[Rant] Aussie traffic cameras

Oct 30th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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[Rant] Aussie traffic cameras

You can imagine how pleased I was to open a letter from the New South Wales Fuzz yesterday informing me that I've been dinged (via Hertz and my credit card) for A$70 or some such for being filmed going 82 km/h in a 70 km/h zone somewhere along the Princes Highway in Outer Slobovia NSW.

Of course I have the choice to argue the charge in court, provided I can appear last week two hemispheres away. Blimey, where's Doctor Who when you need him?

[Rant ends.]
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 30th, 2007, 06:00 PM
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Awww Gardy, sorry to hear you've had such bad experience with our speed cameras. Be comforted, you are not alone.

But is the charge valid? Were you driving in Outer Oodnagaliboo at the time stated? Or is the rant about a 'false' charge?

Also, a large slice of the rant should be directed at Herz for either divulging your cc details or debiting your card without notifying you first. Have never heard of the NSW Police accessing and withdrawing money from a cc for a traffic offence.

And crikey, just $70?? Be happy it's not the usual $225 for 15km over!

Doctor Who is alive and well and living in Wooloomooloo

Jackie
FurryTiles is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 06:09 PM
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Were you speeding in Outer Slobovia?
The speed limit in some country towns is 45kph now.
sunsurfsand is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 09:12 PM
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Thought that was 50 kmh, sunsurf - can't recall passing any NSW country towns with a 45 limit, although passing any school areas which are often just outside the villages, it's 40 kmh.

Anyway, OP said he was clocked doing 82 in a 70 zone and doesn't actually deny this other than indicating with the "outer Slobovia" reference that it was somehow unjustified and rather ridiculous.

Just checked our latest Radar Penalty Notice, and it makes me wonder if Gardy really opened a letter from the NSW Police as he says, or if in fact it was a letter from Hertz with the NSW Police Infringement Notice plus notification of cc deduction by Hertz enclosed?

Because all Infringement Notices give an option of either paying the fine or disputing the charge within 21 days. As owners of the vehicle, Hertz would have received the fine notification within a couple of days. They would then have had almost three weeks to contact you Gardy, but obviously they chose to wait until the opportunity to dispute the fine had lapsed and then sent you the document and credit-card deduction notification as a fait accompli.

That would also explain the anomaly of arguing "the charge in court, provided I can appear last week..."

We rented Hertz cars at two different locations during our recent trip, and you do tend to sign your soul away, including the fine print agreeing to paying "all additional charges" which imo would include costs for any traffic/parking infringements lodged for the vehicle.

Sadly, we do have a horrendously high vehicle accident/death rate here in Oz, especially in country areas, and the main contributing factors are usually given as "speed/alcohol/fatigue".

Jackie
FurryTiles is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 12:37 AM
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I'd like to believe that the level of traffic fines in all Austraian jurisdictions is proportionate to their effect on road safety and not primarily a state government revenue-raiser, but I'm sceptical.

Excessive speed is a factor, of course, but the arbitary posted limits take no account of driving conditions. Driving on the Hume Highway between Canberra and Sydney, for example, is far more dangerous at 90 kph on a wet night than at 140 kph on a clear day (all else being equal). Ironically, the highway patrol is nowhere to be seen on the former.

Nevertheless there's a deeply embedded belief that absolute speed is the mian factor in accidents, to the point where the absurd suggestion has been made that urban streets should be subject to a 30 kph limit - a classic case of a law designed to be broken.

A logical extension would see us all proceeding at walking speed, preferably preceded by a man on foot in a white coat bearing a red flag. That would reduce deaths to pratically zero (except perhaps for the aforesaid red flag man if one's foot slipped on the accelerator).

Presumably if we took the logic even further and drove in reverse gear the dead would begin to be resurrected?

One danger factor not often mentioned is what happens when clueless city slickers who've done their driving tests on suburban streets are let loose on country roads, often in lumbering yuppie status-symbol 4WDs with high centres of gravity that they have not the foggiest idea of how to control. Result, carnage, but these cretins sit the same test as anyone else. Result, carnage.

Lousy roads of course play their part too.

Jackie, as for "horrendous", I don't have the figures to hand, but my understanding is that the accident/injury/death rates on Australian roads have been dropping for many years now and is actually far lower than in previous years. I don't know how they stack up against comparable countries.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 01:20 AM
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Hi Neil, I was waiting for your input

And of course, you are right, there are many ‘debates’ as to whether the speed cameras are installed primarily as revenue earners rather than as road safety enhancers. And recently, there was media coverage that the cameras had been ‘fiddled with’ to ensure the maximum number of speeding fines and income boost.

And though I’d have to check the ABS figures, it’s my understanding that the number of fatal car accidents increase every year at an alarming rate. Especially our younger drivers. In spite of education in schools, on TV and other media outlets. And so many on quiet, almost deserted, straight country roads. Locals. The assumption being it’s the ‘deserted’ country, I can put my foot down – no speed cameras, no local patrols, avanova beer mate.

Nothing would please me more than if you could prove me wrong.

Jackie
FurryTiles is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 01:43 AM
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Australian road safety stats have inproved significantly over the last 20 years (particularly when presented in terms of miles driven)

the two great quantum leaps were..

compulsory seat belts
random breath testing

road safety policy makers continue to look for the next quantum leap.

'education' has failed to make an impact.
johhj_au is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 02:03 AM
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I read that the latest series of ads designed to deter young drivers in hot cars was actually having an effect.

For those who haven't seen them, they feature young ladies who, on seeing some young hoon trying to impress them with burnouts and deafening music, look at each other knowingly and raise a crooked little finger (signifying "small penis").
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 02:43 AM
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Although this is slightly off-topic from the OP’s original lament,
just checked the Australian Government’s Transport Safety Bureau’s website, and Neil, we are both right.

Road fatalities (all users, Australia-wide) have dropped from a massive 3,600 in 1981 to a 2006 level of 1,601.

Sadly, for NSW the fatalities increased from 335 in 2005 to 355 in 2006. Drivers in the 17-25 year old age group increased from 426 in 2005 to 439 in 2006.

But overall, and I’m shocked by these statistics – in NSW in the year 1972 the number of road deaths (all users) per 100,000 population was an unbelievable 26.12%. In 2006, this figure has decreased to 7.32%.

And oh my, I just dread that nightly black-bingo on the evening news listing the fatalities by State during the entire six weeks Christmas school holidays.

Jackie
FurryTiles is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 03:14 AM
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We have spent 5 months in Oz over the last 6 years. Don't drive that often but probably have at least a month of driving time. I have never had a ticket - in fact I have never seen a speed camera, I'm sure they were there though. Always wondered what they looked like etc.

I checked my hertz documentation from my rental in Tasmania last week and it says they would give my address to the police to forward the ticket to me. Doesn't say anything about providing cc details.

Neil makes an interesting point about city folks in the country. While driving on the windy roads in Tassie, I encountered many a driver using both sides of the road. I had the impression many were trying to straighten out the road so they could drive faster. A few others seemed to have been caught off guard with the corner. Of course all this did was make me drive a little slower. Could be bad if 2 vehicles in opposite directions attempted to "straighten" the road by driving around a turn on the opposite side

Cheers

Steve
stevew is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 06:47 AM
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Just checked our latest Radar Penalty Notice, and it makes me wonder if Gardy really opened a letter from the NSW Police as he says, or if in fact it was a letter from Hertz with the NSW Police Infringement Notice plus notification of cc deduction by Hertz enclosed?

Because all Infringement Notices give an option of either paying the fine or disputing the charge within 21 days. As owners of the vehicle, Hertz would have received the fine notification within a couple of days. They would then have had almost three weeks to contact you Gardy, but obviously they chose to wait until the opportunity to dispute the fine had lapsed and then sent you the document and credit-card deduction notification as a fait accompli.

That would also explain the anomaly of arguing "the charge in court, provided I can appear last week..."


First, sorry about the Lower Slobovia crack. Makes reference to an old US comic strip that might not be relevant to Oz. Yeneveldt is the (Yiddish) term I use more often, or "Boondocks" - you get the idea. No offense intended to the good residents of XXXXX, NSW, who I evidently blew past in my rented F-15... er, Toyota. On a sunny day. With NOBODY on the road. Feh.

In reviewing my costly correspondence, it looks like the Hertz bill is their handling fee for putting the polis in touch with me, the perp. The amount in the Hertz bill is only US$35 or something, whereas the bill from the police is for A$70-something (not in front of me, and I am not racing to whip out the old credit card - thanks for the convenience, Guv'nor.)

As a former manager of local police departments (one of several prior lives) I understand the need to keep speed down on public roads, and I also understand that traffic fines are one of the major sources of unencumbered income to local authorities around the world. Straight into the general fund in most places, not obligated to go for specific purposes. Not positive but pretty sure that's the case in Oz too.

Enjoy my money.
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 31st, 2007, 02:44 PM
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You're right, Gardyloo, the money goes straight into what's called "consolidated revenue" here. (Law enforcement is a state government responsibility, no local involvement as in the US.)

Am I right in thinking that Lower Slobovia appeared in L'il Abner? Whatever, no offence taken on my part. Certainly not after my comments about Blackfoot, Idaho, home of the world famous Potato Expo. (No, we resisted the temptation - we'd had enough excitement for one day.)

Jackie, thanks for unearthing the stats.

I vividly remember taking my mate's gargantuan Toyota Landcruiser on a spin around suburban Canberra last year - a newer area replete with smallish roundabouts - and quickly discovering the potential for disaster.

The sensation of speed was greatly diminished by its quietness, lounge-chair-like seats and the driver's height above the road surface (read high centre of gravity).

The result was that it was scarily easy to imagine that you were travelling at 60 kph when in fact the speedo was registering 75-80. Trust me, this is an unsettling situation when you're enteringa roundabout.

Motoring organisation studies have found that large 4WDs are no safer for their occupants and a great deal more dangerous for other road users, pedestrians and any small children thta happen to be standing behind them when they're reversing out of the driveway.

And the ridiculous situation is that the government gives them an import duty break of 10%, an intellectually lazy way of not alienating farmers and cashed-up city yuppies.

And that's the end of MY rant.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 03:25 PM
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Yes, Lower Slobovia was an invention of Al Capp in Lil' Abner.

I think I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, actually.

We drove into Melbourne on a Friday evening (after rush hour but still pretty busy) and I tried to avoid the toll motorway where (I assume) the cameras record your number plates (or some sort of transponder in the vehicle?) as you use that stretch of freeway. I didn't manage to avoid it, and although I got off at the first opportunity (and immediately got lost) I fear the camera may have spied the above-mentioned Toyota, and next I'll be receiving a love letter from the Victoria police. Grr.
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 31st, 2007, 06:05 PM
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Gardyloo,
It's obviously too late for this trip - but NSW & Vic (and I presume all the other States) have a very user friendly system on their toll roads when you don't have a Tag.
When you collect your rental car, just call the relevant Toll Authority & buy a pass for the time you will be there (It's about $10/day). All you need do is advise the car Rego & give them your CC details ... done deal!
Alternatively, the rental companies will supply a Tag (about $20/day).

Bokhara2 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2007, 06:52 AM
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Gardyloo...I understand your rant. The same happened to us a few years ago after renting a car on the Gold Coast and driving out to Coonabarabran in NSW. After we returned to the USA, I received notice from the car hire firm of a "processing charge" (something like AU$50) for a speeding ticket. Then I got a bill from the NSW govt, something like AU$120. Pretty annoying when you've been trying to stick to the speed limits (knowing the cameras are out there) and when you don't remember who was driving the car (we shared the driving between the four of us).

I keep thinking we could have been caught out in a school zone, where there are lower speed limits at certain times during weekdays (e.g. 8-9 AM, 3-4 PM). Easy to miss on vacation when you tend to lose track of time and day of week - every day is a weekend!
RalphR is offline  
Nov 4th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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"...we could have been caught out in a school zone, where there are lower speed limits at certain times during weekdays (e.g. 8-9 AM, 3-4 PM)."

In the ACT it's a flat 08:00-16:00, so bear that in mind if visiting Canberra. The cops are most likely to lurk in wait for the unwary on the first few days after school resumes, and they have no sense of humour.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 08:48 PM
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Yeah, the road toll is well down and there will always be debates about whether speed cameras are mainly revenue raisers or have an important road safety role. I confess to being occasionally irritated by what I consider to be 'sneaky' camera locations, but then again, I also wish they might suddenly appear at others. When it is all said and done, if you pay attention as you should and do the right thing, you won't get pinged (or 'dinged', as Gardyloo put it). That I've managed to keep a clean slate in nearly 40 years of driving, I put down to good luck, yes, but also good management and perhaps the discipline of a lot of country driving in my younger days. It also helped that my provisional licence would have been cancelled for any offence - and that would have been a lot more painful then a fine of seventy 2007 bucks.
farrermog is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 01:23 AM
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Gardyloo, sometimes if it's your first offence you can write in and explain the circumstances eg tourist visiting, you've never had a speeding ticket before, your previous life as a police manager and therefore you know how important it is to obey the law etc etc, they may waive the fine. If it has already been paid then not sure if you're able to get a refund. Worth a try.
Cilla_Tey is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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Johnj

Added to your reasons for accident reduction:

I'm not on the road much these days!
margo_oz is offline  
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