Police ‘Wasting Time’ With Low-Level Speeding As Fines Triple: RACV Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Feb, 09 2015 | 9 Comments

Victoria’s peak motoring group, the RACV, has hit out at the state’s police force and its policy of targeting low-level speeding.

Fairfax reports that fines for low-level speeding offences have tripled in the last five years from around 11,000 to 38,000 annually.

The RACV’s road and traffic manager, David Jones, labelled the exercise of targeting drivers travelling at less than 10km/h over the limit a waste of time.

"We think there are more important issues," Mr Jones said.

"It's important to educate people, rather than financially penalise them for what could just be an honest mistake on a particular day."

Mr Jones said police should instead target drink- and drug-driving, while speeding fines should be reserved for higher-range speeders - those genuinely breaking the limit.

Trauma statistics used by police to support an iron-fisted approach to punishing speeding drivers were too simplistic, Mr Jones said, and the figures were misleading.

"A driver may have been going one or two km/h over the speed limit and been distracted, or a pedestrian could have walked out in front of them without paying attention,” Mr Jones said.

“I'm concerned that the blank statistics about speeding and the results of it might be misleading. There are many factors at play in a crash.”

The RACV’s calls follow similar words from Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm, whose post to followers on social media last week gained much media attention.

Senator Leyonhjelm said the state governments had engaged in a “law-and-order auction” in recent years, as each tries to outdo the other with increasingly draconian enforcement of traffic offences.

"Police [have] the right to do almost anything to anyone they deem a petrol-head,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“The setting and enforcement of speed limits has also been driven by a desire to raise revenue, not save lives. Laws targeting hoons reveal a great deal about our governments. The most draconian legislation is invariably drawn up by the most authoritarian and arrogant regimes."

Victoria’s Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner, Robert Hill, disagrees with both Senator Leyonhjelm and the RACV, saying 30 percent of road trauma was caused by speeding.

Commissioner Hill said more than half of speed-related trauma was caused by low-level speeding.

The force also formed the view that too many pursuit car officers were letting drivers off with a caution for low-level speeding, following a survey in 2013.

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