$40 fine from quirky parking law

If any one of these cars is unlocked and the driver is more than three metres away a fine is looming.
If any one of these cars is unlocked and the driver is more than three metres away a fine is looming. john mccutcheon

A PEREGIAN Springs man went down to Noosa Woods the other day and came away with a nasty surprise - a $40 police infringement notice.

He wasn't parked illegally and his registration was up-to-date, so he was understandably confused.

Then he read the notice and found he had been nicked for failing to lock his car - with the police office scribbling “all four doors unlocked - photo taken”.

And yes, it's true.

Under Queensland law anyone who is more than three metres from their empty vehicle and leaves it unlocked, can suffer the same fate.

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Shock quickly turned to outrage for the driver who vowed to have the ticket officially torn up.

The man, who did not want to be named, has already drafted a letter to authorities.

“It is my belief that I locked the car and it is up to the police to prove that I didn't and that will be very hard to prove,” he said.

“They would have needed to see me actually leave the car unlocked.”

He said he could not understand why the police have been so ham-fisted by issuing a fine, rather than just a warning.

“No one I have talked to, has ever heard of such a fine existing ... and what sort of welcome is it sending out to the many visitors we get here to Noosa - lock up your car or we will fine you $40.

“This is a serious breach of my personal freedom - it is up to me to decide whether I tie my boot laces or lock my car.

“Where does it end?

The man said he also intended to take the matter up with Noosa MP Glen Elmes and has not ruled out writing to premier Anna Bligh to put a stop to “a nanny state improving its cash flow by trying to protect people from themselves”.

Noosa Police acting officer-in-charge Sen Sgt Peter Feldman said if the car owner believed he had no case to answer, then he could have the matter heard in court but police would not be going any softer with people who fail to lock their cars.

“There has been a lot of property taken from unlocked vehicles at Noosa Woods at holiday time because it is so secluded,” he said.

Sen Sgt Feldman said police had previously left warning notices for motorists to lock their vehicles but the message was not getting through to far too many drivers.

He said drivers should be concerned about their vehicle security as well as the extra workload those preventable crimes created for police.

“The easiest solution is just to lock your vehicle.”

Sen Sgt Feldman said the fine was issued in accordance with the Transport Operations (Road Use Management-Road Rules) Regulation 1999: Section 213 Making a motor vehicle secure.

It states: “The driver must lock the vehicle immediately after leaving the vehicle if - (a) after leaving the vehicle, the driver will be more than 3m from the closest part of the vehicle; and (b) there is no-one remaining in the vehicle; and (c) the vehicle's doors can be locked.”

And be warned - that section also gives police the power to fine drivers who fail to put on the hand brake when leaving their car.

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