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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 6 June 2019) . . Page.. 2263 ..

This government is committed through the territory’s road safety strategy 2011-20 to the safe system approach, which acknowledges that human error occurs but relies on responsible road user behaviour. This requires efforts to educate and encourage road users to obey the road transport laws and to be unimpaired and alert when sharing the road with others. It also requires the use of enforcement and penalties to deter road transport users from breaking the law, including removing the privilege of road use from those who do not comply.

Among the changes proposed, this bill introduces new minimum automatic disqualification periods for drivers who repeatedly drive while suspended. Strong signals for repeat offenders reflect the government’s commitment to a lifetime learning approach to road safety, which reinforces and rewards safe behaviours and encourages the adoption of safe behaviours on our roads. Appropriate enforcement actions are essential to providing a safe road environment for the community.

An important part of improving road safety is targeting impaired drivers. Impaired driving is a significant contributing factor in road trauma. This bill includes a number of minor amendments to the territory’s regulatory scheme for detecting and prosecuting offences relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Detection and enforcement of impaired driving offences is a matter of high importance to the community, given the risks of death and injury associated with drink and drug driving.

The provisions being amended are in the existing legislation and have been replicated with minor modifications to ensure the effectiveness of the scheme and consistency with other jurisdictions, and to limit the impact on individual rights.

The bill also amends the offences of driving an unregistered or uninsured motor vehicle. It extends the application of these offences to a person who permits or allows an unregistered or uninsured motor vehicle to be driven. This amendment brings the ACT in line with other jurisdictions and ensures the enforceability of these offences.

This bill also includes a number of minor amendments to improve the efficiency and administration of the road transport infringement notice scheme. The amendments clarify that family violence, whether current or past, is a relevant circumstance for the purposes of determining a person’s application to participate in an approved community work or social development program as an alternative method of paying an infringement notice penalty or an application for waiver of an infringement notice penalty. These amendments are supported by updates to existing processes around the withdrawal and waiver of infringement notice penalties and access to approved community work or social development programs.

This bill also makes a number of minor amendments to the road transport legislation to remove administratively burdensome processes, improve the efficiency of the road transport infringement notice management scheme and provide authorised persons and police officers with the powers they need to undertake effective enforcement of the road transport legislation. These changes help to ensure that the ACT has a strong regulatory framework that provides an efficient, effective and fair system for managing compliance with the territory’s road transport laws.

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