As the Easter weekend approaches, the number of drivers suspended skyrockets. Double demerits means even drivers with good records could be suspended for one mistake.
Despite the obvious tip of obeying the traffic laws to avoid losing your licence, here are some practical things you can do to avoid being suspended.
1. Be aware of the penalties
You can be suspended by the RMS for speeding over 30km/h (3 months), over 45km/h (6 months) or for exceeding your demerit points (4 points for P1, 7 points for P2 and 13 points for an unrestricted licence).
The Police can immediately suspend a Provisional Licence holder on the spot for speeding over 30km/h or 45km/h, or an unrestricted licence holder speeding over 45km/h.
2. Watch out for work zones
By far one of the most common ways drivers lose their licence is speeding in a work zone. Sudden speed drops to 40km/h, with drivers slow to react and maintaining a speed of even 70km/h, could see you suspended for 3 months. Maintaining speed at 85km/h will see you suspended for 6 months!
3. Be careful what you say to police when pulled over
If you are pulled over for speeding, and you eventually decide to challenge or appeal the suspension in court, the RMS will provide the magistrate with a copy of the police infringement. The copy given to the magistrate records what you said to police them when asked about the speeding. Responses like “are you serious?”, “no one else was around”, “I was testing out the car” or “don’t you have better things to do” will not help your case in court.
4. Watch for Mobile Speed Camera Signs
Mobile speed cameras were introduced in NSW in 1991 and again more frequently in 2008. They are located in areas where there is a high frequency and severity of crashes, where members of the community or police have nominated an area, or where the location is difficult to enforce by police using other methods.
Part of the mobile camera strategy involves highly visibility signage to act as a deterrent. There will always be warning signage placed both before and after the mobile speed camera vehicle, so watch out for the signs.
5. Be aware of your appeal rights and the strict time limits
Despite best intentions, sometimes things of wrong. Almost all suspensions (police and RMS) can be appealed in the Local Court. You only have 28 days to appeal these suspension. Otherwise the suspension stands.
As the holiday period approaches, drive safe. Remember, most cars now have alarms and warnings that can be set at various speeds, warning you when you are speeding. It is an easy and cheap way of keeping an eye on your speed, and avoiding high order speeding fines of over 30km/h or 45km/h.
By Justin Wong