The obscure red light rule costing drivers a motza
A little-known red light rule has been raking in revenue for the State Government - and costing unsuspecting motorists steep fines and court costs.
Nine cases involving the rule were heard in Holland Park Magistrates Court alone today, leading the magistrate to dub it the "offence du jour'' (offence of the day).
One of the "victims'' was an Uber driver who told the court he'd never heard of it, even though he had been driving for 45 years.
The rule, under section 56 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Road Rules, applies when there is a green light but a red right hand turn arrow.
It is an offence for motorists to try to avoid the red arrow by ducking into another lane and driving straight ahead through an intersection.
"I've not been aware of this road rule for 45 years,'' Uber driver Russell Paul Malouf told the court.
Police prosecutor Sgt Elen French said Malouf was caught by a camera breaking the rule at 1.10pm on November 28 last year at Weller Rd, Tarragindi, on Brisbane's southside.
Malouf pleaded guilty one count of breaching "stopping on a red traffic arrow - stop line'' - even though he said he did not agree with the rule.
"I've seen a lot of this (offence) this year for some reason. Maybe the detection systems are better,'' Magistrate Simon Young said.
"To be fair, I was not aware of it for 30 years but I (nevertheless) don't understand how drivers don't understand this rule.''
Mr Young said he accepted there was "nothing dangerous'' about Malouf's actions in this case, but said they were illegal and fined him $400 and ordered he pay court costs of $105.65.
Mr Young handed out the same penalty to Isaac John Kambouris, who committed the same offence without, he told the court, being aware he had broken the law.
Kambouris said he had seen other vehicles switching from the right hand turn lane into a lane going straight ahead, and assumed it was legal.
Sgt French said a camera had caught Kambouris at 3.36pm on January 5 on Kessels Rd, Nathan.
Mr Young accepted Kambouris, who pleaded guilty, had a good traffic history and conceded it had been a "hard lesson'' for him.
"But this is a dangerous situation (at that spot) in my own experience,'' he said.
When Mr Young turned his attention to the next offender charged with the same offence, Jacqueline Elizabeth Lamond, he remarked: "This is the offence du jour. I've never seen so many, ever before.''
He found Lamond, who was not present in court, guilty and fined her $500 because there was no early guilty plea, plus $105.65 court costs.
However, Mr Young pointed out Lamond had no traffic history and there were no injuries or accidents caused by her offending.
Kirsten Victoria Williams was the only one of the nine defendants to face the red arrow charge spared a fine, but a traffic offence conviction was recorded.
Mr Young said although a charge was "technically made out'' and although he was not satisfied there was an emergency, he accepted Lamond's written evidence that she had swerved into a right hand turn lane to avoid a car stopped in front of her.
She then moved back into the lane she was previously driving in.
Mr Young said it was "one of those extraordinary circumstances'' where a court could apply its discretion.