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Impaired drivers steal lives and now want dollars

Impaired drivers steal lives and now want dollars
Candor Trust

An urgent review of the "fitness for purpose" of New Zealand road safety laws is needed say Candor Trust. A High Court Judge has just ruled that drink drivers may not be charged for the medical testing expenses they impose on the State.

Placing guilty offenders costs on the taxpayer and Police is not only unreasonable, but likely to dig into their scarce resources, which may threaten their ability to maintain the record low number of 35 drink driver deaths recorded in the last year to July 2007.

Resource theft by drink drivers may also threaten the ability to commence addressing the taboo cause of the record high general tolls; drug driving which contributed to 71 cannabis driver deaths in the last year.

The ruling also adds complications to the passage of the drug driving provision of the Land Transport Amendment Bill number 4, as the golden standard for evidential testing for drugged driving - which is currently New Zealands major DUI problem - is blood testing.

The ruling by Justice Christine French for a clearly remorseless drink driver who had been ordered to pay court costs of $130, medical expenses of $102.60 and an analyst fee of $93, and disqualified from driving for six months is perfectly stupid.

Impaired drivers pay for their evidence gathering costs when guilty of drink or drug driving in numerous jurisdictions - as enabled by law updates over the last decade globally. The appeal placed by a Christchurch drunk drivers lawyer ought to have been dismissed as a frivolous in similar vein to an earlier appeal regarding use of breathalysers being "exoerimental".

But if it is to now be referred to the legislative branch of Government then that may provide a good opportunity to update the law so ensuring drink and drugged drivers pay all their costs, say Candor Trust. Perhaps that should also include a $1000 time-wasting fee anytime like this, that they decide to waste court time, as well.


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