"One last thrash for old time's sake eh ?" inquired my partner in crime as we headed out on our final journey in
my 1987 Toyota.
Famous last words ? Well, almost...
Off we went, cruising through the darkened streets of late night suburbia, not breaking any speed records but not holding up
traffic either. Around a slight bend and down a street without houses or streetlights we drove when out of the darkness came
flashes of red and blue and in no time we were being pulled over. I was then politely informed that I had been tooling along
at 11 kph over the posted limit (71 in a 60 zone - or roughly 41 in a 35mph zone).
I was the hapless recipient of a $90 fine and 1 demerit point for this infringement.
The officer then asked to see my licence (the same licence that was in my wallet, at home - oops). When I told him that I
didn't have the licence on me he radioed my name and address to HQ and received confirmation that I was indeed a valid
licence holder, so far so good. He then proceeded to write a second ticket for "failure to produce licence as required by an
officer" or some equally weak excuse. The fine on this ticket was $150.
Let's look at my illegal actions
and their possible consequences for a second...
Speeding: If you believe the hype, the fact that I was travelling at over the posted limit was endangering the lives
of innocent people. The slogan reads "Every k over is a killer". The price the government has put on this offence is
Not producing my licence: As mentioned above, the officer made a call and 2 minutes later it was answered after a
quick check had been done on my details. No chance of deaths, merely an inconvenience (and a small one at that). The price
for this offence is $150.
Death of civilians $90
Minor inconvenience to police officer/s $150
Either the Government doesn't care enough about the lives of the public to impose reasonable penalties or they are trying to
make a quick buck from relatively minor offences (I think the latter is more likely). When I made a very careful appeal to
the officer regarding this issue he rebuked "That's the law." Well thank you for clearing that up but in this case I believe
the law has a flaw.
Note: This event occured in a small town in Australia, which is currently Suffering a 'Take no Prisoners' approach to road safety. I am not arguing that offences shouldn't be punished - just that a little perspective would be nice.