By Jeremy Rochow
Last updated on: July 1, 2019 at 4:53 pm
Motorists caught using their mobile phones in South Australia now face an extra $200 worth of fines, following a 60% penalty hike by the state government.
The new penalty for mobile phone use while driving, which has risen from $334 to $534, is just one of a number of price hikes for expiation notices released in line with the 2019/20 State Budget.
In good news, the release of last month’s budget also saw South Australian Treasurer Rob Lucas announce funding packages for 3 infrastructure projects on RAA’s priority list.
Here’s how the state budget and new penalties could affect you on the road:
Traffic penalty increases
Speeding motorists’ wallets will be a bit lighter from now, with fines increasing by up to $600 on 1 July.
The worst-affected are motorists caught driving 45km/h or more over the speed limit. They’ll now receive a $1658 fine – up from $1036 – along with a $60 Victims of Crime Levy, 9 demerit points and a 6 month on-the-spot licence disqualification.
Fines for motorists speeding by less than 10km/h increased the least, rising from $174 to $177.
Drivers caught using a mobile phone will – as well as being stung with a more expensive fine – also face a $60 Victims of Crime Levy and 3 demerit points.
RAA Traffic Engineer Matthew Vertudaches said motorists should be aware of the risks associated with using any functions of their mobile phone while driving.
“The fines are becoming more expensive so putting your phone away while you’re driving is good for your safety and other road users, as well as your pocket,” Mr Vertudaches said.
“Don’t be tempted to use any functions of your phone while you’re stationary at traffic signals. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings at all times.”
Full list of changes to traffic offences
|Infringement||2018/2019 fine||2019/2020 fine||Demerit points|
|Speeding: less than 10km/h||$174||$177||2|
|Speeding: 10km/h but less than 20km/h||$379||$398||3|
|Speeding: 20km/h but less than 30km/h||$771||$810||5|
|Speeding: by 30km/h or more||$1036||$1472||7|
|Speeding: by 45km/h or more||$1036||$1658||9|
|Disobey red or yellow traffic signal or arrow||$464||$487||3|
|Fail to wear seatbelt: driver or passenger over 16||$363||$381||3|
|1 passenger unrestrained (adult or child)||$363||$381||3|
|More than 1 passenger unrestrained (adult or child)||$428||$449||5|
|Use mobile phone||$334||$534||3|
|Drive unregistered vehicle||$374||$411||0|
|Drive uninisured vehicle||$692||$761||0|
*A $60 Victims of Crime Levy is charged for each offence.
Road funding secured
A win for both urban and regional motorists, the government announced funding for a number of road projects.
The funding packages announced by the government feature long-term and short-term infrastructure projects and address a number of key items on RAA’s priority list.
A total of $3 billion will support the completion and delivery of the North-South Corridor, $55 million to upgrade the Horrocks Hwy and $125 million to upgrade roads on the Eyre Peninsula, including Eyre Hwy.
RAA General Manager Government and Public Policy, Jayne Flaherty, hailed the government’s commitment to completing the North-South Corridor and upgrading regional highways as a win for driver safety.
“The Torrens Rd level crossing investment boosts the $116 million already pledged in the federal budget to fix this bottleneck, and is a win for commuters, businesses and RAA members,” Ms Flaherty said.
“The government’s commitment to separate freight level crossings at Park Tce, Salisbury; Kings Rd, Salisbury Downs; Cormack Rd, Dry Creek; and Cross Rd, Westbourne Park will greatly benefit South Australian motorists.”
Ms Flaherty also hailed the government’s commitment to upgrade major intersections.
“We welcome the commitment to upgrade intersections at Cross and Fullarton roads, Portrush and Magill roads and Goodwood/Springbank/Daws roads,” she said.
The government also committed $92 million to duplicating Victor Harbor Rd between Main South Rd and McLaren Vale, which RAA has long advocated for.
More needed for struggling SA families
Despite the government’s multi-million dollar spend on infrastructure, Ms Flaherty argued more needed to be done to help struggling South Australian families.
“RAA is disappointed the government hasn’t used this budget to deliver on its election commitment to help cash-strapped households by providing real-time fuel pricing in SA,” Ms Flaherty said.
Real-time fuel pricing would allow motorists to access up-to-date and accurate petrol prices online, enabling them to save money by purchasing fuel at the bottom of the cycle or from the cheapest outlet.
New South Wales, Queensland and Northern Territory have already introduced fuel reporting laws requiring service stations to provide real-time prices that can be published online. The ACCC has reported that Adelaide motorists could save up to $30 million per year from a similar scheme.