Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 28 November 2013) . . Page.. 4387 ..
roadside screening test for alcohol or drugs, the only option available to a police officer is to take the person into custody for a breath or oral fluid analysis. It is only when a driver refuses to undertake the analysis that they can be charged with the offence of refusing a breath or oral fluid analysis.
In practice, drivers are unlikely to agree to an analysis if they have already refused to undergo the initial screening. Some drivers readily admit that, for cultural or professional reasons, they would prefer to have a conviction for the offence of refusing a police request as opposed to having a conviction for a drink or drug driving offence. In other cases drivers are merely seeking to delay any test in the belief that they will no longer be over the limit when the test is actually conducted. This amendment will free up police time and resources that could be better targeted at other road safety and enforcement activities.
The final amendment made by this bill is to remove the requirement for police to contact a doctor or authorised nurse practitioner nominated by a person arrested for an alcohol or drug driving offence. Although in practice few drivers exercise this right, it imposes an unreasonable administrative burden on police when it is exercised.
This amendment does not remove a person’s right to seek an independent medical examination but merely removes the obligation on police to locate and contact the nominated medical practitioner and arrange the examination. Instead, the police officer will only have to provide the arrested person with access to a phone to contact their preferred medical practitioner to arrange an examination in the same way that access to a phone is given to arrested people to enable them to seek legal representation. Alternatively, the arrested person may ask the police officer to contact the police-contracted on-call forensic medical officer to undertake the examination. In either case the cost of the examination would be borne by the driver.
These amendments may engage various rights under the Human Rights Act. However, any limitation on these rights is reasonable and proportionate, particularly given the need to protect the community from the dangers posed by drink and drug affected drivers who continue to put not only their safety but the safety of other road users at risk. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.
MADAM SPEAKER: I wish to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of members of the LGBTIQ Community Advisory Council and members of the transgender and intersex advisory group A Gender Agenda. Welcome to your Assembly.
Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2013
Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.