Tough new penalties for dangerous and careless drivers in Queensland
Labor government in Queensland introduces new laws to punish careless drivers who cause fatal accidents.
The Queensland Government has instituted new regulations to increase the maximum penalties for dangerous and careless drivers.
Pressure to change road regulations
The amendments came about after a review of the current rules, following recommendations from the state coroner and support from families who lost loved ones. One case in particular placed speculation over the old laws, the death of Audrey Ann Dow. Audrey was tragically killed when a repeatedly disqualified driver smashed into her car head-on.
Queensland’s minister for transport and main roads Mark Bailey wanted to thank Audrey’s family, and others who consulted with the law-makers.
“I want to thank Audrey’s family and many other families who during their time of grief brought about a campaign for change to help other families from being in the tragic circumstances they found themselves. I am also extremely thankful that they took the time to meet with me to discuss these proposed legislative changes,” Bailey said.
Changes to Queensland road penalties
Currently, the maximum penalty for careless driving is a $5,046 fine or six months in prison (with three demerit points added to the driver’s licence). Drivers are not subject to an automatic disqualification.
|New offences – careless driving causing death or GBH|
|New maximum penalty. $10,092 fine or 12 months imprisonment (with three demerit points). At a minimum, the driver will lose their licence for six months.|
|New maximum penalty (with circumstances of aggravation – unlicensed). Fine of $20,184 or two years imprisonment (plus three demerit points). Drivers will face a minimum disqualification of six months.|
|Dangerous driving causing death or GBH|
|Current maximum penalty. 10 years imprisonment plus a licence disqualification of six months.||New maximum penalty. 10 years imprisonment plus a licence disqualification of 12 months at a minimum.|
|Current maximum penalty (with circumstances of aggravation). 14 years imprisonment plus a licence disqualification of six months.||New maximum penalty (with circumstances of aggravation). 14 years imprisonment plus a licence disqualification of 12 months.|
How are penalties set?
Courts will decide which penalties fit the case. According to Subsection 328A of the Queensland Criminal Code, the higher prison terms are given when a driver was found to:
- Be excessively speeding.
- Be adversely affected by intoxicating substances.
- Have left the scene of the accident before a police officer arrived.
- Be participating in an unlawful street race.
- Have previous convictions for dangerous driving.
Information for Queensland drivers
This year, Queensland announced it would be changing the way it trains and tests new drivers. Studies have revealed the most dangerous time to be on the Sunshine State’s 30,000km road network.
A report showed that 40% of drivers nationwide are tempted to use their phones while behind the wheel. One Queensland study showed 28% of drivers talk on the phone when moving.