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Pedestrian Council of Australia
Safety – Amenity – Access – Health

 

Media Release

Friday 19 May 2006

 

MICHAEL COSTA
WE DEMAND ANSWERS

 


Former Roads Minister’s Backdoor Changes to Pedestrian Crossing Penalties Now Contributing to Road Trauma Around Schools

The Chairman of the PCA, Harold Scruby accused the former Roads Minister Michael Costa of contributing to the current spate of injuries around School Crossings.

 

Mr Scruby said:  “We demand to know why he quietly and without any consultation, effectively neutered the penalty for stopping in School Zones last July when he was Minister for Roads.  (A copy of our Media Release of 10 June 2005 is attached)

 

http://www.walk.com.au/pedestriancouncil/Page.asp?PageID=1156

 

His predecessor, Carl Scully had formally announced there would be would be 3 Demerit Points and a $225 fine for Stop on/near children’s/pedestrian/market foot crossing.  This followed the recommendation by the Demerit Points and Penalties Task Force whose decision had been subject to a rigorous, year-long, open and transparent public process.  This is a copy of his Media Release of 23 September 2004.

http://www.walk.com.au/pedestriancouncil/Page.asp?PageID=785

 

“This life saving initiative had unanimous approval from all major stakeholders, including the then Opposition Leader John Brogden, Shadow Minister for Roads, Andrew Stoner, NSW Police, Ministry of Police, Pedestrian Council of Australia, NRMA, RTA the NSW P&C, Council on the Ageing, NSW Council Rangers and all the Disabilities groups.” Mr Scruby said.

 

“So why did Minister Costa so nefariously neuter this life saving initiative?  Was it because he was concerned about the lives and limbs of our children, or was it because he succumbed to backdoor pressure from the taxi and road transport lobbies?”

 

Mr Scruby added:  “We now call on Premier Morris Iemma and Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal to immediately reverse Mr Costa’s decision and implement ALL the original decisions made by Mr Scully which include 3 Demerit Points for stopping in a Pedestrian Zone and 2 Demerit Points for Double Parking and Stopping in Bus Zones (see copy of Mr Scully’s Media Release attached).

 

“We also call on Mr Roozendaal to demand that the RTA dust off their 3 year-old “Footpath Parking Inquiry”.  Currently, motorists can stop and park on a footpath in a School Zone, forcing children onto the road.  The penalty is $75 – the same penalty for being ten minutes over time on an expired parking meter.  The penalty for this potentially lethal offence is so low, that it can be cheaper to park on the footpath all day in George Street, than to park in a parking station.  In many locations, the stiff penalties for parking on the road actually act as an incentive to park on the footpath.  These ridiculous anomalies must be fixed immediately.


Contact:  Harold Scruby - Tel:  (0418) 110-011 or (02) 9968-4555
___________________________________________________________

 


Pedestrian Council of Australia

Safety – Amenity – Access – Health

 

Media Release
Friday 10 June 2005

COSTA SET TO SCUTTLE SCULLY’S
PEDESTRIAN SAFETY INITIATIVES


“Costa buckles to backdoor pressure from taxi, courier and truck unions and puts pedestrian safety at the bottom of the food-chain.”

 

Following persistent attempts to get answers from Michael Costa’s office (NSW Minister for Roads), the PCA has been reliably informed that Mr Costa is about to announce that he will reduce former Roads Minister Carl Scully’s and the RTA’s recommended Demerit Points (DPs) for Stopping in a Pedestrian Zone from 3 to 1.  This is in spite of the fact that even the NRMA’s policy since 1998 has been that there should be 3 Demerit Points for this offence (see attached letter).  And the same Minister who has just abolished the long-standing position of General Manager, Bicycle and Pedestrians, at the RTA.

 

The Chairman of the PCA, Harold Scruby said: “Following over 7 years of lobbying by the PCA, in October 2002, the then Minister for Roads, Carl Scully, announced that the RTA would lead a review of the relativities of the penalties of all infringement notices for traffic and parking infringements, including demerit points. The main purpose of the review was to rationalise the levels of penalties and demerit points based on road safety and traffic management considerations and their deterrence value. In May 2003, the RTA Chief Executive (Paul Forward) proposed that there would be greater value if the review were conducted under the auspices of the Road Safety Taskforce (RST).

 

“In conjunction with the RST, the RTA called for public comment on the review via advertisements in the major Sydney newspapers on 26 July 2003. Interested persons were invited to provide written submissions addressing the above Terms of Reference. Further information about current offences was made available on the RTA’s website. The closing date for comment was 5 September 2003. A total of 79 written submissions were received.

 

“A Reference Group, comprising representatives from NSW Police, Ministry of Police, Pedestrian Council of Australia, NRMA and RTA was formed primarily to evaluate the submissions from the public. Involvement in the Reference Group also provided the opportunity for members to detail their particular issues and concerns. The Reference Group met twice and provided significant input into the proposed changes and final recommendations.

 

“The NRMA's policy, released March 2003 (which followed their major review of fines and DPs) was and is that: "The Demerit Points (DP) Scheme needs to be reviewed to ensure it is fair, consistent and focused on safety. All safety-related offences should incur demerit points.  Penalties should be reviewed to ensure that offences that are most likely to endanger the community carry higher penalties …"  .  The DP Task Force based its approach to the project on this policy and assigned same to over 1,500 offences.” Mr Scruby added.

 

“The RTA again advertised those recommendations for public comment.  Following that, the recommendations went to the Ministerial Road Safety Task Force and then to Parliament with Carl Scully issuing a Media Release announcing "Fairer Fines and Demerit System to Boost Safety" on 23 September 2004 to come into force on 1 March 2005.

 

“In early 2005, Scully was moved to Police and Costa was moved to Roads.  Costa put an immediate hold on the new scheme, which is now expected to come into force on 1 July 2005, and announced that he was very much in favour of Demerit Points as a Road Safety measure and immediately announced there would be an extra DP for low-range speeding (now 3) and 3 DPs for hogging the outside lane (the Taskforce had already recommended 2).

 

“Rumours have since surfaced that he has been quietly fiddling with the new scheme, without any consultation with the major stakeholders or the public.  The scheme now before Parliament had unanimous approval from all concerned, including Opposition Leader John Brogden, NSW Police, Ministry of Police, Pedestrian Council of Australia, NRMA, RTA the NSW P&C, Council on the Ageing, NSW Council Rangers and all the Disabilities groups.  

 

“The PCA has repeatedly asked the minister's staff to deny these rumours, without reply. One of the Scully’s main initiatives was that for the first time in Australian history, there would be three DPs for stopping in a Pedestrian Zone.  It will be a very important road safety enforcement tool, particularly for children around schools and for the elderly.   Further rumours suggest that  Minister Costa has been lobbied by the taxi, courier and trucking unions and has quietly and without any consultation agreed to drop the penalty to 1 Demerit Point.  It will effectively mean you can park a Toyota Prado on a children’s pedestrian crossing, once a month, every month, forever – and never lose your licence.  But you will lose 6 Demerit Points this holiday weekend if you do not do up your seat-belt and you will lose your licence if you are travelling at 61 kmh in a 60 kmh zone at the same time.  And this is considered to be “fair and consistent” from the same Minister who several years ago proudly announced on TV that there would be 2 Demerit Points for playing loud music while driving.” Mr Scruby said.

 

Harold Scruby - Chairman/CEO – Pedestrian Council of Australia - Tel: (02) 9968-4555   (0418) 110-011

Email: scruby@walk.com.au  Internet:  www.walk.com.au


CARL SCULLY MP
Minister for Roads
Minister for Housing
Leader of the House

MEDIA RELEASE


Thursday September 23, 2004

FAIRER FINES AND DEMERIT SYSTEM TO BOOST SAFETY


NSW motorists will have a fairer, more consistent fines and demerit points system from early next year, aimed at encouraging greater road safety.

The Minister for Roads, Carl Scully, today introduced the new streamlined system of 1,545 road-related offences, saying it would promote better safety outcomes.

"This is about protecting our children, our families and our drivers," Mr Scully said.

"An effective demerit points system is a key part of road safety and has been shown to be a major contributor to improved driver behaviour and reduced road trauma.

"This new system, which comes into force on February 1 next year, reduces the current, complex 48 levels of fines and offences to just 15, bringing about greater simplicity and consistency in traffic and parking offences."

Among the most significant changes is the introduction of demerit points for some safety-related parking offences, Mr Scully said.

"These include double parking and stopping on or near school and pedestrian crossings.

"Children are put in serious danger of being knocked down when motorists park on or near these crossings and block their line of sight.

"It's therefore only proper that these offences attract demerit points so that drivers risk losing their licences for repeated infringements."

Mr Scully said the new fines and demerit points system follows a major review and more than 12 months of consultation with Police, the NRMA, the Pedestrian Council and the public.

The review found that inconsistencies existed throughout all categories of offences examined and that many fines and demerit points need to be realigned to achieve a fairer, more safety-focussed outcome.

"As a result, fines for 760 offences will fall while fines for 642 offences will rise. The remainder are unchanged.

"The penalties for almost half of those 642 offences will rise by less than $10, as the majority of changes involve rounding the fine to the nearest $25 amount." Some of the offences for which fines will fall - from $233 to $175 - include:

Certain right hand turn offences

Beginning U turn without view of approaching traffic or when driver could obstruct traffic, and

Proceeding past hand-held stop sign while sign shown or contrary to directions.

The offences attracting the biggest rises in fines include:

Not obeying direction of police/authorised person (from $50 to $225)

Various unsafe towing offences (from $74 to $300)

Using a vehicle with a misleading, altered or obscured plate (from $78 to $300).

"Wherever possible, similar types of offences have been grouped together and - in the future - any new offences will be at one of these 15 levels," Mr Scully said.

"To ensure consistency in penalties, reductions in demerit points for many offences will be implemented including certain roundabout offences, not stopping at hand-held stop signs, not keeping left of a dividing lane, and not driving within a marked lane.

"For the first time, Council officers will be able to issue a penalty notice for an offence that attracts demerit points," Mr Scully said. "A major publicity campaign will be launched to tie in with the release of the new fines and demerit points to educate the community on the changes and to remind everyone of their responsibility to drive safely on our roads."

Media Contact: Jim Hanna 0414 828 629

SUMMARY OF MAJOR CHANGES

1. New demerit points

Offence

Current penalty

New penalty

Vehicle with speed evasion article

$1202

$1175/9 pts

Obscured/defaced/illegible/illegal/altered/misleading number plates

$78

$300/3 pts

Unsafe towing

$78-$290

$300/3 pts

Offences involving emergency vehicles

$155 - $311

$300/3 pts

Stop in bus zone/stop

$95

$225/2 pts

Stop on/near children’s/pedestrian/market foot crossing

$231

$225/3 pts

Stop on/near level crossing

$70

$225/3 pts

Drive vehicle with TV/VDU image visible/likely to distract

$104

$225/3 pts

Passenger safety e.g. tow trailer with person in/on trailer

$78

$225/3 pts

Bull Bars

Vehicle defect notice

$225/3 pts

Double park

$95

$175/2 pts

2. Changes to number of demerit points and/or fine level

Offence

Current penalty

New penalty

Close following e.g. drive behind another vehicle too closely to stop safely

$182/1 pt

$300/3 pts

Ride motorbike with more than 1 passenger

$78/2 pts

$225/3 pts

Offences at Roundabouts, eg: Not enter roundabout in direction of traffic lane arrow.

$130/3 pts

$175/2 pts

3. Changes to fine level

Offence

Current penalty

New penalty

Not obey police direction

$50

$225

Stop in/on bus/transit/truck lane

$130

$175

Disobey no stopping sign

$155

$225

Drive without proper control of vehicle

$130/3 pts

$300/3 pts

View and control e.g. drive without proper control

$130/3 pts

$300/3 pts

Negligent driving

$182/3 pts

$300/3 pts

Crashes: duties of driver e.g. not give particulars to police/other driver

$130/3 pts

$225/3 pts

Traffic light offences e.g. proceed through red traffic light, not stop at stop line at red light, not stop before stop sign at red light.

$233/3 pts

$300/3 pts