ACT News


Top 10 excuses ACT drivers use to get out of speeding fines

From drivers who planted their foot because they were in desperate need of a bathroom, to parents who said they were in a rush to pick their children up from daycare. 

Canberra police reckon they've heard every excuse in the book from motorists trying to dodge a speeding fine.

Police issued 5755 infringement notices for speeding in the ACT during the 2013-14 financial year.

Acting officer in charge of Traffic Operations Craig McPherson said it showed drivers were not getting the message there was ''simply no reasonable excuse to speed''.

"The fact is many fatal and serious traffic crashes that occur on Canberra roads each year are directly attributable to motorists who exceed the posted speed limit," Sergeant McPherson said.

"I’d ask drivers to think about what reason they could give to the family of a loved one who died in a serious vehicle collision caused by speeding."


All drivers nabbed speeding were required to give police a reason for their illegal behaviour.

While many admitted they had no excuse, here's a taste of excuses given to ACT Policing officers in the past year:

1. Misunderstanding the road rules

One of the most common excuses was from drivers who pleaded innocence because they weren't aware of the speed limit, or they had misunderstood the road rules or traffic signs.

They included confusion over road works, school zones, and whether police turned a blind eye if a driver was clocked at a speed within 10 per cent of the legal limit.

"The idea of a '10 per cent rule' is a myth – the sign-posted speed limit is the maximum speed you are allowed to travel in that area,'' Sergeant McPherson said.

2. Running late

Lateness was another common one.

Drivers who had been pulled over said they were ''late to see my accountant'', or ''running late to a job interview''. A driver caught travelling 46 km/h above the speed limit claimed to be in a hurry to catch a plane.

“Some of the reasons drivers provide show a conscious decision to speed,'' Sergeant McPherson said. 

''You can make the decision not to speed, not to risk your life and not to endanger others.”

3. Children

One Canberra parent who was caught driving 135 km/h in an 80 km/h zone said they were late to pick up their daughter. 

Other speeding motorists said they were ''late picking up the kids'', ''late for my son's play group'' and: ''My son will get detention if he's late for school."

Sergeant McPherson said he understood the pressures of parenting.

''It can be very stressful to think that your child might be waiting outside school alone because you’re running late," he said.

''Still, it’s so much better to arrive late safely than to not get there at all.”

4. Relationship woes

Territory drivers also pulled out excuses such as "I needed some space as I just found out my partner was cheating on me", "I just broke up with my girlfriend", and "my girlfriend wasn't answering her phone", in an attempt to justify speeds of more than 35 km/h over the legal limit.

Drivers had a responsibility to acknowledge if they were in a fit physical or emotional state to drive, Sergeant McPherson said.

''If you’re tired, distracted or extremely stressed your cognitive skills will be affected and your ability to drive will be reduced," he said.

''Take a nap, take a walk or take a few deep breaths, but don’t drive.”

5. Denial

''I was not speeding."

Flat-out denial was no match for a police speed detector, Sergeant McPherson said. 

Other forms of denial included: ''this is crazy, I wasn't being unsafe", "everyone else is speeding" and "how do you know it was me? There are heaps of cars".

6. Nature called

"I really need to go to the toilet", "I'm just on my way home from work and I'm in a hurry to go to the toilet" and "I'm busting to go to the toilet". 

Nature may wait for no man, but that was no reason to speed, Sergeant McPherson said. 

“There’s a very good reason why your mother always told you to go to the bathroom before you left for a car trip.''

7. Bad day

''I had a bad day, I've just been to a funeral," said a driver caught travelling 141 km/h in a 90 km/h zone.

Another speeding driver said: "I'm just tired, I've been up since 4am.''

“A sure way to make a bad day worse is to have a serious vehicle collision and end up in hospital with a wrecked car,'' Sergeant McPherson said.

''If you’re having a bad day, maybe take a walk rather than take out your emotions on the road. It’s safer for you and everyone around you."

8. Pets

One driver who claimed they had to get home to a sick pet dog was sprung driving 47 km/h over the legal limit. Another said: "I have to put my dog indoors because it's raining".

Sergeant McPherson said if those drivers ''looked at that kind of excuse in the cold light of day'' they would probably understand why it didn't wash with police.

9. Technical reasons

A dodgy speedometer or a faulty transmission had also been blamed for cars going too fast.

“It’s the driver’s responsibility to make sure their vehicle is good working condition before driving,'' Sergeant McPherson said.

10. Food

"I have ice cream, it's melting,'' was the reason one driver gave police for travelling 106 km/h in an 80 km/h zone.


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