A community battle against thousands of problematic speeding fines has come to an end with Victoria Police agreeing to waive up to 40,000 infringements.
Residents of the Melbourne suburb of Frankston were left fuming when they started receiving speeding fines – fines they say are a result of "flawed signing" and "low-level awareness".
The penalty notices were issued to motorists driving along the intersection of Davey Street and the Nepean Highway in Frankston, about an hour's drive from Melbourne's CBD.
In October 2021, Frankston City Council temporarily reduced the limit to 40km/h from 60km/h for southbound lanes to accommodate for outdoor dining, however many motorists were unaware.
A petition was launched by one resident Maria Davoren after she'd received two speeding fines on the same stretch of road.
She said she trawled through social media and discovered others had also been hit with fines amounting to "tens of thousands", she previously told Yahoo News Australia.
A report addressing residents' concerns regarding the speed camera was put together by Ian Robins, an engineer and Frankston resident, who was also fighting the fine.
It alleged the new speed limit contributed to 40,000 infringements and claimed the installation "is not consistent with the Speed Zoning Guidelines or best practice".
"A major problem is the flawed signing which has significantly contributed to the very low-level awareness of the changed limit among motorists," the report, which was shared with Yahoo News Australia, said.
Investigation finds 'significant complexities'
But following a two-month investigation, the Road Safety Camera Commissioner found there were "significant complexities brought about due to the unique nature of the two overlapping and concurrent speed limit reduction projects".
"It was also found there was less than effective communication to the community to sufficiently inform road users of the two projects and the timing for implementation of the new lower 40 km/h speed limit," the Commissioner's report concluded.
When Frankston City Council temporarily reduced the limit in October last year, the Department of Transport was planning a permanent speed reduction also.
From October 2021 to mid-April 2022, the camera at the intersection of Davey Street and the Nepean Highway was deactivated.
They turned the camera back on in April 2022 at the old speed limit of 60km/h before it was set to 40km/h in May, Seven News reported.
This confusion led to thousands of fines, with some people receiving multiple.
Thousands of fines waived
As a result of these "complexities", "those motorists detected in excess of 40 km/h but below the former speed limit of 60 km/h should have their offending conduct excused," Commissioner Neville Taylor concluded.
Victoria Police confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that "the RSCC made a number of recommendations which Victoria Police supports and is currently working through".
It's understood that those drivers travelling under the previous, longstanding speed limit of 60km/h will have their fines waived by Victoria Police.
However, only if they were caught and fined between April 15 and June 16, 2022.
"Motorists infringed for exceeding the 60 km/h speed threshold for enforcement will be issued an Infringement Notice. All other speeding offences detected at this site will be withdrawn and these motorists will be issued with a 'caution'," Victoria Police confirmed in a statement.
"Victoria Police will continue to work with its road safety partners to improve road safety and reduce road trauma in high-risk locations."
Residents who joined the Facebook group founded by Ms Davoren, Nepean Highway Frankston Speed Camera Fines, praised the hard work which ultimately saved many people hundreds of dollars.
"Thank you also from me Maria. As a consequence of your work, I will be having one outstanding $220 fine dropped and one other larger fine refunded to me," one said on Thursday.
"Congratulations to all the people who worked so hard on this matter - shows a great deal of community spirit," wrote another.
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