SA: loopholes closed for disqualified drivers

By: Chris Smith

Drivers who try to avoid a licence sanction, or a condition placed on their licence, will be the target of

Drivers who try to avoid a licence sanction, or a condition placed on their licence, will be the target of tougher laws which come into effect from Monday, June 23, 2008 in South Australia.

South Australian Minister for Road Safety Carmel Zollo says the Motor Vehicles (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2007, which aims to improve the operation and administration of the Motor Vehicles Act 1959, was passed in State Parliament last November.

"It further bolsters the Rann Government’s commitment to road safety by closing a number of legislative loopholes," Zollo says.

"It includes the Proof of Service initiative, which will essentially stop disqualified drivers from defending charges by claiming they never received a disqualification notice.

"It will also help SA Police successfully prosecute anyone caught driving whilst disqualified."

Proof of Service will see disqualified drivers receive a disqualification notice through the post.

They will then be required to confirm receipt of the notice by attending either a customer service centre or post office.

Failure to confirm receipt of the notice within 28 days will see a process server engaged to serve the notice personally.

The costs of introducing these new requirements (a $24 administration fee or $60 process server fee) will be borne by the licence holder.

Where a process server is not successful in serving the notice, disqualified drivers will be prohibited from transacting any business under the Motor Vehicles Act.

Zollo says if you do the right thing – that is, if you obey the road rules and don’t get disqualified in the first place - you won’t be affected by these changes.

Around 20,000 drivers in South Australia are disqualified every year for offences such as:
  • Accumulating 12 or more demerit points
  • High level speeding
  • Breaching a good behaviour condition
  • Breaching a condition of provisional licence, probationary licence or learner’s permit
  • Incurring two or more drug driving offences within a five year period
  • Drink driving – exceeding blood alcohol concentration

"Drivers will be warned about the new arrangements on demerit warning notices, through updated demerit brochures, handbooks and via the internet," Zollo explains.

Other amendments, which occur less frequently and are generally the result of drafting inconsistencies due to successive amendments over the life of the legislation, that come into effect from tomorrow include:

  • Ensuring that, irrespective of when demerit points for an offence are incurred, the penalty for driving offences will be determined by the date on which the offence was committed and the licence conditions that applied at the time, and not when it was expiated or settled in court.
  • Ensuring that a licence disqualification will only commence upon the conclusion of any other disqualification period already in force.
  • Providing the Registrar of Motor Vehicles with the necessary discretion to suspend or cancel a South Australian driver’s licence when the licence holder has had their driver’s licence disqualified by an interstate authority.
  • Allowing foreign licence holders, who have received their permanent residence visa prior to arriving in Australia, to drive on their valid foreign licence for up to 3 months after their arrival, before having to apply for a South Australian driver’s licence.

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