The State Government’s legislation to amend anti-hoon laws and reckless driving penalties has passed today through the Legislative Assembly.
Police Minister John Kobelke said the Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2008 was an important initiative in the Government’s crackdown on hoons and reckless driving, and its prioritisation in the parliament reflected the serious nature of the new penalties.
“When the State Government announced its intention to crack down on hoons in February, we stated then that we would act swiftly to move this legislation through the parliament and today’s progress is evidence of that,” Mr Kobelke said.
The Government’s legislation, which progressed without amendment, 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.
Additionally, the possible 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 legislation has also expanded the definition of road rage circumstances so that events that occur on places other than a road, such as private property or carparks are also included.
“It doesn’t matter how many times we highlight the dangers of reckless driving and hoon behaviour, there are people who continue to ignore the message. These laws will hopefully emphasise the seriousness of what they are doing,” the Minister said.
The range of vehicle impounding offences are expanded to include driving without a licence:
· following conviction and disqualification by a court;
· when the Department for Planning and Infrastructure 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.
The legislation follows 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 those who choose to abide by the law have nothing to fear from these new penalties,” Mr Kobelke said.
“The Government will be giving this legislation a priority in the Legislative Council and I urge the Liberals, Greens and National parties not to delay this important legislation.”
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