Notable Amendments to the Road Traffic Act 1961 and the Expiation of Offences Act 1996
Both Houses of the South Australian Parliament have recently passed the Statutes Amendment (Transport Portfolio) Act 2021 (the Act). While the Act has received Royal Assent, it has not yet commenced and a precise commencement date is unknown at this stage.
Once commenced, the Act will make some noteworthy changes to numerous Acts, in particular the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) (the RT Act) and the Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA) (the EO Act). These changes are summarised below and relate to the liability of vehicle owners for expiable offences and the payment of parking fees within council areas.
Nomination of Another Driver
Section 60 of the Act amends section 174A of the RT Act to delete any reference to a ‘statutory declaration’ and replace same with a ‘nomination’. This amendment has the effect of enabling the owner of a vehicle, if he or she was not the driver at the time of an alleged offence, to provide the council, by way of a nomination, details of the person who was the driver at the relevant time.
A nomination is to be in a manner and form that has not yet been determined by the Minister. However, in his second reading speech on the Act, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Honourable Corey Wingard, indicated these amendments will provide the capacity for an online nomination system to be developed.
Unlike a statutory declaration, this system will not be subject to provisions of the Oaths Act 1936 which govern statutory declarations, namely requiring witness by a Justice of the Peace and deeming it an offence to wilfully make a false declaration.
However, the Act proposes to insert subsection 174A(13) which provides:
A person must not, in making a nomination for the purposes of this section, make a statement that is false or misleading in a material particular.
Maximum penalty: $25 000 or imprisonment for 4 years.
Councils will also have an ability, pursuant to the insertion at section 174A(5a) of the RT Act, to require a person who made a nomination to verify the information contained in the nomination by a statutory declaration.
As a result of these amendments to section 174A of the RT Act, relevant amendments have been proposed to the EO Act under Part 3 of the Act. These amendments accommodate the new nomination system in the issue of expiation reminder notices and expiation enforcement warning notices and the withdrawal of expiation notices. Once commenced, councils will likely be required to review relevant expiation notice templates and make necessary amendments in line with anticipated changes to forms contained in the Expiation of Offences Regulations 2011.
Ability to Pay Parking Fees by Smartphones or Other Electronic Devices
Section 63 of the Act provides new powers for the Governor to make rules or regulations under the RT Act pursuant to section 176 of that Act.
Currently, that section enables the Governor to make regulations empowering councils to fix fees for parking that are payable by the operation of “parking ticket vending machines” or “parking meters”. The Act broadens the scope for regulations to allow fees to be paid by mobile phone, tablet or any other electronic device or electronic method as determined by the council.
In his second reading speech, the Minister indicated that this amendment was developed in response to the City of Adelaide’s Smart Parking Project. It is anticipated the amendment will lead to regulations that will enable more councils to implement similar modern payment schemes in their areas.
Take Home Messages
The amendments proposed by the Act will likely require council, upon enactment, to amend relevant notices under the EO Act. We will continue to alert you as more information comes to light and the new nomination system is implemented.
It appears an online nomination portal may be utilised to facilitate the proposed mechanism of nomination and councils may make enquiries in relation to implementing same. In anticipation of relevant regulations, additional councils may consider options of electronic methods for collecting payment of parking fees.
For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article please contact Paul Kelly on +61 8 8210 1248 or email@example.com; or Dale Mazzachi on +61 8 8210 1221 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Viviana Paradiso on +61 8 8210 1292 or email@example.com.