New laws strengthen road safety

Published: 3 May 2018

Cameras to detect drivers using their mobile phones illegally, tougher penalties for driving under the influence of drugs and roadside testing for cocaine will be introduced from 1 July 2018.

Drivers who consume cocaine or use their mobile phones illegally will be targeted as part of the NSW Government’s road safety reforms which have passed NSW Parliament.

In 2017, 74 people lost their lives in crashes where a driver or rider had an illicit drug present in their system.

There were 184 crashes involved illegal mobile phone use between 2012 and 2017, which resulted in 7 deaths and 105 injuries.

The Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Road Safety) Bill 2018 strengthens road safety by:

  • introducing tougher penalties for drivers under the influence of drugs
  • adding cocaine to mobile drug testing
  • introducing speed-camera-style technology to detect illegal mobile phone us
  • requiring fines from camera detected mobile phone offences to be paid to the Community Road Safety Fund, which allows community organisations to develop road safety projects in their local areas
  • ensuring oral drug testing measures that apply to motorists also apply to marine drivers and vessel operators.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said that the reforms would help to achieve the NSW Government’s road safety goals as part of the Road Safety Plan 2021.

“NSW is the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce legislation like the Road Safety Bill, showing this Government’s ongoing commitment to road safety as technology and societal trends change,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Driving under the influence of drugs has emerged as a significant factor in our road toll, along with alcohol, speeding, fatigue and mobile phone distraction.”

Read the road rules about mobile phone use

Learn what offences and penalties apply for driving while affected by drugs

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