A 17-year-old learner driver was left “shocked” after being fined more than $1600 for driving with her mum during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Sharee Reynolds was supervising her daughter, Hunter, as she drove from their Hampton home to Frankston at the weekend when the pair were pulled over by police and fined for non-essential travel.
“We didn’t think for one minute that we would be doing anything wrong. We weren’t in contact with any person, we weren’t stopping anywhere,” Sharee told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
“She [the police officer] said we were too far from home and we would cop a fine, and that Hunter would be the person to receive that fine.”
When the mother and daughter questioned the fine, Sharee said the police officer told her police were “smashing it on the roads today”.
Then from The Age we read:
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton stood by the decision to issue the fine at a press conference on Monday afternoon, saying the driving lesson was “non-essential travel”.
“There’s lots of things we’d all like to do right now, but this is not the world we live in at the moment,” he said.
Police Minister Lisa Neville also said in a tweet that the rules were set by the Chief Health Officer who “has made clear it’s not essential activity and doesn’t fit in the 4 reasons to stay home”.
“We [are] all relying on health advice and police then enforce direction. [Victoria Police] doing great job,” she wrote.
I would have thought that driving lessons constituted “study”.
Update I: Victoria Police doubles down
Where people are so blatant or obvious or reckless, we’ll fine them.
You just can’t get out and go for a drive.
Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton.
Yes people, teaching your children to drive is going “for a drive”.
In other news, people with holiday homes can just go for a drive.
… Prof Sutton said families with a holiday home could safely travel there if they confined themselves to the home.
He said if families usually lived together and went away together, there was no extra risk as long as they followed the same stay at home directions.
I imagine MPs, senior government bureaucrats, and the like need to get away from the stress of living at home and have a nice break in the country over the long weekend. Luckily the police will be keeping all the riff-raff at bay.
Update II: Humiliating back-flip by Victoria Police.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton has said that the $1652 on-the-spot social distancing fine issued to a Hampton learner driver would be withdrawn.
Mr Patton said police should have shown discretion.
“We are going to be withdrawing that infringement this morning,” he said.