A massive surge in the number of drivers who have failed to pay penalties after being nabbed by speed cameras has pushed up the bill for unpaid fines and infringements to nearly $257 million.
Figures released yesterday by the Department of the Attorney-General reveal the total debt for unpaid court-imposed fines and infringements increased $11 million in the six months to June.
The figures come ahead of long-awaited laws to crack down on hardcore fine defaulters, which are expected to pass through Parliament within weeks.
The crackdown includes "naming and shaming" tens of thousands of persistent fine defaulters on a website, wheel clamping debtors' cars and stripping vehicles of number plates.
Attorney-General Michael Mischin said the increase in unpaid fines highlighted the importance of the new measures and warned further changes would be considered if the there was not a significant turnaround in the recovery of the debts.
"Those who currently fulfil their lawful obligations by paying fines or entering into time-to-pay arrangements shouldn't have to suffer while others who believe that they are beyond the law play the system," Mr Mischin said.
WA sheriff John Klarich said the increase in the debt in the first six months of the year did not represent any relaxation in the Fines Enforcement Registry's pursuit of unpaid fines.
"The major factor for the increase over the past six months is WA Police referring many more Multanova and other speed camera fines to the FER for enforcement," Mr Klarich said.
He said the number of overall fines registered with the agency had increased 16.5 per cent from 2010-2011 to last financial year, while the number of Multanova and camera infringements increased 62.5 per cent over the same time.
Outstanding fines collected had increased $10 million over the past two financial years.The figures show that at the end of June, there was $153.1 million in outstanding court fines and $103.6 million in unpaid infringements, which can include on-the-spot fines for traffic offences, parking breaches and public transport fare evasion.
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