On Monday 22 November, 2010, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally announced "major changes" to Mobile Speed Cameras and Licensing Laws, stating that they are "...the biggest reforms to the Demerit Points Scheme since it was introduced".
The biggest reform in the mind of the everyday motorist was probably when the points for speeding less than 15 kph over the limit were increased from 1 point to 2 points and then to 3 points. This probably impacted upon the general public more than any other Traffic Law.
These refreshing changes, however, are expected to be introduced into Parliament during the week.
First, the Demerit Point Scheme will be changed to the extent that unrestricted licence holders will be able to accumulate 13 points over a three year period instead of the current 12 points.
Accredited Criminal Law Specialist Peter Proctor, the Principal of Proctor and Associates, says, "This means that when a licence holder accumulates 12 points, instead of having to decide between the current good behaviour licence, or doing the three months suspension, such driver will have a 1 point cushion before such decision is implemented.
"Professional drivers will do even better, and be furnished with one more point - they will be allowed 14 points in total. A good move, but it will be interesting to see what the definition of a 'professional driver' is," continued Mr Proctor.
Other changes involve a reduction or removal of demerit points to 22 different offences. Driving in a bus lane or T way will now be 1 point instead of 3 points. Five of the roundabout offences will have no points instead of the previous 2 points. Eight of the keep left offences will be reduced from 3 points to 2 points. Two of the towing offences will have no points and three of the vehicle indicator offences will no longer have any points.
This reform is a much needed breath of fresh air into the demerit point system.
For too long the system has operated to cause oppression upon members of the public, particularly those that might be described as 'professional drivers' such as truckies, taxi drivers and sales personnel.
Mobile Speed Cameras have come in for a lot of criticism in recent weeks.
It seems that the Government has listened to the People, to the extent that it will give a "warning" of the presence of a mobile speed camera, requiring that they be positioned at least 50 metres from the site. Also such vehicles housing these cameras will be clearly signposted and marked in bright colours.
"I have always held the view that if these 'speed traps' are located in such a way that there is no warning of their presence, they are nothing more than a 'revenue raiser'," says Mr Proctor. "The effect of these cameras being deployed without warning does not reduce speed. A 50 metre warning sign probably won't save speeding motorists from a penalty notice, but at least they will be aware that they have been caught, and maybe slow down in the future, so it may serve at least in some way to reduce speeding motorists."
There are still more changes that need to be implemented within the "penalty system" of Licensing laws.
In its news release, the Government has decided to establish a working party with a view to reviewing other critical road policy questions.
Mr Proctor states that the working party is something he feels he could contribute to, and be a part of. The issues that will be reviewed in the working party are:
- Whether NSW should move to introduce automatic demerit point penalties for drink driving offences - similar to Victoria.
- Whether sanctions other than demerit points, e.g. completing a driver education, course could be used to reduce demerit point penalties.
- Whether demerit points should be imposed when a Section 10 application results in a conviction not being recorded; and
- How motorists whose licences have been suspended can apply for restricted "hardship" licences permitting them to drive for short periods during their licence suspension to alleviate employment or family hardship.
Mr Proctor has been fighting for a number of these implementations for quite some time on behalf of his clients.
"Too often have I seen members of the public have their lives ruined because of a loss of licence over a loss of points involving a very minor offence," explains Mr Proctor.
It is to be hoped that these Questions for Review will be fruitful. Peter Proctor hopes that the Government will bring the discussions on as quickly as possible.
Proctor and Associates
As the principal of Proctor and Associates, Peter C. Proctor has progressed through the ranks from Police officer to Police Prosecutor, Barrister and now Practicing Solicitor.
Holding an Accreditation as a Specialist in Criminal Law, Peter has a vast knowledge of all facets of Criminal Law which enables him to give you the best advice available.
As a police prosecutor for a number of years, Peter gained substantial experience on a daily basis which involved almost all areas of the Criminal Law and Traffic Law.
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