Sydney Morning Herald - Monday 2 March 2009
NSW demerit rejig to take six months
A fairer demerit point system for NSW drivers has been unveiled but it will not start until September - 10 months after the state government flagged the changes.
Roads Minister Michael Daley first announced an overhaul of the current system in November last year, and on Monday released the details.
Under the new system, a driver travelling up to 10km/h over the speed limit will lose just one demerit point and be fined $81.
Anyone caught doing between 11km/h and 20km/h over the limit will lose three points and be fined $189, while those detected between 21km/h and 30km/h will lose four demerits and have to pay $324.
Previously, anyone caught speeding between 0 and 30km/h over the speed limit lost three points, but the fines varied for different speeds.
Mr Daley said the new system was fairer for drivers, but necessary updates to various agencies' computer systems, including the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), meant they would not take effect for another six months.
"We're putting some balance back in the demerit point scheme," he told reporters.
"Motorists asked for me to treat them more fairly at the bottom end of the scale and that's exactly what I'm doing."
Despite being six months away, Mr Daley said the changes would not be retrospective.
The new offence levels will retain the three-month suspension and $621 fine for anyone caught travelling between 31km/h and 45km/h over the limit, but they will now lose five points instead of four.
Those detected travelling at 45km/h or more will still lose six points and their licence for six months.
The NSW opposition welcomed the changes, but said it should not take so long to implement them.
"It shouldn't take six months to get this package up and running," Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell told reporters.
"The reality is there will be drivers out there who will be caught by a system that the government now accepts is unfair."
Motoring group NRMA said the new demerit point system was more sensible, saying it was never fair someone doing 1km/h over the limit lost as many points as someone travelling at far greater speed.
NRMA president Wendy Machin said she would have liked to have seen the changes introduced more quickly, but making the laws retrospective would be riddled with problems.
© 2009 AAP
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From: Pedestrian Council of Australia [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent:Wednesday 24 September 2008 1:21 PM
Thank you for inviting me to a meeting with you today. As discussed, below is a copy of the proposal I sent Eric Roozendaal on 22 August 2007. Although he said he was most attracted to the idea at the time and asked Darren Holder to brief the RTA on the ideas, we never heard another word.
How propitious is it that one of the attachments was our Media Release of August 2007 calling on the “NSW Government to Introduce New Offence of ‘High Range Speeding’ to Include Minimum Penalties Including Jail and Vehicle Forfeiture.” Seems we are “on the same page” on this one.
Looking forward to some regular meetings to discuss creative ideas.
From: PCA [mailto:email@example.com]
The Hon Eric Roozendaal
Minister for Roads
Attention: Mr Michael Galderisi
As discussed at our meeting yesterday, you asked me to write to you regarding our ideas concerning Demerit Points and speeding.
As I think you know, I was appointed by your predecessor, the Hon Carl Scully, as a member of the Demerit Points and Penalties Task Force. We reviewed every penalty in the book, over 1400 (except footpath parking offences).
Our recommendation at the time, which went through a very wide process of stakeholder and community consultation, was that the penalty for low range speeding should remain at 2 Demerit Points and about $130. That, along with all the other recommendations, was put before the Parliament by Mr Scully.
Just before they became law, Mr Scully was transferred to Police and Mr Costa took over as Roads Minister. He put all the new penalties on hold for 6 months, but immediately changed the penalty for low range speeding to 3 Demerit Points and $70 fine. This was supposed to get around the old "revenue-raising" accusation.
Apart from this costing Treasury approximately $20 million per annum, it created a completely inequitable and unfair system.
It meant and still means that the person doing 65 kmh in a 60 kmh zone, receives the same demerit points as a person doing 90 kmh in the same zone. Admittedly the fine is higher, but it is the Demerit Point system which we had all agreed creates the greatest change in driver behaviour. That was confirmed by the RTA's Road Safety Task Force. Fines are quickly forgotten. DPs last 3 years and act as a constant reminder to drivers to slow down.
This now means that the same person will receive 6 Demerit Points for doing 65 kmh in a 60 zone during holiday periods.
Unfortunately, we are now creating a whole community of normally law abiding motorists who can lose their licences if they do this twice.
We believe the real inconsistencies in the system lie behind the fact that all speed zones increase by 10 kmh. e.g. 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 and 110 kmh. We even have 10 kmh Shared Zones which we also discussed.
Yet the speeding penalties increase by 15 kmh. e.g. Under 15, under 30, under 45 and over 45 kmh.
In Victoria, they have the following penalties for the following speeding offences (see attached for complete list):
Traffic – Speeding
1909 Exceed speed limit in a vehicle other than a large vehicle by less than 10 km/h RR 20 $134 1 (one)
1910 Exceed speed limit in a vehicle other than a large vehicle by 10 km/h or more but less than 15 km/h RR 20 $215 3 (three)
1911 Exceed speed limit in a vehicle other than a large vehicle by 15 km/h or more but less than 25 km/h RR 20 $215 3 (three)
1912 Exceed speed limit in a vehicle other than a large vehicle by 25 km/h or more but less than 30 km/h RR 20 $285 1 4 (four)
1913 Exceed speed limit in a vehicle other than a large vehicle by 30 km/h or more but less than 35 km/h RR 20 $285 1 4 (four)
1914 Exceed speed limit in a vehicle other than a large vehicle by 35 km/h or more but less than 40 km/h RR 20 $387 6 6 (six)
1915 Exceed speed limit in a vehicle other than a large vehicle by 40 km/h or more but less than 45 km/h RR 20 $387 6 6 (six)
1916 Exceed speed limit in a vehicle other than a large vehicle by 45 km/h or more RR 20 $462 12 8 (eight)
1917 Exceed speed limit in a vehicle other than a large vehicle by 20 km/h or more but less than 25 km/h in a 110 km/h zone RR 20 $215 1 3 (three)
I believe that many motorists who have attracted 12 DPs for possibly 2 or 3 very low range speeding offences and have lost their licences. Many have decided to continue driving. Anecdotal evidence suggests that over 10% of motorists driving in NSW today are unlicensed.
I think you could really get the motoring community on side if you considered changing the gradations to 10 kmh, up to 50 kmh over the speed limit and then enacted some very harsh penalties thereafter. I also believe the community generally accepts that motorists can inadvertently exceed the speed limit up to 10 kmh, but after that, most accept that it becomes a deliberate act and that tough penalties should prevail.
We published a Media Release only recently dealing with this issue, regarding a new offence known as High Range Speeding, which you might also like to consider (see attached).
In any event, I think a meeting with your senior people and representatives from the RTA could at least consider these ideas and report back to you.
I'd be happy to be a part of that group.
Pedestrian Council of Australia Limited
The Walking Class Heroes
Telephone: (02) 9968-4555 - Facsimile: (02) 9968-4566 - Mobile: (0418) 110-011
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Internet: www.walk.com.au
PO Box 500 - NEUTRAL BAY NSW 2089 – AUSTRALIA - ABN 18 075 106 286