Up until recently my wife was one of those extra safe drivers who had never had a traffic offence fine in more than 23 years behind the wheel. It’s fair to say that she’s a stickler for the speed limit, which at times can be rather frustrating as a passenger. Overtaking slower vehicles (yes, there are plenty slower than her) is indeed a rare event, but as far as safe driving goes, she’s a gold medalist.
So, it was with shock horror when I opened an RTA letter addressed to her (yes we open each other’s mail at our place) and discovered that she had been fined for doing 60km/h in a school zone. She, as a mother of two, was even more shocked than I and was downright ashamed to have broken the law in what was clearly a brief lapse of concentration; her first such mistake in more than two decades. I told her that with such a clean record she should take it to court and plead guilty, but cite her ultra-clean driving record and she might be let off with a caution. Magistrates let such people off all the time, why not her?
She wouldn’t have a bar of it. As far as she was concerned, she broke the law and would pay the fine and cop it sweet. “But what about the $300+? That can pay the food bill for over a week,” I said. “Too bad, I’m paying it,” was her reply.
The point of this story is that she won’t just lose those points for three years, that’s what you thought right? No, you actually don’t get those points back until a period of three years and four months has passed. The RTA says that it’s a precautionary measure in case you get fined during the processing period of returning those points to your licence. Why on earth wouldn’t the process of returning points be instantaneous, they use computers at the RTA don’t they?
While this information was clarified on the phone this morning via the RTA call centre, we also emailed the office of the Minister for Roads and Ports only to receive an automated reply that our inquiry would be answered within 21 days.
Do you think you should receive your points back exactly three years from the date of the offence, or are you happy for the RTA to hold them back another four months just for safe keeping?