Opposition Road Safety Minister John McGrath has supported State Government legislation that will give police the power to impound the vehicle of people caught driving without a licence.
Under the new law, which passed through the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, anyone caught knowingly driving without a licence will have the vehicle impounded for 28 days.
The legislation will also:
- Increase the vehicle impoundment period for first-time hoon offences from 48 hours to seven days and to 28 days for a second offence.
- Extend the definition of road rage circumstances to include places other than a road, such as car parks and private property.
- Give courts the option of impounding a vehicle for six months in cases where a police application for confiscation of a hoon’s car is unsuccessful.
Mr McGrath said it was a great concern to the community that so many people ignored licence disqualification and continued to drive.
“It should be a very serious offence to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you are fully aware that your licence has been suspended either by a court or through the accumulation of an excessive number of demerit points,” Mr McGrath said,
“It will now be the responsibility of all vehicle owners to make sure someone has a valid licence before allowing them to use your car.”
Mr McGrath said impoundment would only apply when there was proof that the driver had been issued with a licence suspension notice and impoundment would not apply to people whose licence had been cancelled due to non-payment of fines.
Mr McGrath said he supported the confiscation of vehicles of repeat offenders of serious offences such as road rage, hoon driving, reckless and dangerous driving and drunk driving.
However, he again reminded the Government that it had ignored calls by the Opposition that a 48 hour impoundment was too light a penalty for a first-time hoon offence.
“We told the Government, that taking a hoon’s car of them for 48 hours, especially on weekends, was not really a deterrent and some of them would wear it as a badge of honour.”