Crackdown on distracted and drug drivers
New safety reforms passed in Parliament of NSW target drug drivers and illegal phone users.
The Parliament of NSW has made amendments to road safety rules that specifically address motorists who drive under the influence of drugs, boat and vessel operators on drugs and illegal mobile phone users, to come into effect 1 July 2018.
Transport law amendments
Parliament approved sweeping changes to the 2013 road transport regulations.
The Road Transport Legislation Amendment bill of 2018 increases the roadside testing powers of police officers and also includes cocaine as part of mobile drug testing.
Drug users will now face tougher penalties for driving under the influence, in line with those dealt out to drink drivers. Police officers now have the power to prevent someone they suspect of having taken drugs or drinking over the limit from driving for 48 hours. Marine drivers and captains must now submit to oral drug tests.
Additionally, the use of cameras designed to detect mobile phone usage at the wheel has been made legal and admissible in court. Fines paid will go to the Community Road Safety Fund.
NSW leading the legislative way
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey pointed out that New South Wales was the first state to bring in such transport laws.
“NSW is the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce legislation like the Road Safety Bill, showing this Government’s ongoing commitment to road safety as technology and societal trends change,” Pavey said.
The reforms make up part of the government's Road Safety Plan of 2021, a commitment to reduce road deaths by 30% and improve safety on New South Wales roads.
Much needed rule changes
In 2017, 74 people lost their lives in accidents involving drug usage. Between 2012 and 2017, 184 accidents happened as a result of illegal phone use. Seven people died and 105 received injuries.
Pavey said these are significant contributors towards the overall road death toll, joining alcohol, speeding and fatigue as leading crash causes.
Insurance for those with restricted licences
Read our restricted licence insurance guide and high-risk car insurance advice, if you want to find out about insuring a car on a limited licence after a suspension. Also, make sure to read our car insurance exclusions list – you won’t be covered by an insurance policy if you drive under the influence.