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Why bother paying parking fines?

By 10 August 2009 48

The Canberra Times brings word of the expectedly shambolic state of parking fine collection in the ACT:

    At January 1, more than 160,000 unpaid fines were sitting on the rego.act database, some dating back to 1980, and all but 22,300 were overdue.

Apparently there’s $23 million worth of them.

Why not just slap the unpaid fines onto the next rego fee?

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48 Responses to Why bother paying parking fines?
#1
toriness9:14 am, 10 Aug 09

amen to that. or have a public register of shame like they do in tassie.

#2
harley9:50 am, 10 Aug 09

My preference is to make the fine commensurate with the Redbook value of the vehicle. Say, 0.3%… A Falcodore would get a $90 fine, but a merc or audi might get a $270 fine. I see more tickets on high-value cars than on crap boxes.

Once the accumulated fine value goes over 5% of the vehicle value, it gets towed. No ands, ifs or buts. Pay the fine, and the towing cost then you’re good to go.

Course – the rego idea works too, but I still want the relative value of the fine changed to discourage parking illegally just because the well off can afford it.

#3
Ceej19739:51 am, 10 Aug 09

How can this be? I was late paying my fine, but had an admin fee slapped on top, which I didnt pay, due to a misunderstanding of “the fine print”. Anyway, while OS I got a last notice reminder telling me to pay the admin fee by a date which was while I was still OS. If I chose not to pay the admin fee I would a) lose my licence or b) lose my right to drive in the ACT. So naturally I paid the admin fee. So what I am confused about, is, is there a glitch in the TAMS database’s or are there a hell of a lot of people driving around illegally, or, is TAMS more leaneant with non fine payers over non admin fee payers (who have already paid the fine)?

Anyway, I agree with JB, or if multi offenders, start taking points off their licence.

#4
PM10:40 am, 10 Aug 09

A lot might belong to those who don’t live here any longer.

For example, a mate of mine had a dispute over a parking fine, and was told he’d have to prove he was in the right, not the other way around, but he had no real evidence. He told the operator that he didn’t even live here and they can go scew themselves. He was threatened with a “You’ll never drive in Canberra again!” – which he found hilarious….

#5
miz10:43 am, 10 Aug 09

An amnesty would be in order for fines over five years old, as I suspect it would cost more than they are worth to pursue them.

#6
caf10:49 am, 10 Aug 09

Ceej1973: It’s just a guess, but it might be that the laws in the old days didn’t let them suspend your license or rego for non-payment of fines – so possibly they can’t apply those rules to old fines issued back then.

#7
harvyk111:09 am, 10 Aug 09

harley said :

Course – the rego idea works too, but I still want the relative value of the fine changed to discourage parking illegally just because the well off can afford it.

Harley, there has been a suggestion (in some of the richer suburbs of Sydney) of making fines a percentage of the weekly income for just this reason. The richer amoungst us simply parked illegally because they wouldn’t miss a $100 if they where fined, whilst the lower paid that $100 could mean the difference between eating and not eating.

#8
andym11:21 am, 10 Aug 09

Wonder what percentage of these belong to diplomat plated vehicles?

#9
tortfeaser11:27 am, 10 Aug 09

So this is saying ~22,000 fines weren’t overdue, ie were within the 28 day payment period. So roughly 22,000 x 12 x $72 = $19 million pa in fines? A nice little earner.

#10
Master_Bates11:39 am, 10 Aug 09

Hmmm – This is interesting – in an era where Katie is wanting to move the pokies to increase revenue – they couldn’t be bothered collecting the parking fines…..

I winder if it is basically bacause the quality of staff in our DPP is soo wofal, that they would simply loose any court battle, with costs being awarded against them.. Mmmmm How to turn +$23 mil into -$mil….

#11
caf12:50 pm, 10 Aug 09

tortfeaser: Guess that’s about $100/year less rates that the rest of us have to pay, then. Sounds good to me.

#12
SheepGroper12:59 pm, 10 Aug 09

harvyk1 said :

The richer amoungst us simply parked illegally because they wouldn’t miss a $100 if they were fined, whilst to the lower paid that $100 could mean the difference between eating and not eating.

Gosh, the lower paid could just park legally in the first place.

#13
housebound1:25 pm, 10 Aug 09

I know of only one person who PLANS to park illegally, and includes the fine in their annual budget (they say it is cheaper than paying for all day parking every day).

Other than oddballs like that, most people don’t plan to get fined. It’s usually an accident.

#14
Special G3:08 pm, 10 Aug 09

Turn them into warrants. $100/or 1 day in the bin. Then when people start getting arrested or pay the fine on the spot things might get done. Linking it to suspensions is simply not working.

#15
ahappychappy4:06 pm, 10 Aug 09

harvyk1 said :

harley said :

Course – the rego idea works too, but I still want the relative value of the fine changed to discourage parking illegally just because the well off can afford it.

Harley, there has been a suggestion (in some of the richer suburbs of Sydney) of making fines a percentage of the weekly income for just this reason. The richer amoungst us simply parked illegally because they wouldn’t miss a $100 if they where fined, whilst the lower paid that $100 could mean the difference between eating and not eating.

Or maybe the people who need their $100 could park legally.

What about those who own an expensive car who don’t actually earn that much? Is that fair to them? Maybe they spent all of their savings on their car as they felt that a reliable/safer car is more important than a few other material goods.

Your logic is flawed.

#16
Holden Caulfield4:23 pm, 10 Aug 09

harley said :

My preference is to make the fine commensurate with the Redbook value of the vehicle. Say, 0.3%… A Falcodore would get a $90 fine, but a merc or audi might get a $270 fine. I see more tickets on high-value cars than on crap boxes.

Haha, is that your own work or did your mates at the Politburo help you with that one?

#17
Addison4:51 pm, 10 Aug 09

I wonder of the people who don’t pay their parking fines are also the ones who who don’t bother registering their cars?

#18
caf5:27 pm, 10 Aug 09

In Finland traffic fines are based on both the severity of the offence and the offender’s after-tax income.

#19
harley6:24 pm, 10 Aug 09

Holden Caulfield said :

harley said :

My preference is to make the fine commensurate with the Redbook value of the vehicle. Say, 0.3%… A Falcodore would get a $90 fine, but a merc or audi might get a $270 fine. I see more tickets on high-value cars than on crap boxes.

Haha, is that your own work or did your mates at the Politburo help you with that one?

hah, no it’s from my manifesto.

When I am the evil overlord…

#20
harley6:28 pm, 10 Aug 09

ahappychappy said :

Or maybe the people who need their $100 could park legally.

What about those who own an expensive car who don’t actually earn that much? Is that fair to them? Maybe they spent all of their savings on their car as they felt that a reliable/safer car is more important than a few other material goods.

Your logic is flawed.

And your logic isn’t? You’re saying if you can afford the fine, then go ahead and break the rules. I’m saying make the fine matter to those who can currently afford it.

If people have expensive cars but little disposable income, then they can well, lets see… oh, someone suggested PARKING LEGALLY….

#21
Joshua6:41 pm, 10 Aug 09

Special G said :

Turn them into warrants. $100/or 1 day in the bin. Then when people start getting arrested or pay the fine on the spot things might get done. Linking it to suspensions is simply not working.

Australian governments will do whatever they can to avoid jailing fine defaulters after the NSW case of Jamie Partlic, who was assaulted and left in a coma with permanent brain damage while serving a four-day sentence in Long Bay prison for unpaid fines in 1987. That one incident cost the taxpayers of NSW far more in damages than they were ever going to get from collecting some fines through the threat of imprisonment.

Cancelling registrations just means people end up driving unregistered (ie without insurance) so when they hit someone the taxpayer ends up picking up the medical and care costs. I would suggest the best solution is to seize the motor vehicle and sell it to pay the fines.

As a separate idea why are officers ticketing cars for illegal parking not able to check the vehicle’s current outstanding fine status immediately. Any car found to be illegally parked with outstanding tickets could then be immediately towed to an impound yard an sold at auction if the owner decides not to pay the fines and additional towing and impound fees. That should stop repeat offenders pretty quickly.

#22
Joshua6:43 pm, 10 Aug 09

caf said :

In Finland traffic fines are based on both the severity of the offence and the offender’s after-tax income.

The Finnish system is great.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1759791.stm

#23
TP 30007:13 pm, 10 Aug 09

Why not just have a National database & all unpaid Government monies is listed in this database, when you complete your tax return this database is checked & any owed monies come out of your tax return. Also a program could be devised so that an alert would come up if someone receiving Centrelink payments was entered into this database. Requests will be made for the culprit to voluntarily donate 10% of their payment. After 3 requests 25% of your pay would be deducted to repay the owned money.

Your information would stay on this database until your death is registered. So if you apply for the pension in 30 years Centrelink (or whatever it is called in the future) would be altered to your owned money from 2006 & will do what I said above.

#24
ahappychappy9:25 pm, 10 Aug 09

harley said :

ahappychappy said :

Or maybe the people who need their $100 could park legally.

What about those who own an expensive car who don’t actually earn that much? Is that fair to them? Maybe they spent all of their savings on their car as they felt that a reliable/safer car is more important than a few other material goods.

Your logic is flawed.

And your logic isn’t? You’re saying if you can afford the fine, then go ahead and break the rules. I’m saying make the fine matter to those who can currently afford it.

If people have expensive cars but little disposable income, then they can well, lets see… oh, someone suggested PARKING LEGALLY….

Where did I say that if you can afford the fine it is okay break the rules?
I said your idea is ridiculous, I didn’t say that anyone should break the rules at all.

I was the one who said how about people just park legally. Everyone should cop the fine at the same amount… by using your logic we may aswell up speeding fines for those who can afford the spare cash and demerit points. Congrats on your flame though, it was perfect. If only you had thought it through.

#25
bd849:57 pm, 10 Aug 09

Most of the fines will be from the Diplomatic community who got their licences from the back of a corn flakes box and from those living interstate. The ACT Government doesn’t have arrangements with other jurisdictions to recover fines or susend licences like they do for ACT residents. I believe there was a report from our friend the auditor-general a while ago on this matter, not much has changed by the looks.

#26
harley10:11 pm, 10 Aug 09

To paraphase your argument… “Don’t park illegally if you cannot afford it”, or “don’t do the crime if you can’t afford the time”. This is the same as “park illegally if you can afford it”. By only expecting those who “need their $100″ to park legally, you are implicitly permitting those who don’t need their $100 to do as they will, the law be damned. Q.E.D.

My manifesto (yes, thanks HC) is… “Dont park illegally, becuase we’ll make sure you can’t afford it”. There is NO deterrent factor to someone who can afford a $100 fine, so why bother doing the right thing. Hell, you probably won’t get caught anyway, and if you do, noone will chase you for it. (See, mods – I made it on topic!) Hell, I’m all for upping speeding fines, too, but the demerit system works no matter your financial status. Except for certain judges.

As for my final comment – I even quoted you saying “park legally”… Obviously the irony is lost on you.

#27
Anna Key10:22 pm, 10 Aug 09

Can you get the fine waived if you argue that you were stoned and didn’t intend to park illegally?

#28
toriness6:52 am, 11 Aug 09

some excellent enforcement ideas here, namely those at posts #21 (impounding car with multiple unpaid fines) and #23 (national register of unpaid fines which the ATO data-matches at tax-time) – hope some relevant pubes are reading this thread, quick bang these into a cab sub (whatever that is called at state/territory govt level) and send it up the line!

housebound at post #13 – parking fines are upwards from $60 – where is it that it costs $60/day to park?? surely not even in sydney?!

#29
Ceej19731:51 pm, 11 Aug 09

bd84 said :

Most of the fines will be from the Diplomatic community who got their licences from the back of a corn flakes box and from those living interstate. The ACT Government doesn’t have arrangements with other jurisdictions to recover fines or susend licences like they do for ACT residents. I believe there was a report from our friend the auditor-general a while ago on this matter, not much has changed by the looks.

BD84. What a ridiculous comment. Do you know any Diplomats. Maybe you work for TAMS and know some stats that the rest of Canberra doesnt. I do know a large number of Diplomats. They do have to pay fines as a matter of fact (well actually the Embassy does)which is frowned upon by their respective Government when it becomes an ongoing issue. If Diplomats didnt have bright blue plates that said look at me, I wonder if your opinion, like many Canberrans, would be so discriminative. Maybe you want to find that Auditor generals report and posting it on Riotact before making such outlandish judgements.

#30
ChrisinTurner10:07 pm, 11 Aug 09

Suspending a driver’s license or a vehicle’s registration is only effective if there is a reasonable likelihood of being caught when the suspension is ignored. What happened to the system that was being trialled months ago to easily detect these people?

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