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WA cracks down on drink-driving

Drink-drivers will face immediate suspension and new licence restrictions under reforms being introduced in Western Australia

September 23, 2010

People caught drink-driving in Western Australia will soon face tougher penalties under reforms being introduced into the state’s parliament today.

The Road Traffic Legislation Amendment (Disqualification by Notice) Bill will give police the power to immediately suspend a driver’s licence at the roadside if they are caught with a blood alcohol content above 0.08.

If passed, the Bill will give police the power to disqualify a driver from obtaining a licence for two months. They will also be free to disqualify a driver for refusing a breath or blood test.

“This measure is intended to act as a further, strong deterrent to drink drivers by imposing an immediate and significant sanction,” Police Minister Rob Johnson says.

“Under current laws, motorists who are caught driving over 0.08 can simply get behind the wheel the following day and continue to drive until they are due to appear in court.”

Johnson labelled the existing law “unacceptable”, saying drivers should be forced to serve a suspension before being allowed back on the road.

The Bill will also make its harder for offenders to apply for a special licence on the basis they will suffer hardship.

“The new legislation will tighten the standards and leave minimal room for interpretation by the courts ensuring that extraordinary licences can only be issued where specified circumstances of extreme hardship can be demonstrated,” Transport Minister Simon O’Brien says.

The Bill will also remove the ability of drivers to nominate a medical practitioner or nurse to take a blood sample analysis instead of taking a breath test.

Johnson says removing the clause will stop people from trying to delay the issuing of disqualification notices. Police will be required to charge people within 10 days of an offence or the disqualification will be void.

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