New penalties to hit drivers at full speed

Sydney Morning Herald

Thursday 24 October 2002

By Joseph Kerr, Transport Reporter

Motorists caught doing 130km/h will automatically lose their licence for a month irrespective of the speed limit as part of a tough road safety package to come into effect in December.

The catch-all suspension will only apply when other more severe penalties are not automatically applied for existing offences, and comes in addition to a string of harsher penalties.

The Government has embraced the NRMA's recent call for doubling to two points the demerit penalty for drivers caught speeding by less than 15km/h above the legal limit.

Those caught at speeds nearing 45km/h above the limit will be suspended for three months (up from one month) and those going even faster for six months (up from three months).

The Transport Minister, Carl Scully, said he was extremely concerned about the "acceleration in the road toll", currently at 466 for 2002 - 56 more than at the same time last year (which ended in a 50-year low).

The chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, Harold Scruby, welcomed the stance. "We have got to make speeding in this decade as socially unacceptable as drink driving became in the last decade," he said.

As part of the Government's speed camera program, the number of cameras on the Pacific Highway between Newcastle and Queensland will double to 15.

Four new enforcement bays will be built along the highway to give police more room to carry out speed and breath tests.

Ten schools which will take part in a trial of speed cameras were also named, in an attempt to enforce the 40km/h speed zone during school hours, which the NRMA said was ignored by nearly 70 per cent of motorists.

They are St Patrick's Primary School at Kogarah, Middle Harbour Public at Mosman, St Catherine Labore at Gymea, Epping West Public, Woy Woy Public, Our Lady of the Rosary Primary at Wyoming, Ourimbah Public, Woy Woy South Public, Fairy Meadow Public and Illawarra Grammar at Wollongong.

The chief executive officer of the NRMA, Rob Carter, said he was disappointed the Government had not reduced fines for low-level speeding to show cameras were not just revenue raisers.

See also:
MR - PCA Applauds Minister Scully On Tough Speeding And School-Zone Program