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Transport law changes to improve public safety

01 July 2004 Media Statement

Transport law changes to improve public safety

The Land Transport Amendment Bill, tabled in Parliament today, aims to improve safety and reduce the road toll through the amendment of existing legislation.

Proposals in the bill include action to:

- Stop those convicted of serious sexual or violence offences from holding P (passenger) licenses

- Effect tougher enforcement measures for repeat drink-drivers, repeat disqualified drivers and those that drive at excessive speed

- No change to existing speed or blood alcohol limits but a reduction in the amount over these at which roadside license disqualification is triggered

- Tighten up licensing laws around the operation of public service vehicles

“This government has listened to public and media concern and has acted. The Bill, as introduced, prohibits those with serious sexual and violence convictions for holding passenger licenses in the future, and toughens up on the worst drink drivers and speeders," said Minister of Transport, Pete Hodgson.

These, and other measures follow wide consultation with the commercial driving industry, Police, Department of Corrections, Justice, and the Land Transport Safety Authority. The aim of these changes is to make the roads and public transport safer for everyone and to lower the road toll.

The Bill has been developed in collaboration with the Green party, and its introduction also has the support of United Future and New Zealand First.

The Bill will result in changes to existing legislation including the Land Transport Act 1998, Transport Act 1962, Transport Services Licensing Act 1989 and subordinate legislation, and the Boilers, Lifts and Cranes Act 1950.

A copy of the Bill together with a document outlining expected questions and their answers is available online at www.transport.govt.nz.

Measures proposed in the Bill include those to (refer to the Bill for actual wording):

Drink drivers and disqualified drivers

- Introduce a tougher regime for serious and repeat drink-drivers and those who drive at excessive speed
- Better management of the demerit points system – enabling Police to serve notice of license suspension at the scene on those who have incurred suspension demerits but avoided having them actioned
- Broader sentencing options for repeat drink drivers and repeat disqualified drivers to help get them off the 'treadmill'

Commercial Drivers

- Simplification of the commercial drivers regime and sensible hours of work
- The introducing of a chain of responsibility around breach of work time and driving restrictions
- The introduction of a distinguishing between penalties for logbook and exceeding allowable hours offences
- Improving commercial driver standards

Passenger vehicle drivers and operators

- Stopping those convicted of certain specified offences such as murder, sexual offences and serious violent offences from applying for a P (Passenger) endorsement
- Requiring taxi drivers in key metropolitan centres to hold Area Knowledge Certificates
- Enhancing accountability of taxi organisations
- Amending the definition of a “Passenger Service” to include Dial-A-Driver type services.
- Strengthening offences and penalties

In addition

- Clarification of what will be defined as 'mobility devices'
- Licence and operator requirements relating to traction engines
- Provision of photos from drivers’ licences to the next of kin in the event of death

The next stage in the passage of this bill will be for it move to the Select Committee process where submissions can be made by interested parties.

ENDS

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