Drunk motorists will be slapped with huge fines and lose their licences for at least three months under strict new drink-driving laws that come into effect TODAY
- NSW motorists to lose licence immediately if caught drink or drug driving
- Tough new laws that came into effect also include an on-the-spot fine of $561
- It’s part of the NSW Government’s ‘zero-tolerance’ to drink and drug-driving
Drivers caught drunk behind the wheel will lose their licences immediately for at least three months under strict new laws that come into effect from today.
Motorists will also be slapped with an on-the-spot fine of $561, even for first time offences under the new reforms introduced in New South Wales on Monday.
Those caught behind the wheel under the influence of illicit drugs will also cop the same punishment.
The tough crackdown was announced by the NSW Government earlier this month as part of its ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to drink and drug-driving and save lives on the state’s roads.
Anyone caught drink driving on NSW roads will immediately lose their licence and hefty on the spot fine under tough new laws which came into effect on May 20 (stock photo)
Around 68 people died in alcohol-related crashes on NSW roads in 2018, which accounted for almost one in five road deaths.
The reforms have been hailed as the biggest overhaul since the introduction of the blood-alcohol limit of 0.05 almost four decades ago in 1980.
‘This means anyone caught drink-driving in NSW, at any level, including low-range, can now lose their licence immediately,’ roads minister Andrew Constance said.
‘This reform makes it clear if you break the law, you will pay the price.’
NSW Police now have a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to drink and drug-driving under new reforms
Under the previous laws, drivers charged with low-range drink drinking offences did not lose their licence immediately and could continue to drive until they appeared in court.
The reforms are part of The Roads Safety Plan 2021, which aims to reduce road fatalities by at least 30 per cent in the next two years.
‘Our aspirational long-term goal is zero trauma on the NSW road network,’ the plan states.
NSW Police Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Corboy said the reform will protect all road users.
‘Alcohol is one of the major factors in crashes that kill or injure people on NSW roads,’ he said.
‘The 0.05 blood alcohol limit has been in place for almost 38 years. There are no more excuses.’
The new laws were slammed by legal experts when they were first proposed last year.
One claimed on-the-spot fines would do little to deter people from drink driving.
The crackdown on drink driving is part of The Roads Safety Plan 2021, which aims to reduce road fatalities on NSW roads by at least 30 per cent in the next two years
‘Infringement notices as more or less a taxation rather than a punishment,’ Sydney lawyer John Sutton told The Daily Telegraph at the time.
‘The humiliation and embarrassment of having to collect references and admit criminal conduct, culminating in the experience of appearing before a judicial officer is what is necessary to cause offenders to modify their behaviour.’
Drink-driving penalties by state
New South Wales
- Drivers who commit a low-range drink-driving offence for the first time will have their licence suspended immediately, effective for three months.
- A suspension will also be coupled with a significant fine, which is currently $561.
- Motorists who get caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 – .08 may either be infringed or required to appear in court.
- A first-time offence will also result in a $400 fine, as well as a maximum court penalty of $500 and three demerit points.
- From April 30, drivers who return a low-range reading (less than .05) will lose their licence, need to complete a compulsory Behaviour Change Program and have to get an alcohol interlock installed.
- Those who hold a Victorian licence and get caught drink driving interstate, will also be subject to the same rules as if they were caught locally.
- Drivers who are caught drink driving for the first time may be issued an on-the-spot fine and lose four demerit points.
- They may also face a court penalty – a fine of up to $1,100, four demerit points and loss of licence for at least three months.
- All drink drivers have to go to court, where a magistrate decides the length of licence disqualification, fine amount, and any prison sentence terms.
- Maximum penalties for first time drink driving offences include licence disqualification for nine months, a $1,827 fine and three months in jail.
- Motorists may have to go to court if they’re caught drink driving in the Northern Territory.
- A magistrate decides how long a driver’s licence must be disqualified for and whether they receive a fine or a jail term.
- Drink driving in Tasmania may mean a loss of licence for a period of three to 36 months, a fine and possible imprisonment for up to 12 months.
- In certain circumstances, police may issue an infringement that includes an automatic disqualification of three months, loss of demerit points and a fine.
Australian Capital Territory
- A first offence can lead to a fine of up to $2250, nine months imprisonment, or both.
- First time offenders may also have their driver’s licence disqualified for up to three years.
- Police may also impose an Immediate Suspension Notice, which suspends the driver’s licence for up to 90 days.