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How to beat speeding fines

A speed radar gun on patrol. Photo: HeraldSun

Victoria Police has rewritten its rules to alert thousands of speeding motorists how they can get off with just a warning. Its newly published policy states motorists caught doing between 10 and 14km/h over the limit can be warned instead of fined if they haven't been nabbed in the previous three years.

The policy previously said only those busted doing less than 10km/h over the limit, and who hadn't been fined in the previous two years, were eligible to apply for an official warning to escape their fine. Victoria Police Supt Dean McWhirter denied increasing the number of motorists who could apply for warnings to include those travelling up to 14km/h over the limit was a new policy.

But he agreed it had not previously been published. Speed camera watchdog Gordon Lewis criticised the force for not previously telling thousands of busted motorists they were eligible to apply to have their fines scrapped. He said it was unsatisfactory that a major part of Victoria Police's official warning policy for speeding motorists had been kept secret for years.

Mr Lewis was commenting after the Herald Sun alerted him to the decision by the force to publicly reveal its full policy for the first time on which motorists can get off with just a warning. "To apply for an official warning if you are caught travelling between 10 and 14km/h over the limit, you have to know such a policy exists," Mr Lewis said.

"I was not aware such motorists could apply for warnings so it is fair to assume most motorists didn't know either. If Victorians are to have faith in the traffic camera system then it must be transparent.

"Police not telling people for years the basis on which they were eligible to apply for official warnings instead of fines is unsatisfactory.

"The publication of this additional basis for granting a warning in lieu of a fine, while claimed to be longstanding police policy, has not been published since I was appointed Road Safety Camera Commissioner in February 2012.

"I was surprised Victoria Police had not issued a press statement in relation to the publication of this additional policy, rather than rely on motorists reading its website." The old policy - which will still apply in addition to the new written rule - allowed 63,907 motorists to avoid fines in the past year. More than 166,000 motorists were fined for exceeding the limit by 10 to 14km/h in 2012-13.

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