New careless driving laws now in force
Licence disqualification will now only start after a prison term is served
Blood alcohol limit imposed on supervisors of L-plater drivers
The Liberal National Government's changes to the Road Traffic Act to make Western Australia's roads safer and impose punishments which are more in line with community expectations and came into effect on November 28 this year, are now being enforced ahead of summer holidays.
Deputy Premier and Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey said a new offence of careless driving causing death, grievous bodily harm and bodily harm was now in force and would give courts the ability to jail people whose careless driving resulted in death or serious injury.
"Previously the maximum penalty for careless driving where a person was killed or seriously injured was a $600 fine, which was completely inadequate and not in line with community expectations," Ms Harvey said.
"The lack of an adequate penalty for this offence had been expressed by the State Coroner, a senior magistrate and the general public."
The maximum penalty for the new offence would be three years in prison or a fine of up to $36,000.
The Deputy Premier said the Road Traffic Act changes also meant a person sent to prison for a driving offence could now only serve their licence disqualification after they were released.
"The community expects penalties to have an impact and this confirms the State Government's stance that a driver's licence is a privilege, not a right," she said.
Another anomaly in the Road Traffic Act has been addressed with supervisors of learner drivers now limited to a blood alcohol content below 0.05.
"This change brings Western Australia into line with the rest of Australia and is very much a common sense move that had been ignored, until it was uncovered by this Government," Ms Harvey said.
"This package of amendments sends a clear message to the community that road safety is a serious issue for the Government and the community."
Previously the penalty of careless driving, even when a person was killed, was a maximum of $600
The rate of fatalities in WA has reduced 34% between 2008 and 2015
Deputy Premier and Road Safety Minister's office - 6552 5900