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Hertz Australia said if I had been tagged on candid camera I would hear in about 6 weeks. The state of Victoria is punctual about its draconian traffic regulations, a letter arriving just shy of 6 weeks.
So I got my first ever traffic ticket anywhere.
Colleagues warned me of Australia’s strict traffic laws, though said that typically within 10 km of the speed limit is not a problem. Well, it certainly is a problem. My 108 km/h in 100 km/h zone attracted a AUD 176 fine plus AUD 35 processing fee from Hertz. That is the lowest fine bracket (under 10 km in excess of the limit). I will consider myself lucky if I just have the one as browsing around the forums of exasperated travelers are people that got ticketed for each of four speed cameras on the Geelong-Melbourne expressway used by drivers heading to/from the Great Ocean Road. I was tired on my way back from the Great Ocean Road, in a hurry, and did not pay enough attention to staying right on 100 km/h.
There is nothing to complain about, Australia has chosen to strictly enforce laws in ways that many other countries do not, and from an outsider’s perspective it is frustrating to have low speed limits and even lower tolerance, even in vast expanses of empty road, but visitors need to play the game by the local rules.
I enjoyed my trip to Australia but with exchange rates and costs where they are, I already felt it was one of the worst-value places I have visited and will be in no rush to go back. If the costs can be alleviated some day, there is much more I would like to see. The amount of a minor traffic violation does not seem that out of line when a bland hamburger at most restaurants goes for $18 and up. Maybe as an American, Australia was just too similar to justify the cost premium, whereas I had less issue with the similarly exorbitant costs in Papua New Guinea since it is so different from my everyday experience.
Here’s hoping Victoria has no more interest in my address. And Tasmania. And Northern Territory. And Queensland. Makes me nervous to check my mail.