Three simple ways to save yourself a $313 fine
I MUST have looked like a stunned mullet as the female police officer approached my door.
Moments earlier, I had been pulled over by police near Nambour.
I hadn't been speeding, wasn't using my mobile phone, wasn't in a defective vehicle and hadn't gone through a stop sign or a red light.
So when the lights went on the police car behind me, I was stumped.
The female officer politely informs me that my car was unregistered and asked me whether we had moved recently. I said no.
We had actually moved a year earlier - and already received a registration notice to pay for the first six months.
The next one never came.
I apologised to the officer and promised to have the situation rectified as soon as a I got home.
When I got home, I realised what had happened.
Almost a year ago, my father was very sick and my wife's father was admitted into hospital at the same time.
We were also in the middle of moving home.
My wife and I overlooked the transfer of our address details.
We received the first notice of six month renewal after moving into the new house because our mail was being redirected.
Unfortunately, we did not get the next one.
I wrote to the officer in charge of traffic at Maroochydore Police asking that in light of the above that he would consider waiving the $313 fine.
I got an initial letter saying the matter was being reviewed and not to pay the fine until further notice.
I was quite hopeful that the fine would be dropped given my decent traffic record and the fact that I had always paid my registration.
But my hopes were dashed with a letter saying: "From the information available to me, I am of the opinion that this notice was justified in the circumstances. Therefore the infringement notice will not be withdrawn in this instance.''
My initial reaction was anger. Perhaps this is just about revenue raising after all. But that's not what I think of police doing their job, so I put those thoughts aside.
What is clear, however, is that I'm not lone ranger in this.
7 News reported last night that about 50,000 infringements notices have been issued by police in the past year for unregistered vehicles.
Another news outlet reported last November that fines for unregistered vehicles jumped almost 45% in the two years that Queensland registration stickers were scrapped by the Newman government in October 2014.
The changes save the government about $3.5 million in postage and printing costs.
Of course, as friends pointed out, we should have set up automatic payments on rego.
You can also check how long you have got on your registration at any time through the Queensland Rego Check app.
You can also opt-in for registration renewals notice emails and reminders.
And if you think you'll get away with not paying your rego, think again.
There are more than 40 fixed and mobile cameras with Automatic Number Plate Recognition.
And there are at least 60 police cars on the road with same technology.
The new cameras can record number plates across several lanes of traffic.
So don't get caught out like I did.
Check your car is registration and save yourself a $313 (or more) fine.