Elements of the offence
The offence of driving at excessive speed exists under s 45A of Road Traffic Act 1961(SA). The offence occurs when a driver exceeds the speed limit by 45 kilometres an hour or more.
This offence can be expiated.
Service of an expiation notice will attract a disqualification notice under s 45B Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA). The disqualification notice has the effect of suspending a person’s licence. Under s 45B police have the power to impose licence disqualification or suspension by issuing such a notice. The suspension operates for a period of 6 months, commencing:
- if the notice is given to a person who has been given an expiation notice for an offence under s 45A, 24 hours after the person is given the notice
- if the notice is given to a person who has been given an expiation notice for an offence against s 79B, 28 days after the person is given notice or, if the person is already suspended or disqualified at that time, at the end of that period of suspension or disqualification
If a court convicts a person the penalty will be:
- For a first offence, a fine of not less than $1 100 and not more than $1 500 and disqualification for a minimum of 6 months;
- For a second or subsequent offence, a fine of not less than $1 200 and not more than $1 700 and disqualification for a minimum of 2 years
Previous convictions counted if within 5 years
In determining whether an offence is a first or subsequent offence, a previous conviction or expiation for an offence against sections 45A or 46 (reckless and dangerous driving) will be counted if committed within 5 years of the offence in question.
Excessive speed and road works
Where speed limit signs are placed on a road in relation to road works these will not be of any effect for the purposes of section 45A unless workers are either engaged at the road works site, or the area of road affected by the road works involves a greater than normal level of hazard [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 20(11)(b)]. This means that, if the usual speed limit is 50 km/h but signs are placed near road works on that length of road indicating a speed limit of 40 km/h past the road works, then a person travelling at 90 km/h on that length of road will not be guilty of the offence of excessive speed unless workers are engaged at the site or the site presents a greater than normal hazard. Workers will be taken to be engaged at the site if they are present in the area, or if they have been temporarily absent from the area for a period not exceeding two hours [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 20(15)]. Even if section 45A does not apply, however, if a driver has exceeded the normal speed limit they may still be guilty of the normal speeding offence against the Australian Road Rules.
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