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"One last thrash for old time's sake eh ?" inquired my partner in crime as we headed out on our final journey in my 1987 Toyota.

Famous last words ? Well, almost...

Off we went, cruising through the darkened streets of late night suburbia, not breaking any speed records but not holding up traffic either. Around a slight bend and down a street without houses or streetlights we drove when out of the darkness came flashes of red and blue and in no time we were being pulled over. I was then politely informed that I had been tooling along at 11 kph over the posted limit (71 in a 60 zone - or roughly 41 in a 35mph zone).

I was the hapless recipient of a $90 fine and 1 demerit point for this infringement.

The officer then asked to see my licence (the same licence that was in my wallet, at home - oops). When I told him that I didn't have the licence on me he radioed my name and address to HQ and received confirmation that I was indeed a valid licence holder, so far so good. He then proceeded to write a second ticket for "failure to produce licence as required by an officer" or some equally weak excuse. The fine on this ticket was $150.

Let's look at my illegal actions and their possible consequences for a second...

Speeding: If you believe the hype, the fact that I was travelling at over the posted limit was endangering the lives of innocent people. The slogan reads "Every k over is a killer". The price the government has put on this offence is $90.

Not producing my licence: As mentioned above, the officer made a call and 2 minutes later it was answered after a quick check had been done on my details. No chance of deaths, merely an inconvenience (and a small one at that). The price for this offence is $150.

Hmmmm... Death of civilians $90 Minor inconvenience to police officer/s $150

Either the Government doesn't care enough about the lives of the public to impose reasonable penalties or they are trying to make a quick buck from relatively minor offences (I think the latter is more likely). When I made a very careful appeal to the officer regarding this issue he rebuked "That's the law." Well thank you for clearing that up but in this case I believe the law has a flaw.

Note: This event occured in a small town in Australia, which is currently Suffering a 'Take no Prisoners' approach to road safety. I am not arguing that offences shouldn't be punished - just that a little perspective would be nice.