Victoria proposes tougher transport laws


Victorian Government is seeking changes to road transport laws including stripping power from courts to rule on drug-driving offences

By Brad Gardner | August 13, 2010

The Victorian Government is seeking changes to road transport laws including stripping the power from courts to rule on drug-driving offences.

The Road Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Bill will, if passed, require courts to cancel a driver’s licence and disqualify them from obtaining another one for a set time if they are convicted or found of failing a drug test.

The measure will apply for a minimum three months for a first offence and at least six months for a subsequent offence.

"Under the current provision the court has a discretion to allow a person to keep his or her licence for this offence, and there are no minimum cancellation and disqualification periods," Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas says.

Furthermore, those who refuse a roadside test will have their licence suspended immediately.

The Bill will remove the maximum licence cancellation and disqualification periods for failing a test, which are currently six months for a first offence and one year for subsequent infringements.

Pallas says the measures will improve road safety and help the Government meet its commitment under its Arrive Alive strategy to reduce road deaths and serious injuries by 30 percent between 2008 and 2017.

"Arrive Alive recognises that driving while affected by illicit drugs is a growing problem and can be as dangerous as drink driving," Pallas says.

The Bill will also affect those who pass through a toll without an active account.

"The bill will…make it clear that the existence of a suspended tollway billing account in respect of a vehicle cannot be used as a defence to a charge of driving an unregistered vehicle in a toll zone," Pallas says.

Road authorities will also be given the power to charge a fee if they are forced to impound a vehicle illegally parked or causing a road hazard.

They will also be given the discretion to destroy or give away the vehicle if the fee is not paid within 60 days.

Debate on the proposed reforms has been adjourned until August 26.


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