The Queensland Government is set to allow automatic number plate recognition camera systems or ANPR camera systems to detect unregistered drivers, through proposed amendments to the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.
Approximately 3% of Queensland’s 4.5 million vehicles could potentially be unregistered (up to 135 000 vehicles). This looks set to increase when the Government scraps Registration Labels for light vehicles from October 1, 2014.
Generally, when a vehicle is unregistered, that also means it does not have CTP insurance (“uninsured vehicle”). However, CTP insurance continues for a grace period of 30 days after the expiry of a vehicle’s registration. It is possible for a vehicle to be unregistered, but retain CTP insurance during this time.
Police officers and transport inspectors employed by the Department of Transport and Main Roads have been intercepting vehicles and manually issuing infringement notices for unregistered and uninsured vehicle offences for many years. In more recent times, portable automatic number plate recognition camera systems have been used to detect these offences. Once an unregistered vehicle is detected, a police officer or transport inspector must still physically intercept the vehicle and manually issue an infringement notice.
It is proposed that both the Department of Transport and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) will utilise fixed and mobile ANPR Camera Systems to detect unregistered vehicles and automatically issue infringement notices by ordinary mail.
Section 120 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 will be amended to allow the chief executive to sign an evidentiary certificate for photographic detection devices operated by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, stating that an image was properly taken by the device and allowing the image to be used as evidence of an offence.
Who is responsible for the offence?
Under current arrangements it is the driver of the vehicles responsibility to confirm that the vehicle is registered and has compulsory third party insurance before it is used on the road. Following the proposed amendments to the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 the most recent registered operator will be responsible for the offence. Regardless of who is driving the vehicle, it is the registered operator’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is registered.
The registered operator will have a defence where they provide a statutory declaration stating that the vehicle was stolen, illegally taken or had already been sold or disposed of (see amendments to section 114);
How will the notice be served?
An infringement notice issued by an information technology system is taken to be an infringement notice served by an authorised person under the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999, and in particular section 13(1) of that Act (see new section 113A(3)).
The effect of this amendment is that the notice will be sent, by post to, to the nominated address and will be deemed to have been served. It will become imperative that all vehicles are promptly transferred with the Department of Transport following sale otherwise a former owner, not receiving the notice could find their licence cancelled.
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