SPEEDING DOWN THE FREEWAY IN A HEAVY VEHICLE.  YOU MAY UNSUSPECTINGLY BE BREAKING THE LAW.

SOUTH EASTERN FREEWAY: THE NEW LAW YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

At Woods & Co Lawyers we have represented many drivers of heavy vehicles for minor log book offences up to causing death by dangerous driving.  We are well aware of the dangers of heavy vehicles on the freeway and other major roads.  However, recent legislation introduced by our parliament has once again failed.  It not just affects drivers of B doubles and other semi-trailers, but many drivers are unwittingly set to lose their licence.  The law once again has had unintended consequences because it is poorly thought out.

 

On 1 May 2019, the South Australian Government introduced new legislation limiting the speed of ‘heavy vehicles’ traveling down the South Eastern Freeway. The new law limits ‘heavy vehicles’ to a maximum speed of 60kmph between Crafers to the intersection of Portrush, Cross and Glen Osmond Roads.

The law leaves little scope for error, so it is important drivers concentrate at all times whilst descending this distance. A breach of the speed limit by 10kmph or more (travelling at 70kmph) will result in a mandatory six (6) months licence disqualification, a fine of $1,036.00 and six (6) demerit points for a first offender. There is no right of appeal, or any way of reducing these penalties.  A driver cannot avoid the consequences by claiming that it would result in a loss of job and an inability to pay their mortgage.  Personal hardship will not assist.  To add insult to injury, if you elect to be prosecuted and lose, then the mandatory penalty will increase to a minimum of twelve (12) months loss of licence. The punishment should fit the crime.  Why should people be penalised for exercising their right to challenge the charge?

A ‘heavy vehicle is defined as:

  • A vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass of more than 4.5 tonnes;
  • or
  • A vehicle that is built to carry more than 12 adults (inclusive of the driver).

If you are driving a larger utility vehicle (Ford F350, Dodge RAM etc), a larger van or a small bus/van, you may meet the definition. This means if you exceed the 60kmph speed limit, you will be treated the same way as if you were driving an 18-wheel semi-trailer.

We have had a number of drivers who are in disbelief that they have lost their job and income in circumstances where most of us would not consider it appropriate.

OUR TIPS:

  1. If you are unsure if your vehicle meets the threshold of a ‘heavy vehicle’ you can check the registration certificate or the vehicle compliance plate. You can also check by calling Service SA on 13 10 84.
  2. If your vehicle is registered under a corporate business and you fail to nominate a driver, you will be liable to a $25,000.00 fine. Please bare this in mind. The fine is set so high it encourages companies to keep proper records of who was driving.
  3. If you are unsure where the new speed limit applies please consult the map below. Note that the first fixed camera within the zone commences just after the Crafers bridge

If you have any further questions, contact our friendly team at

Woods & Co Lawyers on 8311 3111.