The authority will now review and request additional information from holders in the 10 locked-down postcodes after a surge of licence amendments were lodged as people tried desperately to avoid stage three restrictions for a second time.
VicRoads have clamped down on driver’s licence change-of-address requests in Melbourne’s 10 coronavirus hot spots after locals tried to alter their details to avoid going into lockdown again.
The authority will now review and request additional information from holders in the 10 locked-down postcodes after a surge of licence amendments were lodged as people tried desperately to avoid stage three restrictions for a second time. They came into force at midnight on Thursday.
Drivers are able to change their licence address instantly online and no proof is required, but the service was unavailable on Thursday morning.
Police have this morning set up booze buses on major roads in and out of hotspot suburbs and are performing random checks on drivers and passengers.
On Wednesday the Victorian Department of Transport quickly moved to ensure drivers wanting to change their address were genuine. It will be contacting customers from hotspot postcodes to request additional information to substantiate their change.
“As soon as we were made aware of this issue we immediately put in place measures to ensure any changes of address in priority postcodes were for genuine reasons,” a Department of Transport spokesman said.
“We are reviewing all changes to licence holders’ addresses from priority postcodes since the Premier’s restrictions announcement on Tuesday to ensure anyone who changed their address did so because it was necessary.
“We all have a part to play in helping slow the spread in Victoria. Following the rules will help reduce transmission and keep all Victorians safe.”
It is an offence for anyone to falsify official documents or lie to Victoria Police about their name or address when asked. Anyone lying or withholding information from police about their name or place of residence faces a maximum fine of up to $825.
In the year to March 2020 there were 1020 recorded offences of people stating false information in Victoria, according to the Crime Statistics Agency.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said people faced serious offences if they made or used a false document.
“It’s an indictable offence, it’s in the Crimes Act, you can go to jail for 10 years for making or using a false document,” he said.
“So to get out of staying at home for a couple of weeks, if that’s what you’re thinking about, I’d seriously urge you not to because we take that very seriously and you could have a detective knocking on your door saying why did you do this.”
The VicRoads change of address online service was back up and running by Thursday afternoon.
The Department of Transport receives on average about 3000 licence change of addresses per day, with more than 1.1 million facilitated in the 2018-19 financial year. They didn’t respond to questions asking how many were received on Wednesday.
The department said allowing customers to change their address online through myVicRoads had made it significantly easier and quicker for customers to update their details when it suits them, rather than doing it over the phone or in person at a customer service centre.