Penalties, fines & infringements

What happens if you break a road rule? Learn about the enforcement of road rules in Victoria.

Penalties for breaking road rules vary depending on the severity of the offence. In Victoria, there are a variety of penalties that can be applied, including fines, vehicle impoundment, attracting demerit points, license suspension or in extreme cases, being taken to court.

Demerit points and how they work

A demerit point is a penalty point applied to your driving record when you commit a driving offence in Australia. You’re usually notified of this via a Traffic Infringement Notice.

  • All drivers start off with zero demerit points.
  • Demerit points for driving offences range from 1-10 points and apply from the date the offence was made.
  • Demerit points are valid for three years from the date of the offence (although sometimes older points can be counted due to delayed court processes).

If you’re sent an infringement notice but weren’t driving at the time of the offence, you can nominate who was driving at the time so that you’re not penalised.

Find out more about demerit points and the number of demerit points for each offence from VicRoads.

Understanding fines and infringements

From parking and speeding fines to getting caught without a ticket on public transport – there are a lot of different kinds infringements and penalties to be aware of in Victoria. We’ve compiled a list of helpful summaries and resources for you below.

Cameras can detect speeding, running a red light or driving an unregistered vehicle. If you’re caught, you can receive a fine. RACV believes overt and covert cameras play an important role in keeping our roads safe, but they should only be in problem areas or sites where safety has the potential to be an issue.

Frequently asked questions

Traffic cameras and fines are all about revenue raising, aren’t they?
In 2005, RACV successfully advocated that all revenue raised from traffic safety cameras and on-the-spot speeding fines should be channelled back into roads to make the system more transparent. Since July 2005 all money from traffic cameras and speeding fines has been dedicated to funding road safety improvements. 

What's the role of the Road Safety Camera Commissioner?
The Road Safety Camera Commissioner checks the accuracy of speed cameras and undertakes investigations relating to the integrity, accuracy and efficiency of the camera system. The Commissioner can't investigate and resolve individual complaints but does monitor complaints to see if there is a pattern that might reveal problems with the camera system.

RACV recommends drivers carefully consider the information on the Commissioner’s website when making a complaint about a fine.

What are the ‘rules’ for the placement of mobile speed cameras?
The locations of mobile speed cameras are approved by Victoria Police. For more information read the Mobile Digital Road Safety Camera Policy and Operations Manual. The approved locations for mobile speed cameras are also available on the Cameras Save Lives website.

What is the tolerance on speed cameras?
The Road Safety (General) Regulations 2009 includes a tolerance for speeding offences. This means that an infringement notice is issued for less than the speed a person was detected to be travelling at.

This tolerance deducts two km/hr from a vehicle's detected speed for fixed digital safety cameras. For mobile cameras, a tolerance of three km/hr or three per cent for speeds over 100km/hr is deducted.

Police can also apply an additional tolerance at their discretion.

How do red-light cameras work?
A red-light camera will only activate after the traffic signal turns red. A red-light camera takes two photos to verify that an infringement has occurred:

  • The first photo is taken when a vehicle crosses the stop line and enters the detector loop area (generally located between the stop line and pedestrian crossing line) after the lights change to red; and
  • The second photo is taken when the vehicle continues through the intersection against the red light by exiting the detector loop area.

Some intersections have combined speed and red-light (intersection) cameras. Because of this, a camera may flash on a green light if a driver is speeding or the camera is being tested. If a driver also speeds through a red light, two infringements will be issued. 

If you believe a camera is flashing incorrectly, you can report it through the Cameras Save Lives website.

Visit the Victorian Government website for more information on red-light camera operation or watch the Victorian Department of Justice video.

Caught travelling without a valid Myki ticket? This is one of the most common public transport offences. Other offences include, but aren’t limited to, behaving violently, trespassing, littering on a vehicle and smoking in a vehicle.

Authorised Officers are on the look out for this kind of behaviour and when they catch someone doing the wrong thing, they send a report to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR). Once the report has been received and reviewed, DEDJTR issue a fine, warning, court summons or make the call that no further action needs to be taken. Authorised Officers can’t give on-the-spot fines.

RACV suggests visiting Transport Victoria for more information on:

  • Types of public transport fines
  • Requesting a review
  • How to pay a fine

It’s important to know things like time limits, payment structures and costs and whether you need to display a parking ticket prior to parking your vehicle in a private car park to avoid potential infringements.

Private car park operators can’t issue a fine or infringement, but they can issue a ‘breach of contract’ notice requesting payment for an alleged failure to obey the terms and conditions of the car park.

For more information on parking payment notices in private car parks, visit Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Legislation allows authorities to impound, immobilise or forfeit a vehicle that has been used for a high-risk/dangerous driving offence or hoon driving. The vehicle doesn’t have to belong to the offender for it to be impounded or immobilised.

To report hoon driving call the Crime Stoppers Hoon Hotline on 1800 333 000 or visit Crime Stoppers online. If it’s an emergency, contact 000.

For more information visit VicRoads or see the Road Safety Amendment (Hoon Driving) Act 2010 and the Road Safety Act 1986 on the Victorian Legislation website (search under Victorian Law Today).

Contesting a fine

Penalties for breaking road rules exist to keep us all safe on our day-to-day travels, but sometimes people may feel they’ve been wrongly fined or penalised. In these circumstances, it may be worth investigating your options to determine whether you can challenge the fine or apply for a review.

Your options may include:

  • Reviewing the photo of your traffic offence at Fines Victoria
  • Applying for an Official warning with Victoria Police
  • Making a complaint or providing feedback about a fine through the Road Safety Commissioner
  • Seeking legal assistance (RACV is not able to provide legal advice or assistance)

For more information, read the  Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.

The summaries RACV provide on Victorian road rules are based on the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017. We make sure to reference the exact rule where possible. When reading, keep in mind that we’re providing general information, not legal advice. If you’re looking for specific questions on any legal matter, consult with a lawyer for help.