Victoria Police breathtest repeat offenders
Doubling up on repeat offenders

Repeat offenders will get a double dose of trouble under new reforms introduced by the Victorian Government, with court sanctions and penalties set to come with twice the pain.

But other Australian states are lagging badly.

New South Wales – most notoriously – is focused on punishing bike riders when its main goal should be getting bad drivers off the streets.

Irresponsible drivers are choosing not to break their bad habits, putting road users at continuing risk.

Too often it emerges that those who trigger tragic bike crashes have a record of prior offending.

Now, in a major package of changes, the Victorian state government is aiming to get dangerous drivers off the road.

Among the reforms introduced to the Parliament, Victoria Police will be given greater ability to immediately impound vehicles for a range of dangerous driving behaviours.

License disqualifications will also be doubled from three to six months for those caught driving under the influence of drugs.

There are also tougher penalties for excessive speeding, unlicensed driving and employing an unlicensed driver in a driving role.

And new tools will allow Victoria Police to stop vehicles in their tracks. Changes to the Road Safety Act will allow police to use a range of new devices in pursuits.

Under the proposed changes, full licence holders detected with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05-0.069 will face licence cancellation and disqualification for three months for a first offence.

Drivers over 0.05 will be required to have an alcohol interlock fitted to their vehicle for six months and all drink-drivers will have to complete a new behaviour change program before being relicensed.

VicRoads Director of Road User and Vehicle Access, Robyn Seymour, said that the focus of the reforms was to not only protect the Victorian community, but also produce an environment to stop repeat offenders.

“Through research, we’ve found that licence disqualifications can cut instances of repeat drink-driving by 70 per cent and reduce crashes by 79 per cent. Installing alcohol interlocks slashes repeat drink-driving by 63 per cent.” Ms Seymour said.

“The behaviour change program is an additional measure to ensure we take proactive action to stop repeat drink driving in the future.”

Last year drink-driving contributed to 23 per cent of road deaths.

Lower level drink-driving is a serious road safety issue and its effects are clear – drink drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a crash.

Up to 3,000 full licence holders are caught drink-driving between 0.05 and 0.07 BAC each year.

Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said: “We make no apologies for toughening penalties for drink-drivers who continue to put the lives of Victorians at risk with their dangerous behaviour.”

See Bicycle Network's driver licence reform campaign page.