Double demerits this weekend

By 23 January, 2014 18

Joy Burch is reminding us that double demerits are in force over the weekend to celebrate the birth of our nation:

Acting Attorney-General Joy Burch has appealed for Canberrans to slow down, wear seatbelts and drive safely this Australia Day holiday weekend with double demerit points to be in force.

“Double demerit points will apply to speeding drivers in the ACT and NSW from tomorrow Friday 24 January to Monday 27 January 2014,” Ms Burch said.

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18 Responses to Double demerits this weekend
#1
wildturkeycanoe9:55 pm, 23 Jan 14

Yet again, just because it is a certain date, the penalties for minor offenses are doubled. Why don’t they double jail sentences for crimes committed on said long weekends, or double the cost of fuel, or double the bus fares, or double the cost of parking, or just simply double everything just because it is a long weekend!!!!
I wonder how you would go in court fighting two tickets, both for the same offense, but the one that was committed the day after the long weekend was half the price of the one done the day before? I call this double standards and nothing more than a money grabbing exercise that does nothing to quell the crime rate or road toll.
Then again, who am I to complain, I won’t get fined anyway.

#2
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd11:23 pm, 23 Jan 14

wildturkeycanoe said :

Yet again, just because it is a certain date, the penalties for minor offenses are doubled. Why don’t they double jail sentences for crimes committed on said long weekends, or double the cost of fuel, or double the bus fares, or double the cost of parking, or just simply double everything just because it is a long weekend!!!!
I wonder how you would go in court fighting two tickets, both for the same offense, but the one that was committed the day after the long weekend was half the price of the one done the day before? I call this double standards and nothing more than a money grabbing exercise that does nothing to quell the crime rate or road toll.
Then again, who am I to complain, I won’t get fined anyway.

Don’t speed and you

#3
liability6:51 am, 24 Jan 14

wildturkeycanoe, you do realise that the fines are not doubled don’t you? The only thing that is doubled is the demerit points.

#4
Antagonist8:19 am, 24 Jan 14

If our elected overlords are so concerned with changing driver behaviour, why not have double demerits 365 days per year and be done with it?

#5
IrishPete9:09 am, 24 Jan 14

The announcement of double demerits gives the politicians and police the opportunity to front the media and get some publicity, which they might otherwise struggle to get if “double demerits” applied continuously. It also sends a message to the public that the roads are expected to be busier with holiday traffic, cars full of children and so on, and they shoudl take more care.

Personally I think it’s clumsy and bad government, it says a commuter’s life is worth less than a holidaymaker’s, I’ve been pinged (years ago) on a Friday morning on the way to work which seemed not to be the intent of the initiative. (I am 100% certain the police speed detection equipment was inaccurate, but I paid for specialist legal advice, and it would have cost me thousands or tens of thousands to challenge the ticket, and the chances are I was over the limit going down a hill, just not doing anyhing like the speed the cop claimed; the way the NSW demerit points worked at the time, only the fine would have been reduced, not the points, which were the problem for me.)

At the risk of being called a bush lawyer again, I wonder what would happen if someone was to challenge the arbitrariness of doubling penalties for particular dates. How would it be if a burglary on a Wednesday attracted twice the sentence of a burglary on a Monday? And the arbitrariness of the range of offences that get double, or extra, demerit points?

IP

#6
Jivrashia9:25 am, 24 Jan 14

wildturkeycanoe said :

I call this double standards and nothing more than a money grabbing exercise that does nothing to quell the crime rate or road toll.

Notice how petrol prices sky rocket during the period leading up to these long weekends?

Where do you think the government got their ideas from?

#7
Tooks9:39 am, 24 Jan 14

wildturkeycanoe said :

Yet again, just because it is a certain date, the penalties for minor offenses are doubled. Why don’t they double jail sentences for crimes committed on said long weekends, or double the cost of fuel, or double the bus fares, or double the cost of parking, or just simply double everything just because it is a long weekend!!!!
I wonder how you would go in court fighting two tickets, both for the same offense, but the one that was committed the day after the long weekend was half the price of the one done the day before? I call this double standards and nothing more than a money grabbing exercise that does nothing to quell the crime rate or road toll.
Then again, who am I to complain, I won’t get fined anyway.

Only demerits are doubled.

#8
Tooks9:47 am, 24 Jan 14

IrishPete said :

The announcement of double demerits gives the politicians and police the opportunity to front the media and get some publicity, which they might otherwise struggle to get if “double demerits” applied continuously. It also sends a message to the public that the roads are expected to be busier with holiday traffic, cars full of children and so on, and they shoudl take more care.

Personally I think it’s clumsy and bad government, it says a commuter’s life is worth less than a holidaymaker’s, I’ve been pinged (years ago) on a Friday morning on the way to work which seemed not to be the intent of the initiative. (I am 100% certain the police speed detection equipment was inaccurate, but I paid for specialist legal advice, and it would have cost me thousands or tens of thousands to challenge the ticket, and the chances are I was over the limit going down a hill, just not doing anyhing like the speed the cop claimed; the way the NSW demerit points worked at the time, only the fine would have been reduced, not the points, which were the problem for me.)

At the risk of being called a bush lawyer again, I wonder what would happen if someone was to challenge the arbitrariness of doubling penalties for particular dates. How would it be if a burglary on a Wednesday attracted twice the sentence of a burglary on a Monday? And the arbitrariness of the range of offences that get double, or extra, demerit points?

IP

If you were 100% sure it was inaccurate, you should’ve subpoenaed their calibration records for said device. You don’t need to pay expert witnesses to contest such a case. Get the cop in the box, ask him what checks he did on the laser at the start of his shift get him to explain each of the checks etc. If you’re lucky, you’ll get an inexperienced member who won’t be able to adequately answer and chances are, you’ll get reasonable doubt.

People get so worked up about double demerits. At the risk of sounding like a smug bell end, demerit points don’t affect me whether it’s a double demerit period or not. Really, it’s not that hard to put your seatbelt on and not speed, is it?

#9
MrBigEars10:07 am, 24 Jan 14

I imagine that on long weekends there are more people on the roads driving further, which would translate to a greater potential for accidents. “Encouraging” motorists with the threat of greater penalties during these periods (I would guess) is an attempt to reduce the increased potential for accident during this time.

Or it’s a giant conspiracy against the demographic sub-classification you belong to and you specifically.

#10
IrishPete11:09 am, 24 Jan 14

Tooks said :

People get so worked up about double demerits. At the risk of sounding like a smug bell end, demerit points don’t affect me whether it’s a double demerit period or not. Really, it’s not that hard to put your seatbelt on and not speed, is it?

[Should have mentioned this was in NSW, but I'm not sure that makes any difference.]

Well, yes, it can be hard if the excess speed gathered momentarily downhill, foot off the accelerator, fell within the normal margin of error and leeway that police give you. My expensive legal advice was that challenging it would be expensive (would require paying an independent expert), and even if I was 5km/h over for a second rather than 15km/h over for at least three seconds (those speeds are made up, I can’t recall what it was), admitting in court to being 5km/h over even momentarily was going to result in the same outcome in terms of demerit points.

There can be odd interstate effects. I think ACT Magistrates may be able to waive the points, I don’t think they can in NSW. Around the same time a guy I know lost his NSW licence in ACT for low range PCA, but not being a Canberra resident was unable to obtain a special licence to drive to work as these don’t exist in NSW. But a Canberra resident in the same position would have had no problem continuing to work (especially given this guy’s wife doesn’t have a licence due to a medical condition, so he’s the only driver).

I regret now not sub poena-ing as much as I could, because of course I never saw any evidence of what the officer claimed, just his scribble on a traffic ticket. I don’t recall him offering to show me the readout in the car, nor video or anything.

#11
watto2311:20 am, 24 Jan 14

I personally think demerits and fines should be graduated more rather than <15,15-30,30-45 and 45+

I think <10 should be 1 point, 10-20 2 points, 21-30 4 points, 31-40 6 points, 40+ 12 points (ie automatic loss of license)
The fact someone going 16 over the limit and 30 over get the same punishment seem a tad harsh.

I don't think double demerits really do that much. People would change their habits normally if they were concerned about points and fines. Basically not enough police means people think they can get away with it.

#12
Tooks11:37 am, 24 Jan 14

IrishPete said :

Tooks said :

People get so worked up about double demerits. At the risk of sounding like a smug bell end, demerit points don’t affect me whether it’s a double demerit period or not. Really, it’s not that hard to put your seatbelt on and not speed, is it?

[Should have mentioned this was in NSW, but I'm not sure that makes any difference.]

Well, yes, it can be hard if the excess speed gathered momentarily downhill, foot off the accelerator, fell within the normal margin of error and leeway that police give you. My expensive legal advice was that challenging it would be expensive (would require paying an independent expert), and even if I was 5km/h over for a second rather than 15km/h over for at least three seconds (those speeds are made up, I can’t recall what it was), admitting in court to being 5km/h over even momentarily was going to result in the same outcome in terms of demerit points.

There can be odd interstate effects. I think ACT Magistrates may be able to waive the points, I don’t think they can in NSW. Around the same time a guy I know lost his NSW licence in ACT for low range PCA, but not being a Canberra resident was unable to obtain a special licence to drive to work as these don’t exist in NSW. But a Canberra resident in the same position would have had no problem continuing to work (especially given this guy’s wife doesn’t have a licence due to a medical condition, so he’s the only driver).

I regret now not sub poena-ing as much as I could, because of course I never saw any evidence of what the officer claimed, just his scribble on a traffic ticket. I don’t recall him offering to show me the readout in the car, nor video or anything.

You should always ask to see the laser read out and they’ll usually show you without being asked.

But if I read it right, you got done for 15 over but you admit to being only 5 over. As you said, same fine and 1 point. Most wouldn’t bother fighting it based purely on principle.

Look, I’m not perfect by any means, but picking up excess speed because you’re going down hill is a pretty weak excuse. That’s why cars are fitted with brakes.

#13
Antagonist1:06 pm, 24 Jan 14

IrishPete said :

The announcement of double demerits gives the politicians and police the opportunity to front the media and get some publicity, which they might otherwise struggle to get if “double demerits” applied continuously. It also sends a message to the public that the roads are expected to be busier with holiday traffic, cars full of children and so on, and they shoudl take more care.

A politician struggle to get camera time for publicity? Are you for real? LOLZ!

The same messages about safe driving can be delivered without temporary double-demerits. Also, the initial shock/fear that double demerits delivered many years ago has very much worn off. If they are really serious about changing driver habits and behaviours, then they need a new approach. If that means permanently doubling demerit points (or changing/adding extra penalty increments) then so be it.

IrishPete said :

Personally I think it’s clumsy and bad government, …

+1. At least we can agree on this bit.

#14
m_ratt1:55 pm, 24 Jan 14

IrishPete said :

It also sends a message to the public that … they shoudl take more care.

They should be taking that much (more) care every friggin’ day of the year…

#15
Nylex_Clock2:04 pm, 24 Jan 14

OK, so will this result in our roads being cleaned up of the likes of the young guy in the white 4WD ute who thinks it’s a good idea to undertake at 120km/h on the hard shoulder along the Tuggeranong Parkway all the way from Lady Denman Dr to Cotter Road?

#16
IrishPete2:43 pm, 24 Jan 14

Tooks said :

But if I read it right, you got done for 15 over but you admit to being only 5 over. As you said, same fine and 1 point. Most wouldn’t bother fighting it based purely on principle.

Look, I’m not perfect by any means, but picking up excess speed because you’re going down hill is a pretty weak excuse. That’s why cars are fitted with brakes.

At the time it was 3 points. Doubled to 6. Ouch for such a small indiscretion. Agreed re: brakes, but engine braking often does the job. Truck drivers are encouraged to use engine braking, even exhaust brakes which are kind-of enhanced engine braking.

IP

#17
Silentforce4:45 pm, 24 Jan 14

I drive a modern car. In addition to brakes, it has a factory fitted speedometer too.

#18
IrishPete5:19 pm, 24 Jan 14

Silentforce said :

I drive a modern car. In addition to brakes, it has a factory fitted speedometer too.

I get it. You have never exceeded the speed limit even by mistake.

Did you know that speedometers only have to be accurate within 10% from factory? They’ve tightened that up in recent years, but mine was a 1992 car. Fitting different wheels and tyres, and even tyre wear, can also affect your speedometer accuracy.

But I get it. You have never exceeded the speed limit. No doubt you are one of the people who thinks it is safer to overtake a car doing 90, by passing it doing 91 and spending half an hour on the wrong side of the road.

IP

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