A learner driver in Victoria has been slapped with a $1600 fine for breaching the state’s strict stage 3 lockdown laws. Her crime? Trying to get her hours up with mum in the passenger seat.
Hunter Reynolds was driving with her mother, Sharee, getting some wet weather driving experience under her belt when a police officer pulled her over on the weekend.
Sharee told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell the pair didn’t think they were doing anything wrong. They “weren’t in contact with any person, we weren’t stopping anywhere, we weren’t planning visiting any destinations, we were just learning to drive/”
“She [the police officer] said we were too far from home and we would cop a fine, and that Hunter would be the person to receive that fine.”
That fine was an on-the-spot $1652 for non-essential travel. The only travel permitted under the state’s lockdown is to pick up food or necessary goods, to attend work or education, or for emergencies. Getting your hours up and learning to drive doesn’t qualify.
Even though she was with her mother, who she lives with (and is allowed to be within 1.5m of). And even when, though they were 30km from home, they weren’t going to hop out for a spot of sight-seeing and mingling.
Frankly, it seems a little harsh to slam a learner driver with such a hefty fine for trying to get driving experience.
And, by the way, Victoria’s lockdown laws don’t actually rule out L-plate learning, so the fine seems extra harsh. Like Sharee said, “a warning would have sufficed”.
It really would have. I mean, it’s stressful enough learning to drive with mum in the car; especially when she’s yelling “hug the corner” and stomping on invisible breaks all the time. What’s an L-plate driver supposed to do during a pandemic? Wait until the roads are loaded to get some experience? Play Mario Kart to log hours?
Though it wasn’t an essential outing, it’s still kind of essential to get driving practice if you want to drive. And as long as they’re staying safe and staying inside the vehicle, I don’t think $1600 is a fair fine to scare the lights out of an L-plater.
Sharee said the pair intend to challenge the fine in court. And I hope it works, or else Hunter’s going to have to wait even longer to do her inaugural red P-plate Maccas run.
Image Sources: Modern Family, Giphy (Clueless).