Page 2433 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 June 2013
danger not only to themselves but to other people too. We know that alcohol impairs an individual’s ability to react and respond to situations and we know that it can be a significant impact on our community.
It is particularly worrying that we continue to see a large number of repeat offenders in the high-risk category and that existing mechanisms for preventing this dangerous behaviour have not worked as well as would have previously been hoped. It would be a wise idea for an interlock system to be included in the arsenal of tools already being used to fight this reckless and life-endangering behaviour.
It is our belief that the implementation of such an interlock device is a smart idea and will achieve a number of aims, particularly being the removal of those high-risk offenders from the operation of a vehicle and from being a danger to themselves and others. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.32): The Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 (No 2) will establish a legislative framework for the introduction of alcohol ignition interlocks to the ACT. An alcohol ignition interlock is a device that renders a vehicle inoperable until it receives a breath specimen that is below a specified alcohol concentration. It is a technology that can be used as part of a suite of enforcement and treatment initiatives for drink-driving offenders. Primarily, alcohol interlocks are a road safety measure. If used, they should be part of a more holistic scheme of treatment and behaviour change for offenders.
The ACT Greens will support the passage of this bill, based on feedback that I have had from the Attorney-General that the interlock scheme will be implemented equitably and to a best practice standard. As members will have noted, this principal legislation establishes a framework, but the success of the interlock scheme will largely depend on the detail of its implementation.
I wrote to the Attorney-General, Minister Corbell, to seek assurances on several issues that I was concerned about. I am pleased to say that we have had a fruitful discussion about the implementation of the scheme. Mr Corbell wrote a reply to me this week agreeing to a number of measures to ensure the scheme operates to a best practice standard. I will discuss those in more detail shortly.
The Greens support sensible actions to improve road safety, whether this is through infrastructure improvements such as separated cycle lanes, targeted regulation such as such as slow-speed town centres, or enforcement measures such as point-to-point speed cameras. We support the vision zero strategy, pioneered in Sweden and adopted by the ACT government several years ago. It is a policy that aims for zero deaths or serious injuries. It recognises that safety is paramount, even above other goals such as mobility. Vision zero is reflected, for example, in local area traffic management changes being implemented by TAMS, which slow and control traffic for the safety of everyone in the local neighbourhood.
Road safety remains a major problem all around the world. Globally, there are about 1.24 million road traffic deaths a year. More than 270,000 of these are pedestrians. Millions more are left with injuries or permanent disabilities. Recognising this, the United Nations declared a decade of action for road safety, from 2011 to 2020.