Australia News & Commentary

Learner driver fined $1600 for “non-essential travel” during coronavirus lockdown

A Victorian teenager has been fined $1600 for driving with her mother, in breach of stage-three coronavirus restrictions.

Hunter Reynold, a 17-year-old from Hampton, was pulled over by Victoria Police on the weekend and fined for non-essential travel after the pair drove about 30 kilometres from their home.

The teen’s mother, Sharee, told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell that they didn’t think they were doing anything wrong since they weren’t in contact with anyone and had no intention of stopping anywhere.

“[The officer] said we were too far from home,” Sharee said, “and we would cop a fine, and that Hunter would be the person to receive that fine.”

Sharee said when she questioned the fine, the officer said the police were “smashing it on the roads today.”

Liberal MP Tim Smith described the officer’s response a “ridiculous over reaction.”

“How can it be dangerous to others if two members of the same household drive together and they don’t interact with anyone else?

“The state government needs to, yet again, clarify their rules,” Smith added.

Under the state’s current restrictions, Victorians are only permitted to drive if it’s for permitted purposes. These include work, picking up food or necessary goods, for education or in cases of an emergency.

According to 7News, Victoria Police said Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill will review the matter and see whether discretion could have been used in this instance.

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