Imotorhome Australia - June 2018

(Barré) #1
told her department to investigate the issue to
head off a Supreme Court legal challenge based
on an argument that the law, which is designed
to immediately take such dangerous drivers off
the road, left a loophole for the worst drivers.
Blowing the whistle on the bungle is traffic law
expert Karen Stanley, who has challenged fines
and licence disqualifications.

Ms Stanley said authorities had so far avoided
addressing the problem, which had existed
since 2014 when SA became the only state to
reduce the speed for driving past emergency
vehicles to 25km/h, down from 40km/h.

She says that SAPOL has always withdrawn
the matters before they get to trial because
prosecutors know that the law is invalid.

“I have defended people who were given an
expiation notice and an immediate licence
disqualification for this offence. Not one of them
has ever ended up with the six-month licence
disqualification,” Ms Stanley said. “The law
doesn’t allow a licence disqualification for this
offence. The legislated penalty is a fine only.”

When made aware of the problem, a State
Government spokesman for Ms Chapman said
the Attorney-General’s Department had been
‘alerted’ and was investigating.

Ms Stanley said under general speeding laws,
motorists lose their licence when they speed at
45km/h over the “speed limit”.

“Authorities were wrongly applying this law to
anyone caught doing more than 70 km/h past
an emergency vehicle,” she said. Because the
25 km/h rule past emergency vehicles is not
a signposted “speed limit” as required in the
Act, she said, motorists were not technically
travelling at 45 km/h “over the speed limit” and
could not lose their licence.

Ms Stanley said she would now take to court
the case of an interstate driver who lost her

licence after an incident in country SA. “This
lady paid the fine because she lives in NSW but
it would have been withdrawn if she disputed
the loss of licence because it is the wrong law
for this offence,” she said.

“She suffered anxiety from this incident and
her family thought it would be too much for her
to dispute the fine. I have written to the police
expiation branch asking for the expiation notice
to be withdrawn and instead be prosecuted.”

SAPOL has refused to say how many people
had lost their licences and referred questions
about the application of the law to the State

In the year after the cut from 40 km/h to 25
km/h, The Advertiser revealed there were 270
caught breaking the “limit” and 33 were more
than 30 km/h over the limit.

Regards, Eric.

G’day Eric, glad you’re still enjoying the issues
and thanks for The Advertiser article – very
interesting. It raises many questions, including
one about the opportunity for those wrongfully
disqualified to seek compensation, and another
about the ineptitude of those drafting, reviewing
and passing the legislation. Fingers crossed
that at the very least the CMCA lady gets some
justice...Thanks also for your comments on the
plight of that poor women in SA. Just ridiculous.
Yes, I completely agree 25 and 40 seem too
protective, but then we really have become a
nanny state. In the US, roadwork speed limits
are much higher and the only requirement when
passing emergency vehicles is to change lanes
on a dual carriageway.

Glad you enjoy my editorials too. Funny, they
have become as popular as any other part of
the magazine, which is certainly something I
never saw coming!

14 | On your mind


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