New transport laws begin in Victoria

New reforms targeting drug-affected drivers have begun, giving police extra powers to take drivers off the road

December 13, 2010

Drivers under the influence of drugs in Victoria will have their licence automatically suspended for three months and will be hit by a fine of more than $350.

New transport reforms backed by both sides of politics began yesterday, giving police extra powers to take drug-affected drivers off the road.

VicRoads’ safety director James Holgate says the aim is to stop drug drivers from endangering their lives and the lives of others.

"Driving while affected by illicit drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy, ice or speed puts the lives of all road users at risk," he says.

"We know that 30 percent of drivers who die on Victoria’s roads each year are under the influence of illicit drugs and that one driver in every 64 tested tests positive to their presence."

If a driver is caught drug-driving for a second time they will face a fine of up to $7000 and will also have their licence cancelled for at least six months.

Those who refuse a roadside test will also have their licence suspended immediately.

The introduction of an automatic licence suspension for drug driving replaces the previous penalty of 10 demerit points for a first offence, ensuring that drug drivers are removed from the roads.

"Victoria leads the nation when it comes to road safety. If all road users drove responsibly and observed the road rules, we could further reduce the impact of road trauma and save lives on ours roads," he says.

The new laws remove the power of the courts to rule on whether a driver should keep their licence and ends existing provisions that mandate a maximum disqualification period for failing a drug test.


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