Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Holier than thou

"Almost two million enforcement orders have been issued to Victorians who have failed their fines in the past financial year.  
The latest annual report by the department's Infringement Management and Enforcement Services shows enforcement orders rose more than 6 per cent on the previous year to about 1.86 million." Here is a link to the full article but you may not be able to read it as it is a partly paid service. 
A bit more copy and paste: "Enforcement orders are issued when infringements remain unpaid and can result in a range of actions from suspension of vehicle registration to bailing a person to appear in court.
The total number of infringements issued in the past financial year hit almost 5.07 million, compared to 5.32 million the year before.
The range of infringements included traffic, parking, public transport, speeding, drink and drug driving and other transgressions. Traffic infringements accounted for the majority of notices issued.
Victoria Legal Aid is alarmed by the rise in people facing harsh disciplinary action, including court appearances." The newspaper article goes on and on.
In 1975 I sat for my driving licence. I was not perfect and received a 98% score. I had issues with not having a perfect score, but the criticisms were not too unfair. I saw where the testing person was coming from. I was perhaps wrong that I did not use my left indicator when reverse parking. I was not wrong about using my rear view mirror. I was told to swivel your eyes to your mirror, rather than turn your head. But by not turning my head to look at the mirror the tester said I did not use my rear view mirror enough. I did.
I once parked illegally in town in a minor street when I and someone were going to a movie. Fair cop, Guv. The handwriting of the policeman reminded me of the Lawson poem with the line, 'written with a thumbnail dipped in tar'. Not that my handwriting is so good. I hate handwriting and avoid it at all costs. "R, can you fill in this form for me?"
My next fine was when I took an ill friend to the Alfred Hospital and overstayed a space. I received a fine. Fair cop, Guv. The friend payed the fine. 
I will just park here illegally for only two minutes at the ANZ Bank in Balaclava in about 1979. Fair cop, Guv. 
I am not liking this fining thing. Perhaps I need to legally park, and ever since I have.
We all break rules at times, but there is a time and a place. On a quiet and straight country road, I once wound my Valiant up to 96mph before she reached valve bounce. That is 155 km/h. Terribly irresponsible, but I was a stupid youth of 18 growing up in the country. My knowledge of cars was the only connection the young gay Andrew with his non gay compatriots of his age. 
Almost every day for the last 40 years I have driven daily to and from work five or six days a week. I have driven so often to the shops. I have driven when we are holidaying. I hate driving, but it is necessary so often. In that whole time I have never received any sort of driving fine.
I am not perfect. So often the mellifluously voiced Madame GPS tells me, "You are over the speed limit". It is usually by one or two kilometres, and usually as I am slowing down after the speed limit has dropped.  She of course takes no notice of my often vulgar remark back to her, and she so often gets in wrong, such as a week when schools are on holidays and she warns me of the school speed limit and tells me I am over the speed limit.

We pay big time to use toll roads and I am so against the concept of roads being privately owned, but we pay. Many of the fines accumulated mentioned above are for driving on a private toll roads. 
Given all the driving I do not received any fines, so don't expect people with multiple fines who can't or won't pay them to receive any sympathy from me. I have such schadenfreude feelings when I see the Sheriff clamp vehicles for unpaid fines, especially if they are expensive vehicles. 
If I can park correctly and basically obey the driving laws, and pay the fee for using toll roads, then why can't other people? The above story speaks of people with umpteen multiple offences.  If you are poor and can't afford to use toll roads, then you must take the longer route, which may not be much longer at all.

29 comments:

  1. Yes.
    Here in my city the diplomatic corp use their position to avoid paying fines. Parking fines, speeding fines, and, even worse drink driving fines and charges for dangerous driving. Some embassies have unpaid fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hiss and spit.

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    1. EC, the same applies here to diplomats and worse, if their families are driving a diplomatic car. It is a disgrace and I've never understood the justification for such nonsense.

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  2. People with multiple offences must have a lot going on for them really. You'd think they would learn from a few offences.

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    1. Blogoratti, they have a curious mindset to me.

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  3. In Australia, before the year 2006, speedometers could legally be plus or minus 10%. This means that a speed of 100km/h the speedo could indicate anywhere between 90km/h and 110km/h.

    Some of those 2006 cars are still on the road. Many of them have had tyres replaced, which can put the speedo out even further. Most states with roadworthy inspections do not test the accuracy of the speedo at all.

    After 2006, the law was changed to read - The speedo must not indicate a speed less than the vehicle’s true speed or a speed greater than the vehicle’s true speed by an amount more than 10 percent plus 4 km/h.

    So when I got my car in 2010, I tested the speedo with satellite apps and GPS. My car was officially 10% out. If I was doing 100 as seen on the speedo, I was really doing 91. And I adjusted my driving accordingly so that I was not constantly being overtaken by everyone.

    After 5 years, we noticed my tyres had begun to craze. So we headed in and replaced them. Not long after that I tested my speedo again and it was now correct instead of 10% out. So I had to unlearn all my adjustments.

    Having typed all this out, how many people reading this have done any of what I did? Does anyone here know whether their speedo is accurate? Does anyone here test it regularly? Did anyone know about these laws especially the one before 2006 if they have a 2006 vehicle? Did anyone know they could be driving 10% slower than they expected in a brand new car they just bought and drove off the dealers yard, and that by changing the tyres they could suddenly be doing a new speed as a surprise to themselves, even though the speedo shows the same?

    I am guessing the answer to all of those questions is no. And this is how a lot of people get fined. :(

    So test your speedos folks. There are a lot of apps for your phone which can do it.

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    1. Snoskred, even our newest car indicates 100 km/h when it is only travelling at 95. We have a couple of electronic speedo testing systems on our freeways, but well out of town. They are not guaranteed to be accurate though. I do know about the change but not which year it was. I know tyre wear can make a difference but I did not realise 10%.

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  4. They don't get my sympathy, either! There is too much arrogance around these days...and too many "precious" people who believe they are immune to the laws!!

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    1. Lee, arrogance and preciousness, an evil combination.

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  5. To me this seem a little hard on moving infraction of traffic law...Lot of place over toll bridge most rigs have a clicker like thing and when you go across the bridge and once month your bill for it...But around here I know business if you write a check and it balance they will post it to there shame wall...Coffee is on

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    1. Dora, we have to have credit on our tags when we use toll roads or a bridge, otherwise it costs even more. I don't mind shame walls.

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  6. I have only ever had a couple of driving fines, but must confess to being let off a couple more thanks to the pretty white nurses's uniform I was wearing at the time. *blush* Many years ago now. I don't believe I ever parked in the wrong place. Just had a lead foot.

    Probably just as well I can no longer drive. At least my partner ALWAYS drives within the speed limit. I used to think he was an old stick-in-the-mud, now I am grateful.

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    1. Rozzie, I am sure you thoroughly charmed the police. I wonder if females get let off more often than men, by male coppers. I have written about this before, how one partner always drives and the other loses driving skills. But I read into what you wrote as there are other reasons you cannot drive.

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  7. Years ago, in my late teens or early twenties I was pulled over by the police for not stopping correctly at a stop sign on a blind corner. I was the second of two drivers to be pulled over simultaneously.

    One policeman attended to the other driver and a second policeman attended to me. Whilst I was being rebuked and fined the other policeman walked over to mine and said he had reached the end of his fine book and asked to borrow one docket to fine the other driver. Let him off with a warning, said 'my' policeman to the other.

    I have never got over that lesson in life's little injustices.

    BTW. In a coincidence I have also posted today about police pulling over drivers.

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    1. That is most unfair, Victor, and you are rightly remembering the injustice. Police used to book people for not stopping at a stop sign, but I haven't seen nor heard of it for years.

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  8. My ex-the first often got fines and would say he is too busy to go down and pay them. So he would hand them to me "since you're going that way already" and of course when I handed them across the counter he'd never have put the money in the envelope, so guess who paid? Me of course, and all I ever had on me was the grocery money.

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    1. River, surely you were only caught by that once. Pretty low act really.

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    2. Twice and the third time he admitted from the start he didn't have the money and could I please pay. I did but told him it was the last time.

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  9. A bit smug, Andrew - as I think by your title you know.

    There are lots of reasons people get fines (not always, incidentally, when they were driving the vehicle) and a lot of people are not so well-functioning as you in ensuring they do not. Some fines arise from circumstances arising from poverty and disorganisation (frequent moves, address changes not notified, licences expired, fine notices not received, licences cancelled because fines not paid, new fines issued because driving an unlicensed vehicle etc) ie there can be a spiralling effect when fines are not paid. I expect you could find your toll not paid if your credit card had stopped topping the toll beeper thing up too without necessarily realising this at the time.

    You didn't choose to quote the comment from the Legal Aid person: "Because the debt increases so quickly they don't have an option of dealing with it in any other way," he said. "Many clients don't contact us until their vehicles have been seized or about to be sold. They're contacting us in peak crisis times."

    So yes, people should take more care, but some of them don't or can't. Fines are then a socially regressive form of punishment because a fine of $X will have less of an effect on a rich person than a poor person, even if the delinquency is the same.


    "Be still my[your] bleeding heart," you will probably say.

    Well. I'm just saying.

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    1. Marcellous, it just is not the way I think. Being poor is all the more reason to stay on top of such things. I do agree that it is unfair that a rich person pays the same as a poor person and that was one of the reasons demerit points were introduced but I can't see how the fine level could be adjusted to income levels. Of course some very rich people oddly don't even have incomes.

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    2. Exactly! Being poor means being more careful. It's why I never buy anything on credit. I know I can't make the payments.

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  10. I agree, either pay the fines or stop infringing.
    I recently got a fine for being 9km over the speed limit.
    In some Australian states the fines are extremely high, like in South Australia, which I find is just a way to raise revenue. Luckily no tolls roads in Perth (yet)...

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    1. Sami, some things in SA are very expensive but I don't plan to find out the fine levels in each state by driving in them. Toll roads will come when someone sees they can make enough money.

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  11. This was years ago and I don't know if it hit your news but as far as tickets and fines, this was a head shaker.
    http://articles.latimes.com/1996-11-10/news/mn-63253_1_parking-meters

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    1. Sandra, funny little story. I wonder if she was ever prosecuted.

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  12. Our state is thinking of toll roads even the freeways to avoid congestion that is crippling the state. I think they assume the poor will have to stop driving then all will be well for the wealthier. I follow rules too, have not received any tickets for poor driving, and am amazed the number of people who never pay their tickets and are never called to task.

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    1. Strayer, there is that aspect to tolls. It is argued here that there are quite acceptable alternative roads and that is partly true. It is at times quicker to use those than a banked up toll road. Here, the authorities do catch up with them here, eventually. Sometimes people are sentenced to two days gaol and often let out straight away anyway, fines wiped.

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  13. Sounds like you went through a bit of a period Andrew, I did too, where I had three or four speeding tickets quite closely spaced. After the 4th I made up my mind never again! It's tricky though when you've got someone pushing from behind. Thankfully still no road tolls here in Perth, it was mentioned at one point but nothing came of it.. good thing too!

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    1. Grace, yes, about the being pushed from behind, but after strict enforcement here, people don't push like they used to. I forgotten the details now, but the big road project at Fremantle will surely be a toll road.

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  14. Hmmm! Will investigate further ☺

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