From the 1st of June the Niue Police will start to enforce instant fines for traffic violations against the Transport Amendment Act 2015.
Chief of Police Tim Wilson explained that the current system is time consuming for both the Police and the Court system. Motorists also appear in court for any and all traffic violations and some can end up in prison for traffic offences. However, with this new law change motorist are charged with an infringement notice and can just pay the fine instead.
“What this (new law) has done is it’s moved a charge from a crime to an infringement notice so it’s no longer a crime. This is just for things that could normally be handled through a fine not anything that could end up in prison time”.
The Chief says that the fine amounts were determined and formalised in Cabinet via regulations passed in November last year.
The Police say that they have the necessary equipment already installed in their patrol vehicles and they will also be on the road with the normal traffic check points.
If you are issued a fine you have 15 days to pay your fine and you have three options. Firstly, to pay the infringement notice or you can take the second option if you want a mitigating hearing where you agree to infringement notice but would like an opportunity to explain to a Judge the reasons why you were issued with an infringement notice and the Judge may reduce the fine. The third option is that the motorist can plead not guilty and they would go through a normal trial.
The traffic infringements are in two categories, first is for non-moving violations for such infringements as your lights not working or your warrant of fitness has expired, these infringements will cost you around $50. The second type of infringement notice is for moving violations such as speeding, failing to stop at a stop sign or failing to give way will incur a $75 fine and will increase depending on the severity of the danger it presents to the public.
For example, if your caught driving 1 to 5 km over the speed limit you face a fine of $75 and will increase by $15 every 5km after that, so if you’re driving 6 to 10 km over the speed limit, you will be fined $90. And if you go over 31km over the speed limit, you will be fined $300.
If you are caught driving without a license the fine is $150.
The Chief of Police wants to assure the public that his door is always open for those who feel that they have not been treated fairly or have concerns about their infringement notices.