Police Minister John Kobelke today introduced to Parliament the legislation to amend anti-hoon laws and reckless driving penalties.
The Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2008 follows the Premier’s February announcement of road safety initiatives and penalties following the horror start to the 2008 State road toll.
Mr Kobelke said in addition to the publicised anti-hoon and reckless driving penalties, the State Government had brought forward the legislation to penalise unauthorised motorists.
The legislative changes follow the Governments earlier regulatory changes to penalties for speeding drivers, people not wearing seatbelts and driving while using hand-held mobile phones, which came into effect on March 30.
“Driving comes with responsibilities and all WA road users need to ensure that their actions are not endangering themselves, their passengers or other road users by adhering to the laws,” the Minister said.
“What may appear to be a brief moment of fun for some, can lead to life-long, if not fatal consequences for those breaking the law or worse still, innocent people who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Drivers who choose to abide by the law have nothing to fear from these new penalties.”
A total of 2,274 drivers have had their vehicles impounded under the State’s current hoon laws, which were introduced in September 2004 and further expanded in 2007. So far in 2008, some 356 vehicles have been impounded for 48 hours.
“Unfortunately, there are people who continue to fail to take responsibility for their own actions and endanger the lives of themselves, their passengers and other road users.”
The Government’s Bill increases the period that police may impound a vehicle from 48 hours to seven days for a first hoon offence and to 28 days for a second and subsequent offence.
The legislation also extends the definition of road rage circumstances so that events that occurring on places other than a road, such as carparks and private property, are included.
Court imposed fines for reckless driving will increase from $1,000 to $2,000 for a first offence, from $1,200 to $3,000 for a second offence and from $2,400 to $4,000 for any subsequent offence.
The bill expands the range of vehicle impounding offences to include driving:
· without authorisation following conviction and disqualification by a court;
· when the DPI Director General has refused to issue or renew a driver’s licence or has suspended or cancelled a licence;
· following the accumulation of excessive demerit points; or
· in contravention of an extraordinary driver’s licence conditions.
“These changes should be a strong warning to all WA road users that there are responsibilities directly connected to driving and they must adhere to them,” Mr Kobelke said.
“I urge both the Liberal and National parties to prove they are tough on hoons and pass this legislation without delay.”
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