Big fines for companies who fail to nominate

27 July 2012

A Haberfield company has been fined more than $200,000 for failing to nominate the correct driver for camera detected offences.

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Director Customer and Compliance Peter Wells said Haberfield Automotive this month faced 50 charges in Downing Centre Local Court for a range of driving offences.

"These included 48 charges of exceeding the speed limit including two for offences where vehicles were caught on a fixed speed camera travelling at more than 45km/h above the speed limit,” Mr Wells said

"There were also two offences for driving in a bus lane.

"The registered owner of a vehicle detected by a fixed speed camera is considered to be guilty of the offence unless the owner supplies the name and address of the person who was in charge of the vehicle at the time of the offence.

"Companies who fail to nominate a driver or provide false details can attract fines of up to $11,000 plus the payment of the original fine.”

Mr Wells said on 1 July, penalty notices issued by the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) for traffic offences issued to companies were increased to five times the amount applicable to an individual.

“This measure provides financial incentive for companies to identify drivers responsible for traffic offences,” he said.

“Previously some companies, particularly those with multiple cars and drivers, routinely claimed it was impossible to identify the driver and preferred instead to pay the fine.”

“Driver demerit points associated with the offence were unable to be allocated in such circumstances.

“Haberfield Automotive was convicted on each count and ordered to pay $209,000, including penalties relating to offences of $12,400, $180,000 for failure to nominate penalties and court and professional costs of $16,600.

“The company also faces a further 45 similar charges.

"Companies who continue to pay four or more fines without nominating a driver are sent a court attendance notice for subsequent offences without the option to pay the fine,” Mr Wells said.

“It is pleasing the majority of companies do the right thing by maintaining vehicle log books to help with the identification of drivers for traffic offences which may be received.

“RMS figures show 87 per cent of companies do the right thing and nominate drivers responsible for traffic offences.

“However, there are a few firms which repeatedly fail to nominate who was driving. There are strong penalties in place to prevent them risking the safety of the rest of the community,” Mr Wells said.

RMS also has the capacity to deregister vehicles of repeat failure to nominate offenders.

Other recent significant cases include:

  • In July 2011, Fina Foods Australasia received court-imposed penalties of $52,800 for failure to nominate offences for 16 camera-detected traffic offences. The company was fined a further $10,200 for another 16 camera-detected traffic offences in December 2011. Then in May this year, another $3000 for another instance of failing to nominate.
  • Between January and April 2012, Car City Motors attended court for 19 traffic matters including speeding and red light offences detected by RMS fixed cameras. The company was ordered to pay failure to nominate penalties of $52,000, including $11,000 for one failure to nominate notice.
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