As we enter a new financial year, the Queensland Government has introduced increased penalties for a range of traffic offences.
The changes are as follows:-
- The penalties for ‘red light offences’ have increased to $575.00 and 3 demerit points (e.g., failure to stop at red or yellow lights when necessary).
- The penalty for ‘seatbelt offences’ has increased to $1,078.00 and 4 demerit points (e.g., driving without a seatbelt correctly fitted or allowing passengers to travel in your vehicle without a seatbelt or child restraint correctly fitted as the case may be).
- For speeding 1-10km/hr over the limit, the new penalty is $287.00 and 1 demerit point.
- For speeding 11-20km/hr over the limit, the new penalty is $431.00 and 3 demerit points.
- For speeding 21-30km/hr over the limit, the new penalty is $646.00 and 4 demerit points.
- For speeding 31-40km/hr over the limit, the new penalty is $1,078.00 and 6 demerit points.
- For speeding more than 40km/hr over the limit, the new penalty is $1,653 and 8 demerit points and an automatic 6-month licence suspension.
Readers will note that the above penalties for speeding apply to slightly different speeding ranges than before. This is because the Queensland Government has also amended the two lowest speeding ranges. The speeding range that was previously 1-12km/hr over the speed limit has been reduced to 1-10km/hr and the 13-20km/hr range has been reduced to 11-20km/hr.
These increased penalties put motorists who disobey the road rules at a greater risk of accumulating demerit points and being issued with a ‘notice to choose’. A notice to choose is a notice issued by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to motorists who have accumulated 12 demerit points on their open licence or 4 demerit points on their provisional licence. The Notice requires motorists to decide between having their licence suspended for a period or maintaining their licence, but under a period of good driving behavior for 1 year. If a motorist incurs two or more demerit points on their good driving behavior period, their licence will be suspended for twice the time it would have been had they initially opted for the suspension.
If you find yourself in a position where your licence is suspended for the accumulation of demerit points, you may be able to apply for a special hardship order. A special hardship order is an order by the Court which grants you a licence to drive in specific circumstances while your licence is suspended. To obtain a special hardship order, it must be shown to the Court that your licence being suspended will cause you an extreme hardship by depriving you of your means of earning a living or otherwise cause a severe and unusual hardship to you or your family.
Macrossan & Amiet has extensive experience in assisting clients with the process of obtaining a special hardship order and advising on traffic matters generally. Should you require advice in this regard, we recommend contacting an office to make an appointment with one of our solicitors.