Extreme speeds on ACT roads put spotlight on fines and tougher penalties

Dominic Giannini 18 June 2020 56
ACT Policing

ACT Policing has again called on Canberra drivers to slow down after a spate of high-range speeding incidents over the weekend. Photo: ACT Policing.

Questions have been raised about whether high-range speeding infringements in the ACT should result in on-the-spot licence suspensions after a driver travelling at 214km/h along the Majura Parkway over the weekend was able to drive home.

ACT Policing has repeatedly expressed frustration at drivers over a spate of high-speed infringements across the Territory during the pandemic, but the Government has refused to commit to tougher penalties in the Territory.

The top tier speeding offence – speeding at more than 45 km/h over the limit – attracts a $1841 fine and six demerit points, but police cannot suspend a driver’s licence on the spot.

Across the border, NSW Police can immediately confiscate a driver’s licence at the roadside for six months for exceeding the speed limit by 45 km/h.

In NSW, the car may also be impounded, repossessed or have its number plates confiscated if the driver is caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 45 km/h, while travelling 30 km/h over the speed limit carries an instant three-month disqualification.

Mandatory suspension periods and car impounding and repossession are also in place in Victoria.

While the ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury expressed his disappointment at ACT drivers who continue to flout road rules, he did not commit to tougher penalties such as mandatory suspensions.

“I am really staggered at some of the numbers we are seeing in terms of the speed people are doing. It is incredibly irresponsible,” he said.

“We are currently reviewing the ACT’s road safety strategy and one of the things we will be looking at is a review of the penalties for speeding. It is clear that some people in the community are just not getting the message.

“We will be looking at a range of penalty options to further provide incentives for people to do the right thing.”

The Road Safety Action Plan review is set to wrap up in the coming months as the current strategy expires at the end of this year.

Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman said tougher penalties should be put on the table by the ACT Government, but refused to comment on what specific measures ACT Policing would recommend.

Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman

Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman called the high-range speeding offences “disgusting and indefensible”. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

“ACT Policing will continue to work with Government,” he said. “In other states and territories there are harsher penalties and consequences, now we need to look at those [and] consider those.

“Legislative reform is a matter for government. We will be examining what is going on in other jurisdictions, providing the data and the information to the ACT Government and the ACT Government can determine what the penalties are.

“Speed cameras are one way of dealing with excessive speed but when you look at it, it is about driver behaviour and about people being responsible themselves. If enforcement was the key answer to this, we would have solved the problem a long time ago.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman said he would discuss the matter with Mr Rattenbury, but did not commit to legislative reform. However, Mr Gentleman said the Government would act on police feedback as it did with the new police car ramming laws.

“We will have to look at the amount of events we see occur. We have seen a spike in high-speed occasions over the last couple of weeks, and indeed during the COVID incident we have seen more speeding across the ACT,” he said.

“Our speed limits are appropriate across the ACT. People do not need to be speeding and if they are caught there are severe fines and penalties.”


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56 Responses to Extreme speeds on ACT roads put spotlight on fines and tougher penalties
Simon Gadgets Simon Gadgets 6:45 pm 18 Jun 20

Simple impound the car n make them walk just like Victoria do

chettb chettb 4:56 pm 18 Jun 20

Australia seems to have an unhealthy preoccupation with speed limits and excessively tough enforcement with excessively high fines. The contrast with Europe is stark although the accident rates are not dissimilar. The high fines and loss of licences make life exceedingly different for the average worker. In many cases there is very low investment in roads but the money is spent on cameras and policing. The nature of the adverts on Tv especially in NSW and Victoria portray the police as Nazi stormtroopers waiting yo nab the gullible motorist. Such adverts are absent in Europe or even North America for fear of portraying the police as an a unfriendly force! The recent news item featuring the views of a retired judge on drug testing says it all. There is no basis for the excessive enforcement models currently implemented by Australian traffic authorities. The use of average speed cameras, phone use detection cameras, high fines for minor offences, drug testing etc make the Australian motorists’ environment one of the most unfriendly in the world! I have previously worked in transport and road safety and hence I am not speaking from a position of bias.

Jay Kay Jay Kay 8:47 am 18 Jun 20

The bigger question we should be asking ourselves is why government continues to and cannot provide roads safe enough for higher speeds.

Acton Acton 2:54 pm 17 Jun 20

Europe is so much more advanced than us in their understanding of vehicles, drivers and managing traffic. There are no speed limits on autobahns and people get quite safely from A to B at high speeds.

    jcjordan jcjordan 4:29 pm 17 Jun 20

    I suggest that you look at what percentage of roads in Germany actually have the no limit apply. I will give you a hint its less than 2% and focus only on outside of metropolitan areas between major population centres. You need to consider that the driver training standards are far more complex than in Australia and so are the road worthiness compliance requirements. You also need to look at how they deal with failure of drivers to meet the standards. The loss of a licence, which in the context of points is about twice as likely than us, actually means a loss of the licence. Unlike a suspension her where you get your full licence back after a short period in most of Europe a loss requires you to resit your testing after your prohibition period.

    Acton Acton 10:50 am 18 Jun 20

    I was not suggesting there be unlimited speed limits through the middle of the city.

    JC JC 7:19 pm 17 Jun 20

    And either way I am certain 200Km+ on the Majura Parkway would be most people’s measure even the Germans be considered a bit excessive and dangerous.

Stephen Mee Stephen Mee 1:46 pm 17 Jun 20

Do this speed on some roads in Europe in the wrong lane and you'll get a fine for slowing traffic.

grim123 grim123 10:11 am 17 Jun 20

Just the ACT government looking for a new way to revenue raise, rather than actually addressing the problem. Nothing unusual.

Stephen Roberts Stephen Roberts 7:12 am 17 Jun 20

In Victoria the car would be seized by police for 30 days & towed to lockup. If 3rd offence car wound be crushed. Also Driver instant loss of licence for 6 months. ACT soft on crime?

Les Eite Les Eite 6:41 am 17 Jun 20

More for the call for a race track so the public can have this experience in a safe manner instead of putting lives on the line like in Nurburgring

    Patrick Keogh Patrick Keogh 9:41 am 17 Jun 20

    Perhaps you have not heard of Wakefield Park. Less than 90km away from where this offence was committed, so less than an hour even for those obeying the speed limit! Poor excuse.

Alexandra Hughes Alexandra Hughes 4:36 am 17 Jun 20

Should have lost licence on the spot. Manner dangerous.

    Gary Keogh Gary Keogh 8:38 am 17 Jun 20

    Alexandra Hughes Considering you can lose your license on the spot for being over the BAC limit.

Steven Harris Steven Harris 10:34 pm 16 Jun 20

This story is obviously fake news. No Ford could go that fast!

    Stephen Roberts Stephen Roberts 7:15 am 17 Jun 20

    Steven Harris most cars on road can get to 200 km/hr if pushed.

Joanne Clark Joanne Clark 10:18 pm 16 Jun 20

Loss of license on the spot, car confiscated and destroyed, court appearance to determine length of license loss but should be a minimum beginning value of a year with an increase of 3 months for each 20km over the limit. Might make a few of these speeders think twice

Ann Chaplin Ann Chaplin 9:40 pm 16 Jun 20

Just simply revenue raising.

Richard Willcoxson Richard Willcoxson 9:34 pm 16 Jun 20

How is that not automatic cancellation of license on the spot? 45 over the limit in NSW the police can take their license on the spot. Person has total disregard for others safety

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 8:22 pm 16 Jun 20

So the epidemic of bad driving continues! Why is it that the government moved decisively against a virus entering our community from outside but ignores such an internal regulatory and policy failure that kills and maims many more. And why are all parties in sync with the do nothing approach?

    David Ward David Ward 8:43 pm 16 Jun 20

    Bill Gemmell if they did anything to improve the legislation then Giulia would be in trouble. Gotta protect the worst drivers when they're inside the assembly.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 9:12 pm 16 Jun 20

    David Ward old mountain man, legislation will make no difference if you won't resource the function properly.

    David Ward David Ward 9:27 pm 16 Jun 20

    Bill Gemmell totally agree!

    David Ward David Ward 9:28 pm 16 Jun 20

    ... old mountain man 😂😂😂

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 9:39 pm 16 Jun 20

    David Ward alright man mountain, at 6' 20"!

    Wendy Miles Wendy Miles 7:49 am 17 Jun 20

    David Ward ? 6 ft 20 ins?

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 8:32 am 17 Jun 20

    Wendy Miles well this 6' tall guy has to look up to the clouds to make eye contact

    David Ward David Ward 11:37 am 17 Jun 20

    Bill Gemmell I'm guessing you and Wendy Miles have met before? If not, you have now.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 11:43 am 17 Jun 20

    David Ward yes David we have exchanged the odd note over recent years

    Wendy Miles Wendy Miles 3:05 pm 17 Jun 20

    David Ward Thanks Dave.

Peter Carter Peter Carter 7:41 pm 16 Jun 20

How about putting more police on the roads?

    Martin McMaster Martin McMaster 12:33 pm 17 Jun 20

    Police have to spread their resources and since they actually caught these people perhaps they've got the numbers right

    Peter Carter Peter Carter 4:47 pm 17 Jun 20

    Martin McMaster Nope. I agree they have to spread their resources but no way in the world is there enough police on the roads. They caught 2 people out of the hundreds they could catch every day-to-day if the government gave them the resources.

Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins 7:39 pm 16 Jun 20

This happens because there is very little penalty if you get caught. What a joke.

    Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 11:30 pm 16 Jun 20

    Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins there is at those speeds. They will, lose their licences.

    Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins 8:39 am 17 Jun 20

    Robyn Holder it says it was a $1800 fine and 6 demerit points... which to me seems like an insufficient penalty.

Sarah Beatty Sarah Beatty 7:12 pm 16 Jun 20

Impound their car. They do it in Victoria if they are more than 40km over the limit or caught doing burn outs. 30 days plus impound fees no excuses. Impound it the first time, with no warnings... it’s not that people don’t know the rules, they just ignore them.

    Damien DiMunno Damien DiMunno 2:09 pm 17 Jun 20

    Sarah Beatty "they" should also crush the cars and cancel the licenses of those who don't stop at stop signs. Should take care of 95% of those who drive now!

Amanda Eisman Amanda Eisman 7:05 pm 16 Jun 20

The driver should have lost the car along with their license.

Kerri Hallas Kerri Hallas 6:58 pm 16 Jun 20

Small price to pay for many the lives involved...

    Noel Benjamin Noel Benjamin 9:54 pm 16 Jun 20

    Yes. He should have had his license suspended and his car confiscated.

Greg Ophel Greg Ophel 6:55 pm 16 Jun 20

Drove home ?

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