With the hefty jump in penalties for speeding introduced earlier in April and even stricter punishments for drink and drug driving coming at the end of the month it is certainly worth reflecting on whether or not this kind of behaviour is worth the risk.
The knee jerk response from the public is all the penalties handed out to motorists who do the wrong thing represent little more than revenue raising.
That is especially the case when it comes to speed and red light cameras. Every flash means another hefty fine into the government’s coffers. It’s easy money and yes, revenue that seemingly can always be relied upon.
But is such cynicism warranted?
The answer is a clear no, as while a huge amount of money continually flows from motorists’ pockets to the government in the form of fines it is also true it only happens when you do the wrong thing.
So while there legitimate issues about driver confusion or even carelessness at drifting that little bit over that now costs you $198, the law might equally argue it is this ‘bit over’ or carelessness which costs lives.
It’s a fairly basic premise to understand that if you do the wrong thing you are putting yourself and others at serious risk.
And equally, if you comply with the laws the roads are a lot safer and your own bank balance suffers less pain. At its heart both arguments feed from a motivation of deterrence.
Drink-driving and so much more in recent years, drug-driving, carry enormous risks to the wider community.
Magistrates often will make clear the reason for laws aiming to curb this behaviour.
It doesn’t matter how much high-tech safety gear is fitted to your car these days, if you can’t focus your whole attention on what’s happening on around you – because you’ve had a few beers, or used illicit drugs – then you shouldn’t be driving.
It is why the incoming introduction of tougher penalties for drivers caught drink- and drug-driving on Victorian roads is a no-brainer. Exceed the .05 limit after April 30 and your licence will be gone and you’ll have to do a drink-driver rehabilitation program, then once your licence is restored you have to have an interlock device installed in your car. Drug-drive and your licence is gone for six months, up from three.
No one should bemoan these heftier penalties if they have any regard for the safety of us all on the roads.