CHANGES to the Road Traffic Act introduced to state parliament would make Western Australia’s roads safer and impose punishments which are more in line with community expectations.
Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey said a new offence of careless driving causing death, grievous bodily harm and bodily harm would give courts the ability to jail people whose actions result in death or serious injury.
“Currently the maximum penalty for careless driving where a person is killed or seriously injured is a $600 fine which is completely inadequate and not in line with community expectations,” she said.
“The lack of an adequate penalty for this offence has been expressed by the state coroner, a senior magistrate and the general public.”
The maximum penalty for the new offence would be three years in prison and/or a $36,000 fine.
The minister said the changes also meant a person sent to prison for a driving offence would not serve their licence disqualification until after they were released from prison.
“The community expects penalties to have an impact and this confirms the government’s stance that a driver’s licence is a privilege, not a right,” she said.
Another anomaly in the Road Traffic Act would also be addressed with supervisors of learner drivers limited to a blood alcohol content below 0.05.
“This package of amendments sends a clear message to the community that road safety is a serious issue for the government and the community,” she said.