The Road Transport Amendment (Driver Licence Disqualification) Bill 2017 will bring about significant changes to our existing driver disqualification laws. If passed, the Bill will amend the Road Transport Act 2013 with respect to driver licence disqualification periods. This will enable a person who is disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence, due to committing a motor vehicle offence, to apply to the Local Court for an order removing their licence disqualification.

An order may be made if the applicant has not been convicted of any driving offence for a set period of time (that being 4 years for disqualifications arising from certain serious offences and 2 years for other less serious offences).

In determining whether to make an order, the Court will take into account a range of factors, including the person’s complete driving record, the person’s family and work obligations, and the safety of the public.

Research by the Bureau of Crime and Statistic Research has shown that lengthy disqualification periods do not deter individuals from engaging in unauthorised driving. One recent study even suggests that longer disqualification periods may actually increase the risk of re-offending. The Bill is aimed at encouraging safer driving, by providing disqualified drivers with a light at the end of the tunnel, if they can show that they have not engaged in unauthorised driving for a certain period of time.

However, a person will be ineligible to apply for a removal of disqualification if they have been convicted of a serious offence under the Act or Crimes Act 1900, of causing death or grievous bodily harm by the use of a motor vehicle.

We will let you know if and when these laws come into effect.

Image: NSW Government

James Janke

James Janke

Criminal Lawyer

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