This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit legalaid.vic.gov.au, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Nominating another driver in relation to a fine

Options people have if they have been fined in Victoria.

Some infringement notices (fines) may be issued to the registered operator (owner) of a vehicle if the driver is not known. This is called operator onus. It means that the operator (usually the owner) of a vehicle is deemed responsible for offences that the vehicle is alleged to have been involved in unless they can nominate another person who was driving at the time.

This routinely happens when parking fines are issued or where an offence is detected by an automatic device, such as a speed camera, transit lane camera offence or failure to pay a road toll. A person can nominate another driver if:

  • they nominate the person who was driving
  • they had sold the vehicle before the offences happened, or
  • they don't know who was driving the vehicle at the time.

See s. 84BE—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

A vehicle owner who is a victim of family violence may apply to the Director of Fines Victoria ('director') if they were fined under an operator onus offence and they are too fearful to nominate the driver.

See Family violence and fines.

These reasons are categorised under the following statements:

  • illegal user statement (vehicle or number plates stolen at the time of the offence)
  • known user statement (statement with enough information to identify the driver)
  • sold vehicle statement
  • unknown user statement (impossible to know who was driving), or
  • tolling nomination statement (unregistered vehicle using toll road).

Note: Although they are categorised as separate statements, all of these statements are contained within a single form.

See s. 84BE(1)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

How to nominate another driver

Information to include

An operator (owner) may write a nomination statement to name the person who is responsible for a fine. This nomination statement must also include:

  • person's name
  • current home address
  • date of birth or licence/permit number (and if so, the name of the Authority and jurisdiction that issued the licence or permit, and
  • taxi accreditation number (if applicable)

of the person responsible. The nomination statement must be sent to the agency that issued the fine.

If the owner wants to nominate a company, they must include the full name, address and Australian company number (ACN).

The owner will also need to give reasons for making the nomination.

If all of these details are given, this will be deemed an effective nomination statement.

See s. 84BE—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

If information is missing

The agency may accept a nomination statement even if some of the required information is missing, as long as the agency is satisfied that there is enough information to identify and locate the nominated person.

See s. 84BE(4)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Unknown user statements

An enforcement agency may accept a statement if satisfied that the person was not driving at the time of the offence and their reasons were adequate and explain why the person could not know the identity of the person who was driving at the time. The Act makes it clear that a failure to keep proper records is not an adequate reason unless this failure was due to exceptional circumstances.

See ss. 84E(5A), (5B)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Nominating a company

A driver can also nominate a company.. The nominating driver must provide the company's full name and current address and (where applicable) its Australian Company Number.

See s. 84BE(2)(b)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Different ways of nominating

The nomination statement is written on the back of most infringement notices. If it is not there, ask the agency that issued the fine to send a copy.

The driver also has the option of making a statutory declaration.

The operator may also send a nomination statement if their vehicle (or vehicle number plates) were stolen at the time of the offence. They may also nominate if they don't know who the driver was and could not be expected to know.

The person can nominate another driver online by going to the Fines Victoria website. They will need to have their fine obligation number to do this.

See Fines Victoria—Fines—Nominate.

Exceptions

If vehicle is a taxi

A person who owns a taxi is not able to avoid an infringement by claiming they do not know who was driving at the time.

See s. 84BE (1C), (1)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Tolling offences

A tolling offence is an offence of driving an unregistered vehicle without a valid ticket on CityLink or Eastlink toll roads. A person who was nominated by a vehicle operator cannot make an unknown user statement in relation to a tolling offence.

See ss. 84BB, 84BE(1A)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and s. 73(1)—Melbourne City Link Act 1995 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and s. 204(1)—Eastlink Project Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Stolen vehicle

If the vehicle was stolen the operator will need to provide evidence. It may be hard to prove that the vehicle was stolen if it was not reported to the police.

Vehicle sold to another person

When a registered vehicle is sold privately it is the buyer's responsibility to register the transfer of a vehicle within 14 days of sale. If this is not done the former owner (as the registered owner) may receive any fines that vehicle has been involved in. The former owner can give the name and address of the buyer in their nomination statement.

If the former owner does not remember who they sold the vehicle to they will have to report the matter to the police and keep a note of the police report number. They will also have to notify VicRoads, keeping a record of the date they called and the person they spoke to. They can then fill out a driver nomination statement with a statutory declaration that sets out the circumstances, including all of the steps they have taken to change the vehicle registration and including all of the information they can about the vehicle buyer.

See Consumer and debt—Buying and selling—Private sale of a motor vehicle.

Acceptance by the agency

The issuing agency has to accept the nomination before the fine to the owner is withdrawn. If the agency accepts the nomination statement they must write to the applicant saying whether or not they accept the nomination statement. If they do not send this notice within the time limit the person who sent the nomination statement can presume that the agency has accepted their nomination.

Once accepted, the original infringement notice will be withdrawn and the issuing agency will send an infringement notice to the nominated driver.

See s. 84BE(6), (7)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Penalty for false information

The maximum penalty for making a false statement under the Road Safety Act 1986 is 60 penalty units (or 120 penalty units for a company).

Making a false declaration is a more serious offence as it must be dealt with under the law of perjury.

See s. 84BI—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and Value of penalty units.

Time limits

Nomination of another driver should be made to the relevant agency before the due date that is specified on the infringement notice. This is normally within 21 days of becoming aware of the infringement notice. It is important to make the nomination as soon as possible to avoid fees being added to the fine.

If the agency accepts the nomination, the nominated driver becomes liable for the fine. The agency has 12 months from the date that it changes the fine to begin court action against the nominated driver.

See ss. 84BE, 84BF, 84BG—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and r. 75—Road Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What if the time limit for nomination has expired?

The vehicle operator (usually owner) still has rights if the time limit has expired, and the fine has reached the enforcement order stage or the enforcement warrant stage as long as the warrant has not been enforced and executed. If a fine is at the enforcement stage the first question to ask the caller is 'When did they first find out about the offence?'.

This avenue is not open to the person if they failed to update their residential address with VicRoads.

See Person unaware.

Apply for enforcement review

The owner can still apply to the director for an enforcement review on the basis that they were not the driver and can nominate the driver, provided that their details were up to date with VicRoads.

A driver cannot apply to nominate another driver at the enforcement review stage if:

  • the driver has already applied to nominate another driver
  • the driver has applied for an extension of time to deal with a notice, where they were not personally served
  • the driver did not apply within 14 days of becoming aware of the fine
  • the driver did not update their authorised address within 14 days of moving.

The forms and sample guide are available from Fines Victoria.

See s. 32(1)(d), 33(3)—Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What if the agency or director rejects the nomination?

If the agency does not accept a nomination (for example, if the driver who is nominated denies they were driving the vehicle) liability will revert to the registered operator, usually the owner of the vehicle. The agency then has another 6 months to lodge the infringement. The time starts from the date the agency cancels the driver nomination.

See ss. 55(h), (ha)—Infringements Act 2006 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and ss. 32, 38, 39(1A)—Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Demerit points

Demerit points will be attributed to the operator of the vehicle (usually the owner) unless the infringement was personally served.

For example, if an owner loans their vehicle to a relative who is caught on camera speeding. If the owner does not nominate the driver, but just pays the fine, any demerit points that are attributed to the offence will be added to the owner's driver licence because they are the registered owner.

VicRoads adds demerit points based on information that is supplied by the court or by the director. If a driver has demerit points added to their licence and then nominates another driver, VicRoads will be notified about this once the director accepts the driver nomination. VicRoads can then revoke the demerit points offence from the driver's licence record. VicRoads does this within 72 hours of being notified.

If these demerit points had caused a demerit point suspension, or an extension of the demerit point period, VicRoads will notify the vehicle operator. The demerit point suspension or extension will be revoked. The person can call VicRoads to check that this has been done.

More information

Legislation

Infringements Act 2006 (Vic)

  • s. 22—application for internal review
  • s. 25(5)—if agency accepts person was not aware, person then has 21 days to nominate another driver

See Infringements Act 2006 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)

  • s. 31(2)—no enforcement review where person has already asked for an extension of time
  • s. 32(1)(d)—can apply for enforcement review on grounds that was not aware of the fine
  • s. 38—if successful in application on ground of 'person unaware' enforcement cancelled and sent back to the agency
  • s. 39—extended period for commencing proceeding for the offence

See Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Magistrates' Court Act 1989 (Vic)

  • s. 26(4)—time limit for bringing actions for summary offences

See Magistrates' Court Act 1989 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 67—extension of time if no actual notice for certain traffic infringements
  • s. 84BE—use of effective statement to avoid liability
  • s. 84BI—offence to provide false or misleading information
  • s. 84BG—proceedings against nominated persons
  • s. 89B—extension of time if no actual notice

See Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic)

  • s. 7—time limits for filing a charge sheet

See Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • r. 68—licence or permit holder must notify VicRoads within 14 days of change to their personal particulars, including their name or address or medical condition

See Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • r. 75—prescribed period for making statements in relation to operator onus offences

See Road Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Melbourne City Link Act 1995 (Vic)

  • s. 73(1)—offence to drive unregistered vehicle in toll zone

See Melbourne City Link Act 1995 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Eastlink Project Act 2004 (Vic)

  • 204(1)—offence to drive an unregistered vehicle in a toll zone

See Eastlink Project Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Fines

This Victorian government site has information about fines and the infringement system:

Justice Connect—Homeless Law in Practice

The Justice Connect Homeless law legal centre also has useful information about nominating another driver.

See Homeless Law in Practice—Infringements—Nominating another driver(opens in a new window).

Reference

Information about demerit point suspension and driver nomination supplied by Angela from VicRoads on 5/7/2016.

Updated