A loophole that has allowed some Victorian drivers to skirt serious speeding penalties may be about to close.
The loophole, first identified in 2019, has been highlighted in the 2022-23 report of the government-appointed Road Safety Camera Commissioner, Neville Taylor.
Currently, if a driver is clocked by a speed camera in Victoria while in a company car, the corporation that owns the car is responsible for nominating the driver at fault.
A loophole, however, allows corporations to choose to pay a $3846 fine instead of nominating the driver responsible, potentially saving the driver from a licence suspension.
“The September 2019 report on the ‘Identification of Uninhibited Drivers’ found that some corporations chose to pay the higher corporate infringement penalties rather than nominate the responsible drivers at the time of detection,” said Road Safety Camera Commissioner Neville Taylor in the report.
“In some cases, this allowed corporate executives, with full private use of a company vehicle, to personally avoid fines and demerit points.
“Some of the excessive speeding offending detected would have resulted in the immediate loss of licence if the individual drivers had been nominated.
“This is concerning as these drivers have not faced the consequences for their dangerous driving behaviour and have been allowed to continue to place themselves and other road users at risk.
“I will be seeking updates from the relevant road safety partners on these recommendations and will report further in the next annual report.”
If companies fail to nominate the at-fault driver in Victoria, the penalty is a $3846 fine. If they don’t nominate a driver three or more times within a 12-month priod, they may be liable for a penalty of $23,077.20.
If companies nominate the driver at fault within the appropriate timeframe, the fine is issued in the driver’s name and reduced back down to the individual level.
The loophole was initially detected in 2019, when it was recommended that stronger laws be introduced to combat the problem.
In his 2019-20 report, the then-Commissioner Stephen Leane called for existing provisions for prosecuting offenders with multiple corporate infringements to be strengthened.
He also called for demerit points to be attributed to the organisation, and for a vehicle’s registration to be suspended if the driver would have lost their licence.