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Tougher penalties for bad drivers

Recent changes to the state’s road traffic laws aim to deter unlawful driving through an immediate and substantial increase in penalties.

Under the influence

Changes to the Road Traffic Act, which came into effect on 1 October 2011, increase the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, particularly for repeat offenders. In most cases, the minimum licence disqualification periods have increased, and the maximum fine has increased by as much as $1,500. For some lesser offences however the minimum fine has decreased slightly, though the courts retain the discretion to impose higher penalties having regard to the circumstances of the offence.

Zero tolerance

Other changes include a new zero tolerance on alcohol for certain drivers. Bus, train and taxi drivers, drivers of vehicles with a gross combined mass of more than 22.5 tonnes and people driving subject to extraordinary licences must have a blood alcohol concentration of zero.

Exceptions apply for driver responding to emergencies, such as volunteer fire-fighters, as the government acknowledges these people aren’t always on duty and could be called to an incident at any time.

Changes now in force

The new laws apply to offences committed on or after 1 October 2011. The previous laws apply to offences committed before this date, even if you were charged after 1 October 2011.

Contact us to learn more about drink driving offences and other traffic related matters.

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