A mother fined “unfairly” for the way her daughter wore her seat belt took her fight to court – and won.
Louise Hess, of Gold Coast, was fined $413 and given three demerit points for 18 months when her child, 14, was filmed with his arm out of the seat belt.
Ms. Hess said a health issue made it uncomfortable for her daughter to wear a seat belt properly and she was prepared to fight in court.
She also said she could not reasonably be expected to monitor her child’s seat belt position while driving.
“You check your kids and everyone in the car before you start driving, but I didn’t think I would have to constantly monitor the position of a seat belt’s webbing,” she said. 7News.
A mother (pictured left) was so furious at an ‘unfair’ fine over the way her daughter (right) wore her seat belt that she took the Department of Transport and Main Roads to court – and she won.
“It’s not something you think you need to look into.”
The photo accompanying the ticket showed the seat belt strap under the child’s arm, rather than over her shoulder, as she sat in the front passenger seat.
The fine was imposed for “driving with an unrestrained front passenger”.
Although Ms. Hess admitted that the seat belt was not legally worn correctly, she considered the fine to be an “increase in revenue.”
“I started fighting as soon as I received the fine,” she said.
“I’m supposed to turn my head and check the position of that shoulder strap – I thought that was unfair.”
“I’m a little stubborn and I wasn’t going to let them win this one.
“I will pay a fine if I am caught speeding or if my dog is not on a leash. Yeah, that’s right. But that’s not fair.
The case was due to be heard at Southport Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, but the Department of Transport suddenly abandoned its defense that morning, handing Ms Hess victory.
But criminal attorney Bill Potts said this case should make people feel free to break state seat belt laws.
While Louise Hess (pictured) admitted the seat belt was not legally worn correctly, she believed the fine was “generating revenue”.
“People should obey this law,” he said. “Parents, in particular, have an obligation to ensure that their children and passengers wear their seat belts correctly at all times.”
He said contesting traffic fines in court can be costly and time-consuming, but people who believe they have been wrongly fined can write to the Department for Transport to contest it.
“A magistrate may well look at your personal circumstances and either find you not guilty or, even if they find you guilty, impose a lesser fine,” Mr Potts said.
Or it could mean, as in Ms. Hess’s case, that the department drops the case on the day it was supposed to be heard in court.
READ MORE: Cop Dad Gets Huge $2,156 Fine After Daughter, 13, Makes Same Seat Belt Mistake Twice In Two Weeks
A father was left shocked after receiving a massive penalty for his daughter wearing her seat belt incorrectly not once, but twice in two weeks.