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Drink driving licence proposal

A 'GOOD behaviour licence' could be introduced for low and mid range drink driving offences as part of changes being considered by the O'Farrell government.

The announcement by NSW attorney general Greg Smith comes in response to a NSW Sentencing Council report released today that calls for 'good behaviour licences' as opposed to magistrates handing down a section 10 good behaviour bond to offenders.

Under the proposed changes motorists would be severely punished for re-offending while on a 'good behaviour licence.'

Currently people who are convicted and receive a section 10 good behaviour bond are not disqualified, no conviction is recorded and no demerit points are lost, despite the offender having broken the law.

Magistrates currently hand down section 10 bonds to people who have recorded a low range reading for their first offence, or people who prove they need their license for work.

But under the new proposal, once convicted, Magistrates would have the power to place the offender on a bond for the mandatory disqualification period applicable to the offence.

Mandatory disqualification periods are six months for a first time low range drink driving offence and 12 months for a first time mid range offence.

If the motorist is caught drink driving while on the 'good behaviour licence' they would lose their licence for twice the period that applied to the original offence.

In its report the NSW Sentencing Council says "the seriousness of drink-driving offences, and in particular low-range PCA [prescribed concentration of alcohol] offences, and their impact on road safety, are not adequately addressed by existing legislation''.

Mr Smith said the proposal is aimed at offenders for whom disqualification would be a too severe penalty while recording a not conviction under a section 10 bond would be too lenient.

''This is a proposal squarely aimed at those drink-drivers currently walking away from court with no conviction and their licences intact,'' he said.

''This report puts drink-drivers on notice and its recommendations will be closely considered by the government.''



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