Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 6 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 1794..
MR KAINE (continuing):
The overall effect was that many people were unable to be prosecuted because of the lapse of time. With these amendments, this can no longer happen. The amendments will make it compulsory for medical staff at a hospital to take a blood sample from any person aged 15 years or more, if the police have reasonable cause to believe that they may have contributed to a traffic accident. These may include drivers of motor vehicles, injured pedestrians, bicycle riders and horse riders.
As well as aligning ACT laws with the laws of New South Wales, these amendments are a further step toward national uniformity in laws dealing with drink-driving issues. To remain consistent with New South Wales, interstate people transferred to a Canberra hospital as a result of a traffic accident will also have blood samples taken. Blood analysis carried out in the ACT will be accepted in a New South Wales court. This will also apply to an ACT resident transferred to a New South Wales hospital who has a blood sample taken and analysed. That analysis will be acceptable for prosecution purposes in the ACT courts.
The amendments provide for the taking of both blood and body samples, as required. I would like to point out that body samples such as urine provide analysts with a cost-efficient and effective screening method. Savings in complex and expensive blood analysis tests can be made, particularly when checking for drugs. These amendments are a clear indication of this Government's commitment to improved road safety in the ACT. We intend to continue to demonstrate this commitment with practical and effective legislation. These amendments will also ensure that people who cause accidents because they are drink- or drug-impaired must expect to have their day in court. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Whitecross) adjourned.
MR KAINE (Minister for Urban Services) (10.47): Mr Speaker, I present the Traffic (Amendment) Bill 1997, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR KAINE: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
The Motor Traffic (Alcohol and Drugs) (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1997 provided for the compulsory blood sampling of certain people who the police believe may have contributed to a traffic accident. This includes non-motorised traffic such as pedestrians, bicyclists, horse-drawn vehicles and so on. Not all traffic accidents are caused by people driving motor vehicles. The Traffic Act 1937 has been amended to allow the same compulsory blood sampling provisions to apply to people not driving a motor vehicle but who the police believe may have contributed to the cause of a traffic accident. Pedestrians, bicyclists and others can cause accidents if adversely affected by alcohol or drugs.