Surveillance equipment to be used to raise millions in revenue from parking fines, for the Adelaide City Council.

To fine motorists for exceeding arbitrary speed limits can be justified on the reasoning that speed kills, and needs to be stamped out for the roads to be safer.

However many motorists can’t help thinking that fines are slanted to raise most revenue.

  • Cameras are usually placed where the speed limit is most likely to be exceeded. eg near the bottom of inclines, or when coming off freeways, and roads with higher speed limits, and not in situations of greatest danger.
  • Progressive reduction in tolerance to speeds slightly in excess of the limit. eg from 10 kilometres an hour to 5 kilometres, even to zero tolerance. No leeway is given for speeding to pass slower moving traffic.
  • The most advanced equipment, when available, is employed to detect the slightest speeding infringements.
  • The increasingly punitive nature of the fines, and demerit points, taking no account of the circumstances of the incident, the previous record of safe driving, or the ability to pay.
  • The onus of proof is on the owner of the vehicle to show that he/she was not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the incident, and this requires a statutory declaration.

My recent personal experience has been that I am now on 9 demerit points (12 results in loosing one’s licence) but have done little of the driving myself due to medical issues, (I’m in the second decade of retirement) and have incurred only two points myself.

My chauffeuring wife also drives for “Meals on Wheels“. Three of the points she lost whilst delivering meals. She was fined because she had not reduced speed quickly enough driving on a major road on the outskirts of a rural township where the speed limit changed from 60 to 50 km/hr, even although there were few homes at that point. She registered 56 km/hr.

But the penalty for this transgression was a massive (for an aged pensioner) $395, exceeding her fortnightly pensions payment.

She received another 3 demerit points for a similar over 50 km /hr infraction.

Adelaide Council  plans to boost revenue from Parking Fines by millions of dollars using technologically advanced surveillance equipment to replace the need for parking inspectors .

A front page article by Tim Williams in today’s Sunday Mail newspaper (Dec 1) states that the Council has 17,000 on street parking spaces of which 3,200 are metered. In the last financial year 240,000 fines were issued raising $12.8 million.

The surveillance  technology has three components:

  • Registration plate scanning and recognition units
  • In ground sensors to detect vehicle movement in and out of the park, connected to  wireless control units
  • Surveillance cameras to confirm vehicle movement of a block of parks.

Speed kills, but car-parks don’t. They just raise revenue for the Council.

Apologists for their introduction of the new equipment argue that they ration the use of available street parking in a way that is fair to all motorists.

Not mentioned is the increase in revenue achieved by ensuring prompt turn-over of each parking space, revenue easily increased by reducing the parking interval, and/or a substantial fine.

Of course we can assume that those drivers who provide a mobile number will be notified when their time is nearly expired, and that there will be a tolerance period of about 15 minutes, before imposition of the fine.

Once effectively up and running however, Council will be able to adjust these levers as they wish to further increase revenue.

Are Parking Fines Fair?

It is not so long ago that ASIC took action to curb the punitive penalties levied by the major banks for customers who exceeded their credit limits, or failed to meet payments by the due date. These charges were grossly excessive and bore not relation to a reasonable interest impost.

In similar vein. the imposition of a fine is an excuse for boosting revenue far exceeding a reasonable time-related charge. A stepped charge of double payment for the second period would seem much more reasonable, for the benefit of those who have been unavoidably delayed, before imposing any fine.

Councils could increase the attractiveness of doing business in the CBD by reducing parking costs not increasing them.


About Kenneth Robson

I studied at Adelaide Boys' High School, and the University of Adelaide, Medical School. graduating in 1961. My field of specialisation was Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Prior to establishing my practice in Adelaide, I spent 5 years working in India, and Papua-New Guinea, in the field of reconstructive surgery for leprosy. In retirement I joined the Australian Technical Analyst Association and passed the two examinations for a Diploma inTechnical Analysis, and the designation Certified Financial Technician (CFTe) by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
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