Speedsters face licence loss over unpaid fines

By Isaac Davison politics isaac davison@nzherald co nz

The policy will focus on 20,000 of the worst debtors with multiple fines or a poor record in paying off tickets.
The policy will focus on 20,000 of the worst debtors with multiple fines or a poor record in paying off tickets.

Drivers who refuse to pay speeding fines will have their licence confiscated - sometimes on the side of the road - and possibly lose their car under changes due in months.

From February, the Justice Ministry will ramp up efforts to recoup more than $200 million in outstanding traffic fines, most for speeding.

It will issue Driver Licence Stop Orders as a last resort to people who repeatedly ignore warning notices or court orders.

Any person found driving in breach of one of the orders will have their car impounded for 28 days.

Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows said in some cases people would have to surrender their licence on the side of the road if police detected an order was in place.

He said the measure would apply only to people who ignored repeated 28-day deadlines for fines.

"You've got about four months from the time you've been stopped and given a ticket to pay. That's not bad, and that's interest-free credit."

The policy will focus on 20,000 of the worst debtors with multiple fines or a poor record in paying off tickets.

Ministry executive Nigel Fyfe told MPs yesterday that a number of enforcement measures would be tried before a licence was suspended.

These would include orders for direct payment from wages, benefits, bank accounts or through property seizure. Drivers would get two weeks to make arrangements to pay the fines. They would not have to wipe out the debt in a lump sum, but would have to start paying off some to get their licence back.

Labour transport spokeswoman Darien Fenton said her party supported the policy, though it held concerns it could penalise people who needed their licence to get to work.

At present, drivers owe $240 million in fines.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 23 Aug 2014 18:55:22 Processing Time: 1458ms