Grumble, grumble

I got a $300 speeding fine today. I was driving home from Perth, Sunday morning, along the Great Northern Highway just south of the tiny town of Bindi Bindi. There was some roadwork going on, I got past it, and was driving on newly paved highway, then just ahead there was a short unpaved section, nicely finished ready for the asphalt. No one around anywhere, broad highway, well-finished gravel surface, no cars, plenty of vision in every direction, but there was a 40 Km/h sign just before the gravel patch. I went through it at 70 Km/h (about 50 mph).

Unfortunately there was a police vehicle hiding, and he took after me -- hardly had to race to catch me! I pointed out that it was quite safe to speed up there, but he replied that is beside the point, the legal limit is 40 and that's that. I dunno, there's something unsavory about police who pick spots where they are going to catch the unwary, those like myself who never speed. I even drive at 90 - 100 on the open road where the limit is 110, and I'm the most cautious driver out there -- haven't had an accident since 1971 (except for hitting a couple of kangaroos). Oh well.

Note, the Aussie dollar was on a par with the US dollar about 6 months ago, so 300 Au dollars would buy about 300 US dollars. Not now though, the Aussie dollar has fallen, and 300 Au buys about 200 US. I have no idea why this is so, given how we keep being told how sick the US economy is and how fundamentally sound the Au economy is. Weird stuff, international finance.

Posted on 23 Nov 2008, 17:15


Posted on 23 Nov 2008, 18:03 by cthisbear
Fight it?
Send them a letter anyway.

I have won in NSW for my wife years ago.

These days it's pretty hard I know.

Don't feed them if you can
Cite your record.
And for once don't be humble.

Tell them of the good work you do...
the mileage you travel..
and your rate of pay...
the last might make them shed a tear.

Yes! the cop that got my wife was well
known for hiding.

I have nothing against the police.
Revenue raising is another issue.

Good luck......................Chris.

Posted on 23 Nov 2008, 19:40 by lobster
$300 dollar lletter
Good advice from Chris.
Explain you are on a limited budget AND working full time on free software development and a good citizen. Not sure if Oz law is based on British which uses common sense as its means of enforcement . . . worth a try . . .

Posted on 24 Nov 2008, 6:39 by Prit1
Driving History
I agree with Chris as well. My friend had a similar incident here in the US and he got away by bringing up his good driving history.

Posted on 24 Nov 2008, 15:29 by Sage
Motoring offences
Was there a statutory notice in force for a temporary speed limit on that stretch of road? Was the road sign of correct shape and size? correctly displayed at the correct height, normal to the direction of travel? Was it splashed with mud/dust? Do you have a photograph of the sign? Does the arresting officer have a record of entrapment? Is an appeal against the quantum of the fine permissible? Is there discretion of the Court based on income/ability to pay?
It should be possible to get a legal opinion FOC without actually hiring a brief.
At the end of the day, there is rarely ANY reason to violate the Law - there was probably a good reason for setting a low limit on a temporary surface? Loose gravel? dangers to drivers, passengers, oncoming? Ignorance of the Law is no defence - we all make mistakes, but you and fellow travellers lived, undamaged, to face your penalty. Others may not? That will always be the position of the Bench. There is a risk that an appeal could antagonise the judiciary and that is not a good idea.

Posted on 24 Nov 2008, 17:57 by BarryK
Re: loose gravel
No, it really was a situation where it was quite safe to drive faster than 40. It was beautifully smooth compacted gravel surface. Besides, around where I live is on the edge of the Aussie "outback" and we have lots of dirt roads -- and we have 110 Km/h limits on them! And some of them will shake the wheels off!

Regarding the Aussie outback, you will get an eye-full if you see the just-released movie "Australia", starring Nicole Kidman. I haven't seen it yet.

P.S. I was breaking the law, technically. So I'll just pay it. Thanks for the help Lobster, also Ian who has also made a donation.

Posted on 24 Nov 2008, 18:01 by BarryK
"Australia" movie
It's a ploy to boost tourism:

Posted on 24 Nov 2008, 20:56 by Sage
I plan to see "Australia" - the film.
The Law - paying up and keeping a low profile is often the cheapest option in the longer term. Notwithstanding, you have to tell your insurer - something many folks 'forget' - otherwise you could find yourself uninsured at a time when it really is important. I guess that's one reason why those contesting fines look to see if the relevant authorities have complied with the letter of the Law.

Posted on 26 Nov 2008, 8:16 by Sit Heel Speak
Does deferral exist in Oz?
In Washington State, USA, you can ask for a court date, and then go before the county judge, humbly apologize and promise it won't happen again--you don't know how you could have possibly missed seeing the sign, perhaps it was that road train rig that was parked on the shoulder / slammed on the brakes in front of you when that wild donkey darted across the must have hidden the sign from your view...or maybe it was the dark/fog/sandstorm/kangaroo herd jumping the road or whatever...and request a deferral of judgment for one year. Then, if no more violations, it's wiped from the record. Your insurance company never sees it.

Meanwhile, while awaiting your court date...this is a good time to visit your agent and review your homeowner insurance and see if perhaps a combined home/auto or even home/auto/life insurance package might save you money...especially considering your (still) spotless driving record...then, you wait until the agent has drawn up aaaaaall the paperwork before innocently, casually mentioning, "oh, by the way,...I got this little ticket the other court date is in February...this won't affect my policy or my premiums, will it...?"

Insurance agents here tend to be courteously willing to let pending infraction trials slip under the paperwork radar, in order to earn the commission on a good driver combo package...

Posted on 26 Nov 2008, 8:51 by Sit Heel Speak
Rex Stout on international finance
Rex Stout has his fictional detective Nero Wolfe, addressing what today would be called a globalist banker, say:

"Don't complicate matters by assuming for me a cupidity and corruption beyond the limits I have set for myself. You're suffering from an occupational disease. When an international financier is confronted by a holdup man with a gun, he automatically hands over not only his money and jewelry but also his shirt and pants, because it doesn't occur to him that a robber might draw the line somewhere."

--from Over My Dead Body, 1940.

Posted on 27 Nov 2008, 2:07 by rarsa
The fine can be reduced
I am sure the fine can be reduced if you ask. You still accept your responsibility for speeding, the cop would have done his/her job and the courts will impose a fair penalty.

Nothing wrong, illegal or unethical about that. Here in Canada (similar laws) a cop, after handing a ticket to my son, advised him to take the ticket to court assuring him that the fine may be reduced as it's his first offense

(unless of course driving back and forth to the court will be more expensive)