support this important and road safety focussed review of demerit points resulting in an increase in fine revenue.

 

RTA has suggested that the proposed changes will lead to a change in behaviour, reducing the number of infringements and leading to a revenue-neutral outcome. This will require a significant communication and education program to inform the community of the changes and NRMA would welcome this as part of the implementation plan.

.

NRMA recommends a review after 12 months of full operation of the proposed penalty system to assess the actual revenue outcomes and the effectiveness of the community education program.

 

Hypothecation of speed camera revenue

NRMA notes the overwhelming proportion of speeding TINS are issued by speed cameras, and the majority of these are for speeds less than 15 km/h over the speed limit.

 

The speed camera program would have greater credibility and public acceptance, if all speed camera revenue were hypothecated to a special fund dedicated to road safety countermeasures.

 

Without a committed education campaign, and without a commitment to hypothecating fine revenue to road safety, the Government’s motives in this review will be open to question.

 

NRMA urges the RTA to commit to:

  • Significant community education to inform the community about the changes to fines and demerit points;
  • Review of the penalty system to assess the impact on road user behaviour and fine revenue;
  • Hypothecation of revenue from fines, or at least, fine revenue generated from speed cameras.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

 

 

 

Peter Steele

GM Corporate Services &

Deputy CEO