Spot the Victorian driver

He’ll be the one driving at the speed limit.

As long time readers will know, I have no sympathy for people who get done for speeding. At the same time I think the Victorian Police spend too much time and effort on traffic offences as opposed to catching actual criminals. So this piece of nonsense in The Age is really annoying:

More than 1.34 million drivers were caught speeding last financial year, according to latest published figures. It’s an unacceptably high number, but not the least bit surprising to anyone who’s spent more than five minutes on our roads recently. Red lights and speed limits are apparently discretionary to many these days.

1.34 million drivers is a very high number. It is unacceptable – but for a different reason.

It turns out that if a motorist is caught driving at less than 10km/h over the limit, admits the offence and hasn’t been caught any time in the previous two years, they stand a very good chance of being let off. No fines, no loss of points. About half of those who wrote to police in the past three years putting that case beat the rap. Why police give speedsters this escape route is beyond me. It’s essentially a get-out-of-jail free card and you can renew it every two years.

The margin of error on Victorian roads is 3km/h. So if your speed less 3km/h is greater than the posted limit you get fined. Quite possibly the Police have formed the opinion that 3km/h is too fine a margin for traffic enforcement. If so, they should consistently apply that guideline and not selectively to those who make the effort to write a letter.

From reading the piece it isn’t clear to me that Guthrie knows much about Victorian traffic.

But there is this:

Like me, Mr Robinson can’t understand why police are being so lenient with motorists driving up to 10km/h over the speed limit. As he says: “People can find themselves 5km/h over the speed limit and it’s a genuine mistake, but at 10km/h over you know you’re speeding. We shouldn’t be letting them off.”

If there is to be a margin for error it should surely be no more than 5km/h.

Okay – I have some sympathy for that view. But what we’re then debating is what should be a reasonable margin of error. It seems 10km/h may be too much and 3km/h too little.

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