Herald Sun -
EXCLUSIVE: SPEEDING drivers are keeping their licences because they are exploiting a legal loophole to pay a fine to avoid getting demerit points.
Up to 50,000 rogue drivers each year pay a fine to avoid demerit points.
The Herald Sun has learned the "pay-to-speed" clause has boosted government coffers by $112 million in three years.
The loophole allows motorists to cop an extra $717 fine on top of their original traffic fine if they do not tell police who was driving at the time of the offence.
The points attached to the original fine are not recorded against any driver's licence.
There is no limit to the number of times a driver or a company can pay the extra fine to avoid demerit points.
A police source said cab and truck drivers were the worst offenders, with companies blatantly allowing drivers to stay on the road.
The revelation comes as the Herald Sun today reports that more than 11,000 years have been lost due to fatal accidents on Victoria's roads already in 2011.
Road safety campaigners have called for the farcical loophole to be immediately overhauled.
"The sooner we can get these idiots off the road the sooner we can start to reduce the carnage," RoadSafe spokesman Andy Milbourne said.
"If people go nuts behind the wheel, they have to be made accountable for it."
Roads Minister Terry Mulder last night said he would close the loophole next year after he was told about the matter by the Herald Sun.
In the past three financial years, there were more than 158,000 cases of drivers dodging demerit points from speeding and red light fines. Company drivers are also using the loophole.
Police figures show that dishonest drivers pay an extra $717 "failure to notify a driver" fine and the demerit points attached to the initial fine are never chased up.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of demerit point rorting," the police source said.
"When you look at the transport industry, they know who the drivers are at all times."
A transport industry source admitted truck drivers used the loophole.
"The fine comes in and the company gives them a simple choice: pay the fines or lose your licence and your job," he said.
Drivers who collect 12 demerit points in any three-year period lose their licence for at least three months or agree to go another year without attracting more fines, according to VicRoads.
By not owning up to the fines, drivers close to losing their licence avoid taking the points.
Mr Mulder said: "Dangerous driving is not on - too many families are devastated by road tragedy. Historical loopholes will be dealt with."
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