The Victorian government takes excessive speeding seriously. Under the Road Safety Act 1986 and the Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2009, there are automatic and mandatory licence suspension sentences for drivers who excessively speed.
It is an offence to drive in excess of the speed limit and driving up to 24 kilometres above the limit will often result in a loss of demerit points and a fine. For drivers who excessively speed 25 kilometres or above the speed limit, harsh penalties apply.
Below is a table taken from the Act which shows the minimum licence suspension periods for drivers who excessively speed.
The Act operates to automatically suspend the licences of those who speed 25 kilometres or more above the speed limit. A conviction will also be recorded.
Under the Act and Regulations, speed averages can be taken into account as evidence of speed as well as the use of speed detectors.
In the first instance, an excessive speed infringement notice will be issued which sets out the excessive driving offence and the effects of the infringement notice. Drivers can respond to the infringement notice by lodging an objection within 28 days of the date of the infringement notice.
Objecting to an excessive speeding infringement
Objecting to the infringement means going to court.
An objection must be lodged in writing and set out the following:
- That you wish to deal with the matter in court; and
- Outline any defences you wish to rely upon.
Licence suspensions will be automatic if no objection has been given. The suspension and conviction will take effect immediately upon the expiry of the 28-day infringement notice period. If a driver elects to pay the penalty fine for an excessive driving offence, they must also surrender their licence upon payment.
If you were not issued the infringement notice personally and were unaware of having received it, you can apply to the Infringements Court for an extension of time to consider your objection. You must apply to the court within 14 days of finding out about the infringement notice. You cannot drive within this time.
Going to court
The court will assume that the speed detectors or the averages used to determine the driver’s speed are accurate. To argue that the speed detector was broken or improperly used, an expert will need to provide evidence of this in court.
A driver may also be able to argue that they had no control over the vehicle (because of a seizure, for example) or that they had to drive in excess of the speed limit because of a genuine emergency. It is on the driver to prove to the court that they are not liable for the offence. The court will not consider a mistake of fact, such as a defective speedometer, as a defence.
If the court considers a driver guilty of exceeding the speed limit of 25 kilometres or more, it is compelled by the Act to issue a minimum licence suspension period.
Under the Road Safety Rules 2009, the following maximum fines apply if the court considers a driver guilty or the infringement notice is not objected to:
- 20 penalty units or $3,109 for driving more than 45 kilometres above the speed limit;
- 15 penalty units or $2,331 for driving more than 35 kilometres but less than 45 kilometres above the speed limit; and
- 10 penalty units or $1,554 for driving in excess of the speed limit but less than 35 kilometres above the speed limit.
Depending on the circumstances, the court may also issue further penalties including the following:
- Instead of a fine, issue you a good behaviour undertaking for a certain amount of time; or
- Immobilise or impound your car if you were speeding in excess of 45 kilometres of the speed limit, driving at 145 kilometres or more, or engaged in a road race or speed trial.
The court must suspend a driver’s licence, for the minimum periods set out in the Act, if they were driving in excess of 25 kilometres or more over the speed limit.