Pedestrian Council of Australia

Safety – Amenity – Access – Health


Media Release

Sunday 10 July 2005 - Embargoed to midnight 10 July 2005


Former Top Cop Calls on Federal Transport Minister Warren Truss to Require all States and Territories to Immediately Fix Illegal Number-Plate and Window Tinting Epidemic


Mr Ray Shuey, former Assistant Commissioner of Police (Victoria) and Director of the Pedestrian Council of Australia has today called on the Federal Government to immediately require all states and territories to address a scandalous epidemic in obstructed, defaced, obscured, false and stolen number-plates, along with the growing trend of the opaque tinting of side-windows and windscreens. The PCA released 2 Policy Statements today:


Number-Plates:   AND


Window Tinting:


Mr Shuey said: "Our FoI has revealed that in NSW alone, over 8% of number-plates are unreadable (see attached)."


“Other states and territories would be similar.  This is all due to a long-term culture of apathy and ignorance regarding the problem and a failure by the responsible authorities to have the appropriate penalties and enforcement systems in place.  In some jurisdictions, penalties for these offences are less than $100.  In our view they should attract a minimum of 6 Demerit Points and a $1,000 fine (unbelievably, the Northern Territory still refuses to implement a Demerit Point system).  The Deterrent Factor is critical in minimising these offences.  And in terms of consistency and fairness, if a motorist has obstructed/unreadable plates, he or she can easily and often avoid thousands of dollars in fines and instant loss-of-licence for at least 6 months.


"Coupled with this is the rapidly growing emergence, especially amongst the hoon-set, of blackening out side and even front windows so it is impossible to see and identify the driver and passengers.  This new trend has very serious Home Security consequences, in this age of ubiquitous terrorism.  Yet it is treated as an irrelevant misdemeanour by most authorities and virtually ignored by the responsible agencies (see examples):


"How extraordinary is it, that across Australia, Council Rangers and Parking Officers who are  responsible for Parking Enforcement, are not permitted to issue Defect Notices for these offences?  This is all part of a culture of "moving offences" where an obstructed number-plate or opaque windows are seen as "police only" enforcement responsibilities.  Why, when we have a veritable army of potential "Home Security Agents" patrolling the streets daily and inspecting vehicles as part of their operations, do we not extend their job -functions to oversee and enforce these and other vitally important security safeguards?  It's farcical, especially when history has shown us that the car-bomb is the primary instrument of destruction employed by terrorists.


“Furthermore, when are all governments going to ban and provide significant penalties for the importation, sale, possession and supply of number-plate blocking products such as Photoblocker?


He added:  “And when are governments going to strictly regulate the operations of organisations which tint motor-vehicle windscreens and provide substantial penalties for illegal tinting which does not comply with Australian Standards?


Mr Shuey said: "Sophisticated and reliable vehicle, driver and passenger identification must be given high priority in road safety, crime control and public order. Prevention must take a much higher profile. It is incumbent upon all governments, law enforcement officers, road safety and security agencies, to fully appreciate the seriousness, prevalence and real consequences of what are sometimes perceived to be trivial offences and take the required remedial and pro-active anti-terrorist, general crime prevention and road safety action without delay."




CONTACT:  Ray Shuey - Tel:  (0411) 100-147 or Pedestrian Council on (02) 9968-4555

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