A new Victorian law will make unlicensed drivers think twice before jumping behind the wheel of a car and continuing to wreak havoc on the roads.
Parliament has adopted a legislative change that means any unlicensed driver involved in a collision in which a person is killed or seriously injured will be presumed to have been driving dangerously.
For years now Bicycle Network has been concerned by the regularity with which unlicensed drivers were found to be involved in serious incidents with bike riders, and other road users.
These are people whom have already committed offences serious enough to require the withdrawal of their approval to drive on public roads, yet they have thumbed their nose at the community and continued to put the lives of others at risk by deliberately driving whilst unlicensed.
Yet because of the inadequacy of the law, their decision to drive whilst not permitted to do so could not lead to a charge of dangerous driving.
This has now changed.
The move was initiated by Independent MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins who said: “This now means that if someone is unlicensed, they are seen as a dangerous driver and will be held criminally liable if they cause the death or serious injury of a person on our roads.”
Attorney-General Martin Pakula said the law meant anyone involved in a serious incident while driving unlicensed would be presumed to be driving dangerously, but that they would have an opportunity to rebut that presumption.
"The driver will have the opportunity to contest that, but it will make it harder for an unlicensed driver to demonstrate that that’s not a dangerous act in the event that someone is seriously injured or killed," Mr Pakula said.