A subscriber writes:
Another rort I heard about several years ago was cheaper than the
‘corporate fee’ strategy… The idea was to pay slightly more
than the fine, but not cash the government-issued cheque for the
balance. The computer system couldn’t manage if there was an
amount different to the actual fine, so couldn’t process the allied
demerits. Urban myth? Dunno, but it just seems like it’s
plausibly absurd enough to be true!
A better one for mum & dad drivers exists in Victoria, but it only
works if you get a copy of the photo and hope it does not show a
recongnisable driver. Mum and dad have two cars, one in his name, one
in her’s. Dad gets a
camera fine for speeding BUT he fills in the form on the back and says,
“My wife and I have two cars, each in our own name. Unfortunately we do
not keep a diary of who drives which car at any time and as the phot
does not help identifiy the driver, we cannot nominate who was driving.
It was not me, but I cannot say for sure it was my wife.” Wife fills in
a stat dec along the same lines.
Send it off, wait two weeks and presto, a notice in the mail that the
fine is withdrawn. Saved my licence that way a couple of times while
working as a rep.
A Careful Driver writes:
I had a speed-demon friend who lived in Victoria. However, he had a family
member living in the Northern Territory, where apparently they still don’t
have a demerit point system.
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When he would get the fine and demerit points, he would say it was the
Territorian driving his car, so the fine would get transferred to him. The
original driver would give the money to the Territorian and Bob’s your
uncle, no demerit points.
A subscriber writes:
In Tasmania all vehicle owners are asked to
nominate a driver. Failure to do so can result in a fine of $250, jointly and
severally payable, for vehicles registered in joint names such as husband and
wife. If a company owns the vehicle the failure to nominate the driver attracts
a double fine payable by the company secretary, but no points deducted.
However, the police rarely bother to issue summons for failure to nominate the
driver as the police prosecutions section claims
that they are “too busy.” Thus people can usually avoid any points loss or
paying the $250 fine if they register all family vehicles in joint names.
Ian Judd writes:
I’m a Bail justice and am able to witness Statutory
Declaration documents and it is quite common for a guy to be nominating his
wife as the driver to take some of his points. They don’t always say anything
but I know that’s what’s happening.
CGH from NSW writes:
It is also common for spouses and sometimes other close family members to take
false responsibility. Normally this occurs as a partner or family member gets
close to the demerit points limit. Some years ago my wife got caught by a red
light camera but because the car was registered only in my name I received the
bluey in the mail. While she did pay the fine and lost some points the actual
process proved to be administratively cumbersome and inconvenient. As the
registered owner I had to send back a statement nominating the person
responsible for the offence. This statement had to be witnessed by someone; but
not any one (there was a list of acceptable people eg JP etc). In the end I had
to go to the local police station and get a police person to witness the
statement. In retrospect it would have been simpler to just wear the demerit
points pay the fine and get the dollars back from my wife, especially as I have
not lost any points for at least 4 or 5 years.
Peter Marer writes:
The other rort is to
nominate the driver as an overseas resident. As long as you sign a statutory
declaration, get the licence no (real or made up) and pay the fine the demerit
points are never allocated to the real driver. Simple
The failure of the system is simple. Who was driving the car? My mother
picks up the points because she is 68 and has not driven a car for
years. The family offender pays the fine and she doesn’t give a damn if
she loses her licence. It is all a bit silly when anybody can rock off
an airplane from a country where they drive on the wrong side of the
road, know stuff all about our traffic laws and hire a car for a
fortnight. Go fast. Is the rental company responsible?
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.
Here’s how it works in the United Arab Emirates: the authorities have
recently embraced the concept of speed cameras, but unlike the zero
tolerance/punish the driver regime in Victoria, here, it’s a little
more haphazard. The cameras are only set to go off when you’re at least
20kph over the limit. This means you can hurtle along at 140kph down
most freeways. In the city, although the limit is officially
60kph, 80 -100kph is the usual speed except down the most congested
side streets (and even then some idiots will try).
While a truck driver who dares leave the far right slow lane risks
being deported (really) – often resulting in lines of trucks hundreds
and hundreds of vehicles long – there are no demerit points or licence
suspensions for cars. All the cameras are clearly visible as you
approach them, and given that some drivers still fly past at 160kph+
without them flashing it appears many don’t have film in them.
If you do get photographed and fined, you only find out about it when
you go to renew your car registration. Last week ours was due
(not that you’d know, as they don’t actually send out a renewal notice
or anything). The renewal process is normally an incredibly tedious
procedure that involves numerous counters and forms and a full vehicle
inspection that can waste a good part of a day. However, if you send a
woman to do a man’s job, they get to go straight to the “Ladies
Section” and jump all the queues. My wife – ably assisted by our
curly-haired, blonde 1 year old baby turning on the cutes – had it all
done within about half-an-hour!
The final part of the process is paying outstanding fines from the past
year. An emirati colleague at work told me her brother had
clocked up Dhs10,000 in fines last year, but if you’re a National with
“influence”) you can often get them waived. People with *wusta*
typically have licence plates with only 2 or 3 digits: our licence
plate is 97316…
We fortunately didn’t have any speeding fines, but if there were, we
had another trump to play: it is said that women – especially if they
have a cute baby in tow – can usually get them reduced or even wiped
off the system altogether as well.
An indication of how well the traffic police are respected here: if
you’re driving in the fast lane (or sometime any lane at all) often
cars will quickly loom up behind you out of nowhere, flashing their
lights and aggressively tailgating until you pull across. It can be
quite scary. A couple of weeks ago I was driving to Al Ain and saw that
there was a traffic police car ahead of me in the fast lane, travelling
at a fairly sedate 130kph. All of a sudden a big black Land Cruiser
zoomed up behind it
– it must have been going at least 180kph – and started madly flashing
its headlights until the police car got out of the way. The Land
Cruiser then zoomed off until it was a black blur on the horizon. No
wonder the UAE has such an appalling road safety record!
The traffic police usually stick close to the speed limit, but no one
else seems to. I haven’t ever tried the flashing headlights routine,
but the first few times I’ve sped past a police car it’s felt pretty
strange. I must remember when I get back to Victoria that routinely
driving at 20-40 kph over the speed limit or cheerfully overtaking a
police car would probably get you locked up, banned for driving for 10
years, and shamed on the front page of the Herald-Sun!
Update: whereas I fear that in Victoria some time soon you are going to
need to have a man waving red flag walking in front of your car, the
government here has just announced the official speed limit is going to
be raised from 120 kmph to 160 kmph on the major highways “because the
roads are so wide and smooth”