Rock throwers to be targeted by new legislation

By: Graham Gardiner

A new law to target offenders who throw rocks off bridges at vehicles is planned by the re-elected Bligh Government

A new law to target offenders who throw rocks off bridges at vehicles is planned by the re-elected Bligh Government in Queensland.

Premier Anna Bligh and Attorney-General Cameron Dick say the new legislation will target offenders who endanger the safe use of a vehicle, including throwing rocks at cars and other vehicles.

The offence will have a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment regardless of whether someone is hurt in an incident.

"We want to send a clear message and a clear deterrent to the idiots that commit these offences," says the Premier.

"If you throw a rock over a bridge on someone driving a car, you endanger their life and the lives of others, whether you mean to or not.

"What we are saying is that if you do this sort of thing it is an offence that could cost you at least two years of your life in jail.

"This new offence will provide police with a further charging option, particularly in less serious cases, where by sheer luck, the reckless action does not result in an injury."

In the past few weeks alone there have been a number of incidents in Queensland where rocks have been thrown at vehicles.

On March 22 rocks were thrown at two Brisbane ambulances and on March 26 a rock was thrown at a bus travelling in Alexandra Hills, smashing a window and causing injury to a female passenger.

In a further incident a truck driver suffered eye injuries when his windscreen was smashed by a rock as he was driving on a motor way.

The Attorney-General says that NSW, South Australia and the Northern Territory have already enacted specific offences related to throwing rocks or other objects at vehicles, and the new Queensland offence would cover this same conduct.

"Queensland has not been standing still on this issue. Last year we brought in the new offence of endangering the safe use of vehicles with intent, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, and covers the more serious end of the spectrum," says Dick.

"This new offence will cover the lower-end offences, where a person may not act with malicious intent, but still acts with gross stupidity and little regard for others in our community.

"The message here is clear - throwing rocks at vehicles is never a joke. It is deadly, reckless behaviour.

"When people are driving on Queensland's roads, they should not have to fear rocks being thrown at their vehicle.

"This offence is a key element in a full suite of offences - also including manslaughter, murder, and willful damage - that will operate to punish such idiotic behaviour."

The new Queensland legislation could capture behaviour such as:
  • Where a person throws a rock from a highway overpass where the traffic is visible in the distance but is not in the immediate vicinity
  • Where a person places a concrete slab or other object onto the highway and there a is potential that it could be hit by a vehicle traveling at high speeds.

The pointing of lasers at vehicles could also be captured under this offence.

Bligh says the matter will be taken to Cabinet on Monday.

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