A ute driver has lashed out at a new South Australian road rule that saw him hit with a $1000 fine and licence disqualification even though he was travelling at the speed limit.
Tough new penalties were introduced on May 1 for trucks and buses travelling along the state’s South Eastern Freeway.
The speed limit for these vehicles when travelling down the hill is 60km/h, for all other vehicles the speed limit is 90km/h.
A truck or bus caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 10km/h but less than 20km/h can now be issued a $1036 fine, six demerit points and receive a six month licence disqualification.
Under the law any vehicle with a gross vehicle mass of more than 4.5 tonnes is classified as a truck.
Brent Broadman was hit with these harsh penalties after driving at the 90km/h speed limit in his ute.
“The sign clearly says trucks and buses, it doesn’t say what weight, just trucks and buses. And I thought well I’m not a truck because my vehicle is registered as a ute,” Mr Broadman told Today Tonight.
The issue arose because his Ford F-350 was incorrectly registered in Western Australia as a truck, but is now correctly registered as a ute in South Australia.
“I thought it’s just another speeding fine and that I would probably cop a couple of points. I looked at it and I thought a $1000, that’s a bit rich and then I looked and saw six points,” Mr Broadman said.
“I was horrified. I thought you’ve got to be kidding me.”
His wife paid the fine, not knowing it would mean he would lose his licence.
Mr Broadman has been trying to fight the penalty as his current registration papers list his vehicle as a ute and the weight as 3.7 tonnes.
“I need the licence for my business. If I lose my licence for six months it could have a major impact on my business,” he said.
Woods & Co Lawyers solicitor Hugh Woods told the program he has heard from dozens of people who risk losing their businesses over the new laws.
If drivers choose to go to court and are convicted then they are hit with a mandatory licence disqualification of 12 months.
“In effect you are playing double or nothing with the penalties,” Mr Woods said.
“A lot of people out there that I have been speaking to would like first offenders to perhaps be given an opportunity to continue driving without a mandatory licence disqualification.”
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Stephan Knoll, said the new laws are aimed at keeping the public safe.
“Unfortunately, the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway has been the site of some absolutely tragic accidents in recent years,” he said in a statement earlier in the year.
“The Marshall Government is implementing these legislative and regulatory changes to crack down on those truck and bus drivers who are driving unsafely and putting the public in harm’s way.
“These tough new penalties will act as an even greater deterrent to those thinking about doing the wrong thing and driving unsafely and putting others at risk.
Mr Broadman said he doesn’t have a problem with people being pushed to drive safely, but they need to punish the right people.
“I don’t have an issue with them wanting people to slow down coming down that hill but lets do it properly,” he said.
“Lets call a truck a truck and not a ute a truck.”
SA Police have since withdrawn the fine against Mr Boardman
Originally published as Driver’s $1000 fine for going speed limit