If you are planning to drive in the state of Victoria, during your trip to Australia, please note…
Self Drive Tourism Warning
While I never received a fine during my Road trip in Victoria, Australia, many other foreigners including tourists and those newly emigrated to Australia haven’t been so lucky (much to their horror at how comparatively strict and expensive the penalties were). If you’re used to driving at the speed limit, there is less wiggle room for even a momentary lapse in concentration should you be in the vicinity of an enforcement camera.
In Australia, the ethos of the “Speed limit not being a target, but the absolute maximum speed you are allowed to drive at” is perhaps instilled a bit more vigorously than say in New Zealand or North America for that matter.
- The State of Victoria for example may set higher speed limits, but enforce them a lot more strictly (with a 3 km/h effective tolerance, by way of deducting 3km/h of the detected speed to form the alleged speed, along with heavy fines for even low level speeding).
- In New Zealand, the speed limits may be set lower for the equivalent roading environment, but enforced more loosely (Higher general speed tolerance enforcement of 5km/h during holiday periods along with much lighter fines for low level speeding)
Victoria, Australia has some of the heaviest monetary penalties for speeding with fines that I’ve heard of, starting from 200 AUD for even just a few km/h over the speed limit along with 400 AUD fines for running red lights.
- There are concealed (Not easy to spot) traffic enforcement cameras all over the state of Victoria. Melbourne in particular is swarming with Fixed Traffic Enforcement Cameras dotted all over the place, particularly on their Highways / Freeways, particularly under the over bridges cross over the motorways.
- In Australia (and New Zealand), You can not make a free left (kerb side) turn on a red traffic signal as you can in many places in North America.
- Road works zones are ENFORCED at the temporary speed limit, The State of Victoria’s fixed cameras can be adjusted to accommodate on the fly. There have been countless reports of even locals losing their licenses while traveling on the Freeways at 100km/h having missed the temporary 50km/h speed limit in place.
- If you are driving a rental car at the time of the infringement, your Rental Car provider will most likely also slap an additional Administration Fee on top of any fines of around 66 AUD (if it’s a mailed speed camera fine). Unfortunately, it appears many Car rental companies do not make the hirer aware of how comparatively heavily and strictly enforced speeding is in the State of Victoria upon the hirer picking up the car from Melbourne Tullamarine international Airport.
- The parking signs to those unfamiliar can be extremely confusing. Again heavy fines from around 80 AUD upwards applies for parking infringements.
While as a foreigner you may be able to get away with not paying any infringements, issues may arise at the border should you wish to enter Australia again.
The reason I’ve heard for such seemingly heavy enforcement for low level speeding is that it’s “aimed at bringing about cultural change in the driving public”. Another words, an attempt at “Nipping it in the bud”. That said, Victoria still has their fair share of speeders (The occasional hooner that is clearly 30 km/h above the speed limit) and the usual tailgaters following other vehicles closely as anywhere else in the world.
I remember the saying ‘Singapore is a Fine City’ many years ago, I think the crown has since been stolen by Victoria Australia in terms of rules and heavy fines having visited both places recently. I facetiously picture a License plate Slogan of “Victoria – A Fine State”