Nurse fined for unlocked car while helping seriously ill man

A NAMBOUR nurse caring for a seriously ill patient, has been fined for leaving his car unlocked and the windows down, even though he did it to protect an oxygen tank in his boot from overheating and exploding.

Mark Vaughan remained in sight of the car as he stepped away to help his patient, who was hooked up to his own oxygen tank, use a nearby ATM.

"I just want to know where my duty of care lies. Do I blow up half of Woombye or do I leave the windows down?" Mr Vaughan said outside Nambour Magistrates Court.

Police patrolling the Woombye main street on a busy morning last June fined him $44 for leaving his car unlocked.

He was fined an additional $44 for parking in a disabled space without a visible disabled sticker.

The laws aim to help reduce opportunistic thefts from cars and the associated time-consuming investigations.

Mr Vaughan paid the fines but the Department of Transport rejected his payment for failing to lock his car due to his claim of innocence.

Instead, he faced Nambour Magistrates Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to breaking the law, even though he argued he had a good reason for doing it.

"I don't want to say I'm guilty when I was just trying to do the right thing," Mr Vaughan said outside court.

"What would have happened to me if the tank would have blown up, with all the cars around me and people walking around?"

It was the second such fine he received within months.

"(The officer said,) 'I know you're a nurse and you're looking after your patient, but you've got to lock your car'," Mr Vaughan said.

Magistrate Barry Barrett accepted Mr Vaughan's plea, but issued no further penalty and ordered no conviction.


You can get fined for:

  • Failing to give way to horses
  • Failing to lock your car if you are 3m or more away from it
  • Driving with a pet on your lap
  • Faulty number plate light
  • Fog lights can be used only in fog, rain or dust
  • Parking within 3m of post box
  • Parking within 1m of fire hydrant


  • Cutting in on a funeral procession
  • You must stop at train crossing if you have flammable liquids like paint, a barbecue gas bottle, a lighter or batteries in your car

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