Glitch impedes new 40km/h law in Victoria

Victoria Police has told its officers that infringement notices for a controversial 40km/h rule while passing emergency vehicles should not be issued after an administrative error was uncovered.

The directive was given on Monday after a truck slammed into the rear of a sedan that was adhering to the new rule on the Western Highway in Bacchus Marsh on Sunday – one day after the law was introduced.

Police will still be able to proceed with the offence by way of summons until the issue is resolved. This would mean drivers charged with the offence would have to front court. 

The truckie involved in Sunday’s incident in Bacchus Marsh, a 26-year-old Delacombe man, was issued with penalty notices for careless driving and failing to keep clear or give way to a police vehicle.

However, a spokeswoman for Victoria Police has confirmed the man's penalty notice in regard to failing to keep clear or give way to a police vehicle has since been withdrawn due to the administrative glitch.

She said anyone who may have been issued with a penalty notice to date would be notified and the notice withdrawn.

“It appears the error was made when assigning an offence code to the new rule in the road safety general regulations,” the Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

“The result of this incorrectly assigns three demerit points to a motorist in addition to the correct monetary penalty infringement of $277.”

No demerit points apply to the rule.

The Victoria Police spokeswoman also said infringements could be held over and could be re-issued once the offence code error was corrected. 

“Motorists are reminded that the legislation came into effect on July 1 and is still enforceable, with police able to proceed with the offence by way of summons,” she said.

The new 40km/h rule has divided opinion among Victorian road users, with the RACV calling for a review into the law.