Page 1809 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 May 2013

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Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 (No 2)

Ms Burch, on behalf of Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Disability, Children and Young People, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Women, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (10.37): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 (No 2). This bill establishes an interlock program for the ACT to complement the existing range of legislative, law enforcement and education measures to address drink driving. An alcohol ignition interlock device is essentially a breath test device that is connected to the ignition of a motor vehicle that prevents it from starting or continuing to operate if the driver has alcohol present in his or her breath. An interlock can be fitted to almost any type of motor vehicle.

The bill aims to reduce the road safety risk posed by drink drivers to themselves and other road users by preventing the driver from operating a vehicle fitted with an interlock device if the device detects the presence of alcohol on the driver’s breath. A vehicle fitted with an interlock device will not start unless the person trying to start it provides a breath sample and is sober.

Drink driving continues to affect our community. It can ruin lives indiscriminately. Where it results in injury or harm, it can impose substantial economic and social costs on everyone involved.

Drink driving remains a major contributor to fatalities and injury on Australian roads. Over one in five drivers and riders killed nationally have a blood alcohol level that exceeds the legal limit. And the harm caused by drink drivers is not limited to themselves; it extends to other road users, their families and the broader community.

Despite a range of legislative reforms introduced in 2010, ongoing policing and enforcement activity and numerous public awareness initiatives, a proportion of drivers continue to drink and drive, notwithstanding the clear safety risks to themselves and others.

In the 12 months to the end of March 2013, almost 1,350 people in the ACT failed a random roadside breath test. While this is fewer than the number in previous years, it is still unacceptably high. Around 23 per cent of these drivers are repeat offenders.

This bill provides another option for dealing with entrenched or serious drink driving behaviour. It is aimed at preventing a recurrence of high-risk behaviour before further harm is caused either to the driver or to others.

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