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The “New” Drink Driving Laws

By 17 May 2011 14

What do they mean to you? If you don’t drink and drive, they will be seen as the government attempting to stop a plague that is gripping the City of Canberra.

In the past few months there have been a number of media releases from ACT Policing relating to drink driving. It was plain to see that a vast number of people caught are people who are repeat offenders.

Part of the new laws is an Immediate Suspension Notice (ISN). This will be issued on the spot by Police, if;

- You are the holder of a full licence and you have a breath analysis reading of higher                then .100;

- or if you are the holder of a special licence (P Plater, L Plater, Taxi, Probationary                    etc.) and you have a reading of .050 or higher.

This can be seen as a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing as you lose your right drive immediately, if you are caught drink driving again before you go to court you will also be charged with driving while suspended, a bad thing, because you lose your licence then and there.

The ISN immediately suspends your licence for a period of 90 days, if you feel that you have reason to, you can apply to a magistrate to have a stay put onto your ISN. This stops the suspension, but, there is always a but, if you are found guilty then your licence is suspended at the end of the matter.  Where as if you do not put a stay on the ISN and you are found guilty, the time your licence has been suspended is taken into account when sentencing occurs.

If you are an interstate driver in the ACT, your right to drive in the ACT is suspended.

The law has made it a lot harder for repeat offenders to be granted a restricted drivers licence. Lets say you are a Taxi driver and sole income provider for your family, if you are caught drinking when you are younger, then making a mistake and being caught again some 20 years later, in this scenario you are not classed as a repeat offender under the act. If you are the same Taxi driver and you are caught twice within 5 years, that is when you are classed as a repeat offender.

Magistrates still have the power to use their discretion in differing circumstances, they still follow the same criteria when they are sentencing people for the offence.

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14 Responses to The “New” Drink Driving Laws
#1
Spideydog11:21 am, 17 May 11

I agree. It brings us in line with other jurisdictions. I think we are one of the few, if not the only one that allows “restricted licence’s”

ISN’s are also a good thing. For those that do the morally right thing and accept they had done the wrong thing, it is a way of starting a licence suspension/disqualification early to get their licence back earlier. This was never an option before and drivers had to wait often months before their case was heard to only then have the disqualification period start after that time. In any other case, well, it removes drink drivers from our roads. You will only get an ISN if there is substantial proof of committing the offence, ie Drager test ……

Additionally, u couldn’t be more fair when if you have been convicted as a drink driver and then not done again after a 5 year period, your still classed as a first offender.

Drink driving is not a simple mistake, its a decision. You make the wrong decision, pay the price and hopefully not at the cost of someone’s loved one.

#2
Tooks11:34 am, 17 May 11

The law has made it a lot harder for repeat offenders to be granted a restricted drivers licence. Lets say you are a Taxi driver and sole income provider for your family, if you are caught drinking when you are younger, then making a mistake and being caught again some 20 years later, in this scenario you are not classed as a repeat offender under the act. If you are the same Taxi driver and you are caught twice within 5 years, that is when you are classed as a repeat offender.

It’s my understanding of the new legislation that the five year rule no longer exists. So if you are a repeat offender any time from the moment the new laws came in (Dec 2010) to any time in the future (5,10, 20 years etc) then you are a repeat offender.

#3
buzz81911:44 am, 17 May 11

Tooks said :

The law has made it a lot harder for repeat offenders to be granted a restricted drivers licence. Lets say you are a Taxi driver and sole income provider for your family, if you are caught drinking when you are younger, then making a mistake and being caught again some 20 years later, in this scenario you are not classed as a repeat offender under the act. If you are the same Taxi driver and you are caught twice within 5 years, that is when you are classed as a repeat offender.

It’s my understanding of the new legislation that the five year rule no longer exists. So if you are a repeat offender any time from the moment the new laws came in (Dec 2010) to any time in the future (5,10, 20 years etc) then you are a repeat offender.

You know I went through the relevant acts last night looking for that, just found it on the Stanhopes media release (I should have googled it).

But yes, Roads and Traffic Act does state;

(2) A person who is convicted or found guilty of a disqualifying offence
is a repeat offender in relation to the offence if—
(a) the person has been convicted or found guilty of a relevant
offence committed at any time before the disqualifying offence
was committed (whether or not the person had been convicted
or found guilty of the relevant offence when the person
committed the disqualifying offence); or
(b) the person is convicted or found guilty of 1 or more relevant
offences concurrently with being convicted or found guilty of
the disqualifying offence, and 1 or more of the relevant
offences were committed before the disqualifying offence.
(3) However, a person who is convicted or found guilty of a
disqualifying offence that was committed before the commencement
of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Legislation Amendment
Act 2010, section 8 is a repeat offender in relation to the offence
only if—
(a) the person has been convicted or found guilty of a relevant
offence within 5 years before being convicted or found guilty
of the disqualifying offence; or
(b) the person is convicted or found guilty of 1 or more relevant
offences concurrently with being convicted or found guilty of
the disqualifying offence, and 1 or more of the relevant
offences were committed before the disqualifying offence.
(4) Subsection (3) and this subsection expire 5 years after the day this
section commences.

Thanks for that Tooks.

#4
Tooks11:50 am, 17 May 11

No worries, buzz. I think it’s much better than the old 5 year rule.

#5
Spideydog12:16 pm, 17 May 11

Tooks said :

It’s my understanding of the new legislation that the five year rule no longer exists. So if you are a repeat offender any time from the moment the new laws came in (Dec 2010) to any time in the future (5,10, 20 years etc) then you are a repeat offender.

Well there u go ;)

#6
Cheap9:23 pm, 18 May 11

I think it is bullshit that full licences and P-plate licences are held to different standards regarding BAC (P-platers are subject to 0.00). I am yet to hear any decent arguments for why this rule should exist. Everyone bleats on about full licence holders being “more experienced” but how exactly does experience come into it?

#7
MWF10:04 pm, 18 May 11

Cheap said :

I think it is bullshit that full licences and P-plate licences are held to different standards regarding BAC (P-platers are subject to 0.00). I am yet to hear any decent arguments for why this rule should exist. Everyone bleats on about full licence holders being “more experienced” but how exactly does experience come into it?

It could be the fact that drunken male drivers on P plates tend to kill themselves, their friends and random strangers a tad more than other groups of people in our society?

#8
Punter11:48 pm, 18 May 11

Cheap said :

I think it is bullshit that full licences and P-plate licences are held to different standards regarding BAC (P-platers are subject to 0.00). I am yet to hear any decent arguments for why this rule should exist. Everyone bleats on about full licence holders being “more experienced” but how exactly does experience come into it?

What’s your beef Cheap, are you a provisional licence holder? I remember hearing somewhere, sometime, someone with knowledge on the subject making a point about maturity being a big reason for provisional restrictions being in place, including BAC restrictions. A quick google of the subject tends to confirm this. I guess the idea is people are afforded the increased BAC limit when they reach an age whereby they can make a mature decision about drinking and driving. I disagree the difference in BAC limits is bullshit, you can find plenty of ‘decent arguements’ for the difference in BAC limits through your friendly internet search engine without having to wait to hear them.

#9
cleo1:13 am, 19 May 11

So glad their getting stricter on these drivers.

#10
Innovation1:42 pm, 19 May 11

Cheap #6 – I’m pretty sure that P platers have a different BAC limit for a reason. I know I’m probably in the minority but I would like to see even stricter rules for P platers such as:
- extend P plates to three years or age 25 whichever occurs last (I’m pretty sure there is evidence out there that males, at least, don’t develop proper judgement skills until that age);
- limit P platers (at least for the first year) to one passenger less than age 25. I know this conflicts with the need for a designated driver at nights but I’ve seen too many P platers smash after being egged on or showing off to their friends.
- limit P platers to 10km/h below the posted speed limit. It would teach them that it is Ok for other cars to overtake them and any speeding offence would be more easily identified.
- limit P platers to cars with a reduced engine size or power to weight (ie like motorbikes).

How do you like them apples?

#11
angrymonkey3:22 pm, 19 May 11

cleo said :

So glad their getting stricter on these drivers.

Absolutely – but unfortunately when the drunk driver who loses his/her licence completely ignore the restrictions and then gets caught out (driving with a suspended licence), nothing happens.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/accused-driver-flouted-road-rule-in-overtaking-cyclist-court-told/2168079.aspx

This was in court yesterday – the bogan deads*** Rhys Wilkins is serving a 3 year suspension for DUI and negligent driving charges but that didn’t stop him from driving like a maniac and knocking this fellow off his bike and killing him.

But don’t fret, thanks to the incompetence of the ACT Police Accident Investigation team all evidence highlighting his idiotic driving was ruled inadmissible so he is likely to be back terrorising Tuggeranong soon – but that is another RA story altogether.

Although he is contesting the negligent driving charge, he pled guilty to all other charges associated with his crash (driving while disqualified, unregistered vehicle) – it will be interesting to see what sentence he gets noting he was already suspended for DUI… and how long he sticks to his new and completely toothless restrictions…

#12
Tooks4:16 pm, 19 May 11

But don’t fret, thanks to the incompetence of the ACT Police Accident Investigation team all evidence highlighting his idiotic driving was ruled inadmissible so he is likely to be back terrorising Tuggeranong soon – but that is another RA story altogether.

Just curious as to where you got that information? The story linked mentioned this (below) but doesn’t say what the report contains or why it was inadmissable:

Mr Kukulies-Smith convinced the magistrate earlier in the hearing to rule a report prepared by ACT Policing’s Crash Investigation and Reconstruction Team was inadmissible.

#13
buzz8195:22 pm, 19 May 11

Tooks said :

But don’t fret, thanks to the incompetence of the ACT Police Accident Investigation team all evidence highlighting his idiotic driving was ruled inadmissible so he is likely to be back terrorising Tuggeranong soon – but that is another RA story altogether.

Just curious as to where you got that information? The story linked mentioned this (below) but doesn’t say what the report contains or why it was inadmissable:

Mr Kukulies-Smith convinced the magistrate earlier in the hearing to rule a report prepared by ACT Policing’s Crash Investigation and Reconstruction Team was inadmissible.

I was thinking the same thing?

#14
Sleaz2745:38 pm, 19 May 11

#10 Innovation, mate I agree.

I personally find it strange that the answer to motorcycle fatalities is more restrictions (power/weight, pillions, BAC) and more TRAINING.

The answer to other road deaths is speed cameras, police state enforcement (see Vic), continual speed limit reductions, more and lower threshold drug/alcohol testing, REVenue raising.

I cringe when I see P plates on WRXs or EVOs. It’d be like sticking a learner on an R1/Hayabusa and saying “yeah mate you weaved through some cones off you go now. Oh by the way here’s a tag to keep on you – they’ll need it at the morgue.”

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