The Most Infuriating Traffic Fines In Existence

The Most Infuriating Traffic Fines In Existence

Most traffic fines are a necessary evil that preserve safety on our roads and car parks. Occasionally however, a motorist will be issued with a ticket that seems to fly in the face of logic. Is revenue raising to blame? Ham-fisted bureaucracy? Mean-spiritedness? Whatever the cause, it invariably causes the recipient to see red. Here are eight parking and driving “offences” that are completely pointless.

Parking ticket picture from Shutterstock

Getting fined for parking in your own driveway

This one has probably caused more outrage and controversy than all the others combined. Doubtless you’ve seen the media reports about this phenomena, in which cars parked in their own driveways have been issued with tickets for the crime of ever-so-slightly intruding onto the sidewalk. We think this one is especially insidious because the inspector is targeting you in your own home. It’s just not cricket.

Getting fined due to constantly changing speed limits

There’s usually no excuse for speeding, but many highways in Australia are guilty of having an array of speed limits that seem to shift at random. Some even go from 80km/h to 100km/h and then back to 80 in the space of 100 metres. It can turn the daily commute to work into a grueling memory test with failure resulting in a hefty fine and possible loss of license.

Getting fined while parked outside a school

Most primary schools in Australia do not come equipped with car parks beyond a handful of spaces for teachers. Parents are therefore forced to desperately improvise during the afternoon chaos. With scores of cars converging on the one place, it is not uncommon for parents to park on nature strips and other non-conventional areas for the few minutes it takes to collect their kids. We see nothing wrong with this (for the most part, at least): the cars rarely pose a danger to other motorists and what other option do the parents have?

Despite this, some parking officers have begun to deliberately target schools during closing time. The blaggards. As a parent myself, this shameless revenue raising really winds me up.

Getting fined for running an orange light

Running a red light is a good way to get an on-the-spot fine, but what about orange? Apparently, police have been known to issue tickets for accelerating at traffic lights even if the car comfortably makes it through on the amber. This is something that practically everyone in the world does (including cops), which makes it all the more hard to swallow.

Getting fined due to school zone confusion

Don’t get me wrong; I think school zone speed limits are a good thing – but do there really need so be so many damn variants? Most states in Australia have several different school zone rules ranging from 40km/h at all times to 60km/h at certain times of the day. Knowing which rule applies where can be a tricky undertaking; especially if you don’t have kids.

Getting fined for failing to use a designated bike space

Unless you live in Melbourne, finding a suitable parking space for your scooter or bike can be an arduous undertaking. It can therefore be quite tempting to leave your ride in a non-designated area where it isn’t causing an obstruction. Unfortunately, ticket inspectors aren’t a very forgiving breed.

Gizmodo editor Luke Hopewell was recently fined $101 for parking just a few feet outside of the designated area for scooters. (“The extra dollar really made it more insulting,” Luke says.)

Getting fined due to poor car park signage

Restricted parking areas are supposed to be clearly signposted so that motorists know exactly what the rules are. This is not always the case however, with overgrown foliage, faded lettering and sparsely distributed signs conspiring against the driver. I’ve personally fallen victim to this council oversight but in the end I just paid the fine rather than waste a day in court. I still regret this pathetic capitulation. Never again!

Getting fined for exceeding the parking time limit — despite moving your car

In some cities, including Sydney, moving your car just a few spots before the expiry of a timed parking restriction can still result in copping a ticket. To avoid a parking fine, you need to leave the “parking sector”, which isn’t particularly well defined. In at least one documented case, a woman was fined for exceeding the two-hour parking limit despite re-parking around the corner before the time was reached. Tch, eh?

Have you ever been fined unjustly for a parking or driving offence? Share you stories in the comments section below.

See also: Top 10 Parking Crimes Against Humanity | This Is What Happens When You Try To Pay A Parking Fine In Loose Change [Video]


  • They have finally started putting lights on the schools zone signs! Best thing ever.
    Although I have never been booked it is extremely hard to know if it is with in the times when you ride a bike that has no clock and you can’t exactly pull out your phone.

    Worst ticket I ever saw was at palm beach I saw a guy reach into a car and take a paid parking ticket (ticket parking) from the dash then write up the car for not having a ticket.

    • having experienced issues with everyone of these problems I actually agree with them all except the Bike Parking one…. driveways? Fire Dept needs access at anytime day or not, and its not just your house its your neighbours house too that could burn down,… no excuse for not knowing the time of day, your location or just being unaware of your general surroundings, something most aussie drivers are pathetically poor at…. mums at schools?? ban the lot and make them walk the final 200-300 metres, damn kids need exercise and so do half their mums……..

      • CFA and MFB can just break the window of the car and push it onto the road, makes more sense then just aimlessly fining people for a lack or parking. I bet the fines dont go towards more parking.

        • Within 30 seconds a fire can burst into an all consuming inferno…. Those fireys who have to clear the fire ground of your car have just wasted 60 seconds…. On behalf of your neighbours who’s house is now under threat as well as your trapped family, thank you so much!!

          In reality they don’t smash a window, the use the first truck on scene to ram the vehicle aside… Your insurance won’t cover it, nor the fire engine repairs

    • The first time I was pinged for speeding, it was through a school zone, back when I was in Uni. This was before they started putting flashing lights outside school zones to indicate the times of lower speeds.

      I went through a school zone that was 40km/h between 2:30pm and 4pm. According to all of my sources, it was at least 4pm, including the radio which was playing the 4 o’clock news. I figured I was fine to travel through there at the normal speed of 60km/h. Well, they got me, because according to their clock it was 3:56pm. What was more infuriating was that it was a mid-range offense in the 15-30km/h bracket.

      I initially wrote a letter back explaining that all of my sources said it was after 4pm but they wouldn’t take that as an excuse. In the end I paid the fine because I couldn’t be bothered going to court over it.

      So now the flashing lights are a good thing, now motorists know exactly when the school zone is in effect and when it isn’t. I wish they had those back then.

  • Re getting fined about obstructing the footpath, try pushing a pram or wheelchair along a footpath that someone has blocked with their car, and you’ll have a different opinion about that fine.

    • damn straight…… ive seen what happens when the fire department needs access to a blocked property….. think fire truck battering ram

      suffice to say your car will be a write off and no insurance on earth will cover you

      • I’m confused…how is slightly blocking a small section of footpath with the rear of your car when parked in your driveway preventing the fireys from getting to your house?

        • Slightly blocking? None. Blocked egress/entrance? Plenty, Fireys use close support hoses when personnel are in the building to stop the structure crumbling, engines need to be as close as possible….. Same deal with the hydrants in the street, block them and you’ll be moved all at your own expense

          Do we need to question the Fire Dept when it comes to their jobs?

          • No one has been talking about blocking driveways, just parking in their own driveway with part of the car obstructing the footpath.

          • oh excellent, gosh im so sorry…. you’re right we should leave it up to what people’s best judgment and let them consider what’s reasonable, because that wont be left open to interpretation, court cases and confrontation

            much like driving laws that seem pointless, regulation has to be effective enough that it covers every section of society, even the lowest common denominator(s)

    • He did say “ever so slightly”. Sometimes I park at home and just the tip of my bumper is over the line and therefore I can get fined. Never mind that there is still enough room to push a double wide pram past the car without difficulty. I know, because I’ve tried.

      So for those circumstances I think the fine is outrageous, petty and shows a certain amount of “I have authority over you and my life is so small that I’m going to fine you to make me feel big and strong” on behalf of the inspector.

      But yeah, when they block up to, and sometimes over, half the footpath? Screw ’em I say!

      • so where is the cutoff point?

        Have the ticket inspector get a pram out of their vehicle and test?

        • Hehe, maybe they could find a new market for New Mothers or twins. Kinda niche I admit!

          Seriously though, I think you can judge it by eye pretty well. Bit of training and I think it could be possible though I do take your point.

  • So…. I’m guessing you got a fine? 😛

    Some reading I recommend in every thread about topics relating to local government:

    Local Government Act of 1995 (long read)

    K.M. Corke & Associates; Constitutional recognition for local governments

    Independent Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government Report

    I would be very interested on the conclusions anyone reaches after reading these, or alternatively – try talking about this with nearly any non-ignorant type local member/mayor/other and see their responses. It is quite hilarious the sheer number of ways they can avoid answering the questions raised in any way. (I’m looking at you, Mayor Troy Pickard and councillors Kerry Hollywood and Tom McLean)

    • So…. I’m guessing you got a fine? 😛
      And I’m guessing it was for the last one on the list, judging by the italics in the second part of the heading.

  • I can understand the last one. The point of a time limit is defeated if you can just move your car.

  • Getting fined due to poor car park signage
    You can argue against this one… just supply evidence of the obstruction or other reasoning why the sign was unreadable or difficult to see.

  • My issue with parents parking at schools, is that anywhere is a car-park for them, At a nearby school, designated parking spaces go so far up the road, then break a car’s length away from the driveway into the school to let longer vehicles turn in (delivery trucks etc.). I’ve seen a parent yell at a driver because he couldn’t get pull into the driveway because she was parked in a spot that wasn’t designated as a parking spot, and he simply asked her to move.

    As for the lack of signage, you have to be able to prove it 100% to fight it. Take photos and videos of the area and prove that you searched long and hard to find a sign, or prove that the sign was confusing for a reasonable person.

    • i used to live across the road from the rear exit of a primary school.
      i ended up putting massive rocks on my nature strip to stop people using it as a parking lot. i used to have people park across (and even IN) my driveway.
      we were virtual hostages in out home from about 2:45 through to about 3:15. couldn’t get a car out of the driveway if we wanted to

  • Some even go from 80km/h to 100km/h and then back to 80 in the space of 100 metres. It can turn the daily commute to work into a grueling memory test with failure resulting in a hefty fine and possible loss of license.

    So go 80km/h the whole way. It’s a maximum speed limit, not a minimum speed limit.

      • If the signs are 100m apart on a highway, you should be able to see them all and plan your drive accordingly, whether familiar with the road or not.

        • What’s the point in changing the speed limit for e.g 100 metres anyway. Seems pointless and an utter waste of money (for those extra signs). There’s nothing worse than driving along a road and every 2 seconds there’s a sign 40, 50, 60, 70, 60, school zone, 60, 50. F**king stupid!

    • This. There’s no point speeding up for the sake of 100 metres – it’s a net saving of about 0.7 seconds in your trip.

      • As someone else mentioned, this only works if you’re familiar with the road and know it’s about to change back to 80 again.

        • Yeah, but as I mentioned earlier, if it’s a highway and a matter of 100 metres, you’d be able to see all the relevant signs anyway, regardless of your familiarity with the road…

          • I think the 100mtrs may have been for effect. I’ve been on roads where it’s gone from 80 to 100 to 80 in the space of a kilometer or so and that really is annoying because you can’t see the sign coming up in the distance so you accelerate only to have to decelerate again. And I think that happens quite a bit without any obvious reason for it.

          • And i thought it was bad/stupid enough on springvale road near doncaster road in melbourne, where they have an 80k sign just before the traffic lights and 60k sign just after it.

          • Brilliant. What about the outbound on ramp to the Monash at Warrigal Rd? They have the lights there that only allows two cars at a time. Not a bad idea as they are tied to traffic on the Monash allowing you to merge easier. The WTF here though is that you don’t merge, you enter the Monash on a (new) lane! Who was the mental pigmy that came up with that?

          • I haven’t used that ramp before, does sound pretty stupid though.

            They should be forced to put up every decision like that and speed limit changes online with reasons and provide feedback on. I’ve seen some dooseys in my time thankfully there are not many i have to pass on a regular basis.

    • Yeah, everyone loves being stuck behind that guy doing 80 in a 100 zone.. right? Just do 50, because many areas are 50.. right?

      • You’re not really stuck behind someone doing 80 in a 100 zone when the zone lasts less time than it takes to read this sentence.

    • You can technically be fined for travelling 20kmph or more under the speed limit. Not that they ever enforce it.

    • My personal favourite is when you go from, say a 60km/h zone to a 40km/h zone. Then, when you get to the end of that zone, you get a sign which says “End 40 Zone”. So you have to remember what the speed limit was before you entered the 40km/h zone. Why don’t they just post the new speed limit? It’d save on paint too.

  • 1 – Getting fined for parking in your own driveway
    That’s not your driveway. Your driveway only starts where your property starts. That connection is council land, and for good reasons, such as clear pedestrian access.

    2 – Getting fined while parked outside a school
    Walk. The large majority of parents driving to schools could walk, especially the ones arriving 30 mins early to make sure they have a spot. That’s 30 mins that could be used for the walk. It’s good for you, it’s good for your kids, good for the environment and good for everyone else.
    Don’t park on the nature strip, that’s illegal and annoying for those that live there. It’s not their land, but none the less they have to put up with torn up lawn because of your laziness and selfishness.

    3 – Getting fined due to school zone confusion
    I have to agree with this. School zones should be there, but they should have those light up signs at ALL schools if the speed limit isn’t permanent. None of that conditional signage.

  • Re parking at schools, is it really that hard to park a little further away from the school, get out of the car, and walk the rest of the distance to get your kids? I’ll admit that I don’t have children, but when I was at school mum would do exactly that. She’d park around the corner, walk to the school gate, and walk my brother and I back to the car. Of course that was mostly to avoid road rage rather than parking fines.

  • Getting fined for parking in your own driveway
    You can’t be fined for parking in your own driveway. However, most people think their driveway extends out to the gutter. It doesn’t! Your driveway stops at your property line.

    Parking between your property line and the gutter obstructs pedestrian access, including parents with prams, people in wheelchairs, and little children on trikes etc – forcing them onto the road.

    It also prevents emergency services, such as the Fire Trucks and Ambulances, from getting as close to your property, or your neighbours, as possible.

    Plus, how is anyone to know that this is your car? If I park in “your driveway,” preventing you from entering or leaving your property, would you bag Police and Parking officers for booking me?

    Parking inspectors and Police should use common sense if a car is sticking out “just a bit!”

    Getting fined for exceeding the parking time limit — despite moving your car
    You’ll need to check your own Council Laws, but I suspect this would be “parking continuously in an area.” Meaning, if you drive around the block, you have left the area and returned. It would be up to the Council to prove that you didn’t leave the area.

    An “Area” would defined something like, “the length of a road enclosed between two or more of the same permissive parking signs.” So, [3P] – – – – – – – [3P] – – – – – – [3P] – – – – – – [3P] would all be one “Area”. While, [3P] – – – – [3P] [1P] – – – [1P] [3p] – – – – – [3P] would be three areas. Moving from the left 3P area, to the 1P area, or the right 3P, area would be good enough.

    But, you need to check your local Council Laws.

  • Re: running orange lights, I’m reminded of this bit from the movie Starman:

    “Starman: I watched you very carefully. Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast.”

    While I sympathise with some drivers on this, but having been very nearly collected on a couple of occasions by drivers rushing an orange light and actually crossing it on red (with the pedestrian lights showing green), I must say I don’t sympathise very much.

    Your attempt to save two minutes may well be risking somebody else’s life.

    • The things that bugs me thost most about paring over a driveway is that these days the length of driveways is getting smaller and smaller in some areas and you can’t even park a large sedan without it being over….. Interesting enough it was the council in the first place who approve the planss for the house knwong the how short your driveway may be. Therefore this rule should be unenforceable.

    • … How do you provide citation for a geographical set of features? I guess he could go and geotag them with photographic proof..

  • School Zones.
    Lose the time schedule. Should be: “Speed limit = 40 Whilst Lights Flashing”.
    No more guessing especially around holidays. Schools should designate times whenever kids are near the roads, including weekends (ie. sports).
    No school zones for High Schools. By the 6th grade, everyone should be able to cross the road safely. High schools for intellectually disabled kids ok.
    If there are fences and a walkway over the road, no school zone.

  • I once got abused by a parking inspector for putting change into an expired parking meter before the inspector got to it….. I was about 13-14 at the time so obviously not the driver he was asking why i did it and is it my parents car and what not when i said no i did it cause i was being generous he got in a huff. After that day i tended to purposely go around the old style parking machines ( and putting in an extra 10-20c.

    Couldn’t do it nowadays with all the new machines giving tickets and charging through the roof for tickets.

  • I get the shits with speed camera’s in spots that anyone would agree have the wrong limit and then placed at a bottom of a hill.

    I got done for 66 in a 60 zone when it was 2 lanes, practically the autobahn, and the pricks put in right at the bottom of a very steep hill that you would have to stare at your speedo and ride the brakes the whole way down not to go over.

    All that does it make people cynical about law enforcement and road rules rather than save any lives.

    • “you would have to stare at your speedo and ride the brakes”

      Just use your gears. Rather than staying in the highest gear, drop down one (or maybe two) and you’ll find that the engine will easily keep the car within the speed limit if you don’t have a heavy foot.

        • I was under the impression a they can’t count you as speeding if your under 10k and coming down a hill.

          • I asked a magistrate something along these lines a few years ago, her answer was it is reasonable for any driver to expect a car will accelerate down a hill, so the driver should always be ready to slow the vehicle down.

            even the 10%+1 rule is questionable these days, LIDAR if calibrated correctly is accurate to 1% and the ADR rules now give no tolerance for speedometers indicating a lower speed than the vehicle is travelling.

  • I’m gonna guess the extra dollar is so it doesn’t look like they just pulled the number 100 out of their arse.

  • I got done for going through an orange light, and I was carting a 1,000L of water on my ute and was not safe to stop on a wet road. It was clearly still orange when I past the lights, but had turned red while I was driving through.

    I was issued a fine for running a red light, I was so angry and was going to contest it. But the fine and demerit points are exactly the same here in Queensland, so there is no use fighting it.

    • Yes there is…. You’re the operator and providing you know your load was safely stowed and the crossing was within reason then a magistrate is bound by law to favour the driver in regards to capacity within reason, no one else

      • The 1000L of water was safely strapped down, and I have experienced it once where the momentum of the water pushed me through over a set of lights, that’s why I chose to drive through the lights.

        I knew I should have fought it, but I was worried I would have spent all that money to be slapped with the same fine anyway.

    • Why were you traveling so fast? I wish you had fought it, so they could have slapped you with an additional fine for unsafe driving.

      • Hey Henry,

        I was not driving fast at all, I was doing 60km in a 70km zone. But I guess a keyboard warrior like yourself who has never driven a car carrying a moving load (like liquids) before can think you can pull up 2.5 ton on a dime, especially on wet roads.

        (Shaking head while writing this)

        • So maybe you should have been driving at 50? I’ve driven a ute that was 3 ton GVM (yes i know that’s not the same), so i know you’ve got to be really careful – and noticed the difference with breaking etc. Sounds like you rolled the dice on that intersection and lost. At least it was only a fine

          • henry – nice pontificating but completely wrong

            we run multiple vehicles in our family freight business – I couldn’t tell you how many fines we get waived every year (easily a dozen or more) because our larger vehicles have been in a position where, because of the nature of the loads carried, stopping in the required space is more dangerous than entering on the orange

            if its ok for vicroads why do you have an issue? no cracks in the pavement to annoy the council about??

  • The worst fines you get are the ones you receive after your car is stolen.

    The Police who where on the scene minutes after the car was gone put something into the system immediately, while I would be notified of the fines (Red lights and Speed Cameras) via automated process I wouldn’t actually be hit with the financial and point penalties.

    The BCC (Brisbane City Council) on the other hand don’t consider a police report of your car being stolen as sufficient proof you didn’t illegally park. I fought a battle for over a year, I’d prove it via Police Report that the car was stolen, SPER (State Penalty Enforcement Register) would remove it, BCC would put it back in two weeks. Send me a letter of demand and suspend my license via SPER. Who I would call, quote the Police report number, who would remove the fine and restore my license. How bad did this get? it got to the point the operators knew me and no longer needed me to quote the Police report number. Best couple of responses I got was “So this was a training call right?” and “You’re real?”

    BCC eventually won, they garnished my tax return. And the funny part because the original incident happened over 3 months ago I couldn’t get a refund. And I took a photocopy of the police report into them every time they re-instated the fine basically 30 times.

    As for the Car Thief, well he stole his “Friends” Wallets, Drivers Licenses and Bank Cards so when the written off car returned the police knew who to look for. The sting of traffic crimes, thefts and ram raids including a hit and run made sure he didn’t get off lightly.

  • I had RTA people over at my school. I asked them infront of everyone how many demerit points is it for driving through an orange light and everyone looked at me like I am a dumb shit. Then I look it up on the RTA website later and it says 2 points. Why the hell did the RTA person deny it.

  • The thing that drove me bonkers?

    My old apartment was close to UNSW and the students took up all the available street parking.

    I found a park and happily parked my car, then was sick for the next two days.

    Came back to my car and there was TWO $200+ fines for “parking within 10 metres of an intersection” it was a no through road and a minuscule lane way at that

    The worst thing? The parking inspector gave me one ticket, came back 26 hours later and gave me another ticket.

  • I got a horrible one. I looked at the signs, went to pay but it wouldn’t allow me because apparently free for the evening. There was barely any cars or people around the side street that was a decent walk to my restaurant. However when I cam back APPARENTLY I should have known by the complete lack of signage or any evidence that the football game was on. So I was only allowed there for 15mins not the 4 hours that would have been fine the next Saturday. Now if I had seen legions of footy fans or found it hard to park due to excess I might have given it a second thought. But no, this random (and very large area) changes at a moments notice on game day and if you don’t follow the games sucks to be you apparently. I got fined more for not being a fan it felt like. I even TRIED to pay and looked everywhere because I was close to the city and parked right under a sign I read which had nothing about game days on it. You just had to know which streets were randomly allocated.

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