New penalties for truck and bus drivers detected driving unsafely on the down track of the South Eastern (SE) Freeway into Adelaide, first introduced in May 2019, have been revised, lowered and made clearer.
Important new changes that came into effect in December include:
- NO licence disqualification for a first offence
- Reduction of the Corporate levy from $25,000 to $5,000
- Court fines for a body corporate found guilty reduced from a maximum of $50,000 to a maximum of $20,000
Click here to access the Department’s updated South Eastern Freeway – Road Corridor Overview page outlining the updated penalties.
We urge all MTA members who operate heavy vehicles to review the amended penalties in the link above.
The initial changes in May 2019 were met with confusion and frustration from heavy vehicle operators, with many calling for a reduction in the new fines, clearer definitions of heavy vehicles and clarification of the low gear offence in relation to the use of primary braking.
Following our advocacy on behalf of members to the State Transport Minister, Stephan Knoll, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services Corey Wingard MP and Frank Pangello MLC, the State Government acknowledged in December that the new fines were too harsh.
The Department says that the revised penalties passed by the South Australian Parliament in December better reflect community expectations, particularly around first offences, while maintaining strong penalties for repeat offenders who have chosen to disregard the law, putting themselves and others at greater risk.
The key points that you should take away from these revisions are:
From 12.01am on 6 December 2019, truck or bus drivers whose vehicles are not engaged in a low gear, as described above, or exceed the relevant speed limit by 10km/h or more will receive:
- An expiation fee of $1,036 plus six demerit points; plus
- NO licence disqualification for a first offence*
- 6 month licence disqualification for a second offence
- 12 month licence disqualification for a third offence
- 3 year licence disqualification for subsequent offences
*Note: Where the accrual of demerit points brings the total number of points on a person’s licence to 12 or higher, a demerit point disqualification will be applied by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, as per existing provisions.
When convicted by the court, a first offence will attract a maximum fine of $5000, plus six demerit points and a licence disqualification of no less than six months. Second and subsequent offences will attract six demerit points and a licence disqualification of no less than 12 months (or no less than three years in the case of a subsequent offence) and up to two years imprisonment.
Business vehicles detected speeding
- A body corporate levy of $5,000 applies to a business that fails to nominate the driver responsible for a camera-detected speeding offence on the SE Freeway down-track.
- This is in addition to the $1,036 expiation fee payable.
- Where a driver is not nominated and the body corporate is found guilty of the offence by a Court, a fine between $10,000 and $20,000 will apply.
- No body corporate levy is payable where a business successfully nominates the driver of the vehicle.
It is important to note that the revised penalties only apply to offences committed from 12.01 am on 6 December 2019 and offences committed prior to this date will continue to be subject to the penalties in force at the time of the offence which can be found by clicking here.
The Department has also provided clarification on which vehicles are affected by the new laws. For example, a bus with more than 12 seats is affected even if it does not exceed 4.5 tonnes in Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) while a vehicle towing a caravan where the Gross Combination Mass (GCM) exceeds 4.5 tonnes will not be affected unless the towing vehicle is classified as a truck or bus.
We urge you to familiarise yourself with the definitions noted on DPTI’s website.
If you have any questions about the new penalties, please click here.