26 September 2023

New road injury laws get green light

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Penalties for road users who inflict harm on others are to be strengthened under new legislation.

Minister for Transport and City Services, Chris Steel said the new laws would make Canberra’s roads safer for all users as the Territory worked towards Vision Zero, no deaths or serious injuries on ACT roads.

“Negligent driving can kill or cause serious injury,” Mr Steel said.

“Everyone needs to exercise care and responsibility to keep other road users safe, including those who don’t have the protection of a vehicle around them,” he said.

Mr Steel said the existing hierarchy of offences for negligent driving would be strengthened through the addition of a new offence for actual bodily harm.

The Minister said the new offence would apply in circumstances where someone had suffered injuries as a result of negligence on Territory roads, such as a black eye, lacerations or bruising.

“These are the kinds of injuries that disproportionately affect vulnerable road users, but our Bill will strengthen protections for all road users in the process,” he said.

“The new offence will be inserted into the offence hierarchy as an additional step between negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and negligent driving in any other case, closing a current gap in the protections for road users.”

Mr Steel said the amendments also included increasing the infringement notice penalty for negligent driving; increasing the minimum automatic licence disqualification periods for culpable driving; and introducing two new strict liability offences to address unsafe behaviours on transport modes other than motor vehicles.

The Minister said the reforms would support ACT Policing to address negligent driving and improper use of other transport modes.

He said requirements for users of personal mobility devices such as e-scooters, e-skateboards and segway‑like devices to remain in proper control at all times would also be introduced

“It will also give police officers new powers to address the unsafe use of personal mobility devices and other alternative modes of transport by people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” Mr Steel said.

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