Page 2081 - Week 06 - Thursday, 8 June 2017
treated the same as if the accident involved any other type of vehicle. Compensation will be available for people injured by an at-fault light rail vehicle driver.
Light rail drivers will be required to hold a valid Australian full car licence so that they are aware of the road rules that apply. This ensures that the driver of a light rail vehicle has demonstrated the knowledge of road rules required to drive a vehicle in the road environment in which light rail vehicles will operate. All light rail vehicle drivers will receive extensive training in operating a light rail vehicle.
While the bill provides an amendment to exempt light rail vehicles from the minimum passing rules when overtaking bicycle riders, for the small sections of the route where light rail may interact with bicycle riders, such as intersections, riders will be protected by the requirement in the Australian Road Rules for a light rail vehicle to maintain a sufficient distance from other road users.
The two most common factors leading to road crashes and road deaths in the ACT are speed and alcohol. An important part of this government’s focus on improving road safety is targeting drivers who drive while under the influence of alcohol. Light rail vehicle drivers, like all other public passenger vehicle drivers and their instructors, will be required to have a zero alcohol concentration level when operating a light rail vehicle or instructing a light rail driver.
It needs to be remembered that the .05 measure for other drivers is not an impairment threshold; it is just a threshold. It is obviously better than .08, which is the limit in some places overseas, but any consumption of alcohol has the potential to impair your driving. So the bill maintains a consistent “no” to drinking alcohol and driving public transport.
The bill also introduces amendments to support the government’s decision to permit the use of segways on ACT public roads by extending existing offences, about riding while drinking alcohol or intoxicated, to riders of segways. These amendments are consistent with the application of these offences to cyclists and riders of animals and reflect the skill and attention required of these road users and the potential for harm to other road users arising from impaired riding of a segway as a result of alcohol.
The bill makes a number of consequential amendments to other legislation to standardise the definition of motor vehicle and to clarify the application of existing provisions regarding railways to the light rail. The bill makes an amendment to ensure the offence of taking a motor vehicle without consent also applies to a light rail vehicle, bus or heavy vehicle.
This reflects the potential harm caused by unlawful use of a heavy vehicle, bus or light rail vehicle and ensures that an appropriate sanction exists. Currently this offence applies only to motor vehicles, which are defined as cars, car derivatives and motorbikes. This offence is a lesser offence than theft and it is commonly used where a person has taken a vehicle for a joy ride.