The introduction of new laws announced on Thursday, May 3 will see drug drivers and motorists who illegally use their mobile phones targeted as part of the NSW Government’s road safety reforms.
The Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Road Safety) Bill 2018 extends powers relating to roadside oral testing for cocaine, increases penalties for driving under the influence and enables camera based enforcement of illegal mobile phone use.
The Bill amends the Road Transport Act 2013 to toughen penalties for drivers under the influence of drugs, include cocaine within the mobile drug testing regime, and enable enforcement of camera detected mobile phone use offences.
The changes also amend the Transport Administration Act 1988 to pay any fines from camera detected mobile phone offences to the Community Road Safety Fund and amends the Marine Safety Act 1998 to ensure regimes for oral fluid drug testing applies to marine drivers and vessel operators.
Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead said the reforms would help to achieve the NSW Government’s road safety goals as part of the Road Safety Plan 2021.
“NSW is the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce legislation to enable automated camera enforcement of mobile phones, showing this Government’s ongoing commitment to road safety as technology and societal trends change,” Mr Bromhead said.
Last year 74 people lost their lives in crashes where a driver or rider had an illicit drug present in their system.
“Driving under the influence of drugs has emerged as a significant factor in our road toll, along with alcohol, speeding, fatigue and mobile phone distraction,” Mr Bromhead added.
“From 2012-2017, 184 crashes involved illegal mobile phone use, which resulted in seven deaths and 105 injuries.
“It’s worth remembering that at 60 kilometres per hour, a car travels 33 metres in two seconds. Even taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds to look at your, it leaves you virtually blind.”
The legislative reforms will come into effect from July 1, 2018.