Ben Shearman writes:

Drivers caught speeding or running a red light normally get hit with a double whammy – they cop a hefty fine and rack up demerit points on their licence. And if you get nabbed often enough, you’ll collect enough points to lose your licence.

But Crikey has learned that there’s a glaring loophole in some states that allows people to speed as often as they like and then pay their way out of the demerit points.

Here’s how it works in Victoria: If you’re driving a car registered in a company name and get caught by a speed or red-light camera, the fine is posted to the company. It’s then up to the company to nominate the driver of the car so that demerit points can be allocated to the right person’s licence. But if the company fails to nominate a driver after 28 days, and then fails to respond to a reminder notice after another 14 days, it gets a $614 bill for a “corporate fee” – and that’s the end of the matter. No demerit points are allocated and no-one risks losing their licence.

Crikey understands that a number of people who have twigged to the loophole are more than happy to register their cars in a company name and then pay the $614 fee rather than rack up the demerit points and lose their licence. It’s the perfect lurk – or business expense – for people who drive a lot and depend on their cars for their living – people like tradesmen, salesmen, couriers and chauffeurs.

And it’s even worse (or better, depending which seat you’re in) in other states. In Queensland and SA, companies aren’t even asked to nominate a driver, but can just pay the “corporate fee” – $300 in SA and five times the usual fine in Queensland.

But the loophole isn’t an option in NSW, where a traffic fine issued to a company can’t be paid until a driver is nominated. If the company doesn’t come up with a name in time, the matter goes to court – a much more sensible system for a government serious about making people obey speed limits.

CRIKEY: If you’ve heard of any similar rorts – send us an email at [email protected]