It's a sticky situation... And has drivers in a jam...
Forget to register your car and you'll cop a hefty fine no matter what the excuse.
Mount Barker resident Cathy Hanns was hit with a $350 fine despite never receiving her registration renewal notice in the mail.
“We had our council change our street address from number 49 to number 36 so I rang up the Dept of Transport and said can you please change our postal address so I would receive our reminder notice ...assumed that it all happened, suddenly realised one day my registration must be due and it was 3 days late... so I quickly paid it and then a few weeks later received a fine in the post on the freeway of not having a registered vehicle," says Cathy.
Instead she'll have to front court for what she says was never her mistake.
“I have elected to go to court so it could end up in the thousands... I have no idea which, I don't know how we are going to pay for it and they'll probably end up getting $10 a week… I could point the finger at the Department of Transport for not actually changing my address when I rang up to change it... not sending me a reminder and also not having a sticker now to check,” says Cathy.
But Cathy's not alone...
66-year-old pensioner Leoni Howland was also fined despite complaining to the department that she never received her renewal notice.
“I was fined $385 for my fine and I didn't know if I lost any brownie points and the first I knew was receiving this fine… (So you never received a renewal notice?) No, nor did I get the reminder notice they claim they sent me as well,” says Leoni.
The State Government's taking a tough approach on forgetful drivers... Tripling fines since removing the sticker system in a bid to save $2 million a year… So now you could be up for $1000 for driving unregistered.
Georgina Barnett was caught driving unregistered by an automatic traffic camera ... She says it was an innocent mistake and took matters into her own hands.
“It was in hearing that they were raising it to $1000 that prompted me to really take action and produce the sticker because I don't want to get caught again,” says Georgina.
She's since created a website... Remind-a-Reg... Selling stickers as well as an added reminder.
“You go into the website, you put in your name, your email address and the date the registration is due and we send you out a sticker for the windscreen… we also send you a reminder email ten days prior to the registration due date… if it's going to save you $1000, I think it's worth $10,” says Georgina.
But the measure has also proved to be a huge windfall… figures obtained through Freedom of Information show that since the stickers stopped being issued the number of unregistered fines has spiked by 22 per cent... 6000 more drivers were pinged last financial year than the previous.
“That massive increase can either be seen as suddenly all of those people decided to break the law more than they did last year, or the year before, or indeed the system isn't working,” says Georgina.
More than 57,000 people have been fined since the stickers were removed... that's millions in extra revenue.
Greens MLC Tammy Franks requested the figures after getting complaints from constituents including Cathy... She says the new system also puts drivers at risk.
“The real problem is that people are driving uninsured and that could lead to quite a significant cost to government in the future,” says Tammy.
And it's not just South Australia... All states have abolished the stickers except Victoria and Queensland, but they're about to follow suit as well.
“There's been problems from day one with the system… we've seen people driving interstate and pulled over by the police, we've seen people not receive reminders, we've seen people say why don't we just go back to the old sticker system and, we've seen people setting up businesses selling new stickers which the government should probably have been doing all along,” says Tammy.
You can now register on line using the government's ezy-reg app... but don't put all your trust in it warns Tammy.
“I would say the ezy-reg app while a good app… it was flawed from the beginning when the government actually got its own public servants to say what a great app it was when they should have put it out to real consumers and if they'd had the feedback right from the start they would have always had the reminder notification as part of the app… that reminder notification has only come in in recent months,” says Tammy.
“Not everybody has a smart phone… I don't want to put my trust in an app,” says Georgina.
Of course not all car owners are savvy with the internet and they're the ones more likely to cop fines.