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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 718 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

technical issues behind them if they have studied and worked in the area. It is also in the interests of the Government to get thorough and considered advice on environmental matters from an expert in this field.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned.


MR OSBORNE (10.41): I present the Motor Traffic (Amendment) Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, there is no more important duty for members of this Assembly than to provide our community with a safe environment in which to live. This amendment to the Motor Traffic Act 1936 is a step in the direction of providing that safer environment. It removes an anomaly from the law governing seatbelts while still incorporating current laws in regards to child restraints. At the moment seatbelts must be worn where they are fitted, but there is nothing in the law to prevent more people being in a car than there are seatbelts. This amendment to the Motor Traffic Act will address this unsafe practice.

I know it is impossible to legislate away stupid behaviour, Mr Speaker. If we remember back to the days when we were all teenagers when we just got our licence - I know that is a lot further back for some of you than for me - and we had some of our friends around, if there was one too many of us to fit into the car we often did not leave our friend behind so shoved him into the back seat and made him fit. The back seat was a jam, with all the commotion, the fuss and the yelling. The distraction this caused to the driver was all a bit much and we were no doubt lucky that we got there in the end. The other side of the spectrum is that this will stop people from overloading their car with five or six kids while they are just running little Johnny to his mate's place around the corner.

Mr Speaker, no matter how quick the trip just around the corner may be, when driving a car there is always a risk to the safety of the passengers in the car, and this safety risk is put into jeopardy when the use of seatbelts is restricted. Studies have shown, Mr Speaker, that the vast majority of accidents occur within a few kilometres from people's homes. The legislation that I am proposing today will at least give the traffic police the power to stop drivers engaging in this unsafe practice of overloading their vehicles.

As we all know, there is a fine line between life and death when driving a motor vehicle. The driver is responsible for the safety of the other passengers in the car and that of other drivers on the road, just as we here in the Assembly have a responsibility to the

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