If you’re one of the many thousands of Canberrans who has recently received one, or multiple, unwanted speeding fines in the mail, read this before you pay.
Raking in $1.6 million and catching more than 6000 drivers per week, the large swathe of Northbourne Avenue and Barry Drive which is now a 40 km/h zone has quickly become a real pain point for motorists – as the 24,050 infringement notices issued from 5 July to 3 August attest.
But people with a burning letter in their hand should know that Access Canberra offers several possibilities to lessen the immediacy of the financial penalty, or alleviate it completely.
You can take action online, but you must do something within 28 days or face an additional fee.
Options include applying for a withdrawal, entering into a payment plan, or disputing the fine.
Generally, individuals who have a good driving record can apply for a withdrawal. It means you accept, in all likelihood, an infringement did occur, but you won’t have to pay it.
This requires a clean record of at least five years, and if you hold an interstate driver’s licence, you’ll have to provide the ACT Road Transport Authority (RTA) with a copy of your clean driving history from the relevant jurisdiction.
If this isn’t an option, and you’re concerned about paying the fine, or fines, in one hit, you can also apply to enter into a payment plan.
When you do this, the demerits will all be applied in one go, but the fine can be paid off in manageable instalments instead of all at once.
There’s also the possibility of entering a work or development plan, but there are quite significant criteria you have to meet, such as having a mental or physical disability, illness, or being subject to domestic violence or homelessness.
Experiencing financial hardship is also grounds to apply for a waiver. But once again, quite significant conditions apply to this, and you’re required to submit some detailed evidence to support it.
If somebody else was driving your vehicle at the time of the infringement, you must complete an online declaration to notify the RTA before you pay the fine. But once the fine has been paid, the associated demerit points will be applied to your licence and cannot be transferred to the responsible party.
There’s also the option of disputing the fine.
This should only be picked if you don’t think you’re liable for the infringement because, in these instances, Access Canberra will refer the matter to the courts.
You can also request more time, either because you can’t pay it yet, or you can’t yet decide which of the options you want to take.
Fines start at $260 and range up to $1830. Motorists caught driving between 15 km/h and 30 km/h above the speed limit can face fines of more than $438 and three demerit points.
Canberrans do not need to attend an Access Canberra Service Centre in order to pay, manage or dispute their infringement, but should be advised that all service centres are cashless.
Payment can also be made at your local post office, or by cheque via post.
If you do require assistance, you can call 13 22 81 or visit one of the five service centres in Tuggeranong, Woden, Gungahlin, Dickson and Belconnen.
A spokesperson for Access Canberra described the new 40 km/h zones as imperative to maintain a safe environment for all pedestrians and road users.
“Preliminary data shows we have already seen an approximate 36 per cent reduction in the number of crashes since the new 40 km/h zone was introduced,” said the spokesperson.