Traffic speed tolerances stay secret
By Mathew Murphy
April 15, 2006
THE Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has rejected a bid by the State Opposition to release documents showing how far over the speed limit motorists can go before being booked, ruling it is not in the public interest.
VCAT president Justice Stuart Morris said yesterday that while he accepted that motorists could be confused as to how far over the limit they could travel before being booked, releasing the tolerance limits was not in the interest of road safety.
This week, Opposition Leader Robert Doyle announced a controversial policy to reintroduce a 10 per cent speed zone tolerance, replacing the 3 km/h tolerance enforced under Labor. This means that a car travelling in a 100 km/h zone would not be fined until it was clocked at more than 110 km/h.
Mr Doyle accused the Government of secretly allowing motorists to drive up to 10 km/h above the speed limit, producing documents from 2002 that showed motorists were allowed to travel at 9 km/h over the limit without being fined.
The Opposition applied to VCAT to release current figures after its freedom of information request was denied.
Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said that while he accepted VCAT's ruling, he believed the system should be transparent.
"The most disappointing part of it all is that at no stage has anyone come out and tried to clarify this with the community," he said. "Our 10 per cent tolerance policy would be tougher in certain areas than the current arrangement."
A spokesman for Police Minister Tim Holding applauded VCAT's ruling. "The decision was the responsible thing to do," he said.