A Safer Future on the Roads
A significant stride toward safer roads and enhanced law enforcement has been achieved by the Government with the successful passage of the Land Transport (Road Safety) Amendment Bill, solidifying its commitment to curbing incidents involving fleeing drivers.
Prioritizing Public Safety
Associate Transport Minister Damien O’Connor highlighted the imperative of ensuring public safety in the face of risky driving behaviors.
“The lives of innocent people are at risk when individuals refuse to stop for Police. To address this unsafe behavior, we are empowering Police with new authorities to respond to fleeing drivers who pose a danger to themselves and the public,”
Strengthening Law Enforcement
The freshly enacted law introduces a series of pivotal measures aimed at bolstering law enforcement’s capacity to handle the issue effectively. The key provisions of the new law encompass:
Granting Police the authority to seize and impound a vehicle for an extended period of six months if it fails to stop or remain stationary—an increase from the previous 28 days. Empowering Police with the ability to seize and impound a vehicle for up to 28 days if the registered owner fails to provide crucial information regarding a fleeing driver.
This action becomes necessary to preemptively avert a potential threat to road safety. Extending the duration of license disqualification from 12 months to a range spanning between 12 and 24 months following a second conviction for failing to stop.
Introducing a novel sentencing alternative that permits Courts to order the forfeiture of a vehicle upon conviction for a failing to stop the offense, effectively ensuring that the offender does not profit from the vehicle’s sale.
Holding Offenders Accountable
“Through these amendments, drivers can now face extended disqualification periods or even permanent vehicle forfeiture. In cases where vehicle owners intentionally withhold information that could aid Police in identifying a different driver who fled using the owner’s vehicle, the owner can also face vehicle impoundment,”
Mitigating High-Risk Incidents
Fleeing drivers often engage in reckless driving or exceed speed limits with abandon. Their motivations may range from evading sobriety checkpoints to escaping crime scenes. These scenarios inherently pose substantial risks to all parties involved.
According to O’Connor,
“These situations are fraught with risk for all parties involved, and this legislation is poised to mitigate their frequency.”
Unified Efforts for Safer Roads
In May, the Police unveiled a revamped Fleeing Driver Policy, aimed at recalibrating the balance between law enforcement and public safety concerns while ensuring the well-being of the community and Police personnel.
“We are equipping our Police force with the requisite resources, legislation, and authority to ensure that these hazardous drivers are effectively removed from our roads,”
asserted Police Minister Ginny Andersen, underscoring the comprehensive approach that is underway.
Reinforcing Law Enforcement Measures
The newly introduced legislative provisions, particularly those enabling Police to identify drivers after an incident, seamlessly align with the Police’s Fleeing Driver Policy. This cohesive strategy underscores that fleeing drivers, vehicle owners, or individuals obstructing Police operations will face severe repercussions.
“The new enforcement tools outlined in the legislation, especially those facilitating the identification of drivers post-incident, will bolster the effectiveness of the Police’s Fleeing Driver Policy. These additional measures unequivocally convey that individuals evading the law, obstructing Police, or owning the involved vehicles will confront grave consequences,”
Minister Andersen concluded.