Community support for road safety crackdown

17 July 2018 

The NSW Government has today announced new road safety measures, including an increase in demerit points from four to five for illegal mobile phone use while driving.

This follows a commitment at the launch of the Road Safety Plan 2021 in February to review penalties, develop new road safety advertising and introduce safeguards to improve driver safety in relation to alcohol and drugs, including prescription drugs.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said higher demerit points for illegal phone use will help change the way drivers act on our roads.

“We know from a recent RMS survey that 74 per cent of the community support a crackdown to illegal phone use behind the wheel. We all see it and the community has had enough,” Mrs Pavey said. 

“We have already introduced legislation to enable camera-based technology so it can be used to enforce mobile phone offences in the future, a world first.”

Changes will also be made to reduce the risk of driving while impaired by prescription drugs, including clearer guidance on when doctors should report a patient to a Driver Licensing Authority if they have concerns.

Communications will also be enhanced so drivers are aware of the risks and are reminded that driving while impaired by medicines is a serious offence.

KEY POINTS:

  • Demerit point rise from four to five for illegal phone use behind the wheel
  • Road Safety Advertising – develop a new strategy to drive campaigns, based on positive messaging
  • Strengthen guidelines for the Opioid Treatment Program, new training for prescribers, new communication about rights and responsibilities for doctors and patients
  • Change to the definition of ‘drug’ in the Road Safety Act to ensure offenders driving while impaired by a broad range of new and emerging drugs can be charged under the influence
  • It will have the toughest demerit point penalty for this offence in the country when changes come into effect in September 2018.
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