Strict new laws in New South Wales will see drink drivers immediately lose their license as the state cracks down on driving under the influence.
The tough new penalty regime will be implemented from May 20 in the Australian state, where low-range drink-drivers will be slapped with an on-the-spot three-month suspension of their licence.
As well as losing their license, offenders will also be met with a $561 (£300) fine, even if it’s their first time breaking the law.
The penalties have been implemented as part of the Road Safety Plan 2021, which aims to stop drink driving and reduce the amount of trauma seen on the roads in New South Wales as a result of alcohol.
Last year, alcohol-related crashes killed at least 68 people in the state.
Similar charges are also being put in place for drivers who are caught with an illegal drug in their system. In the same way a breathalyser can be used to monitor alcohol, drugs can be detected through Mobile Drug Testing (MBT).
Roads Minister Andrew Constance explained the state is taking a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach towards people found to be driving under the influence.
He released a statement on the new laws, saying:
This means anyone caught drink-driving in NSW, at any level, including low-range, can now lose their licence immediately.
This reform makes it clear, if you break the law, you will pay the price. We are taking a zero-tolerance approach to drink- and drug-driving.
The Roads Minister went on to explain that under current New South Wales laws, about 56 per cent of low-range drink-drivers escape any punishment when the matter reaches the court system.
However, Constance continued:
This now changes that. Anyone caught drink-driving, you will lose your licence.
Ultimately we want to do anything we can to lower the road toll so the message has to be clear that, as of May 20, if you are breathalysed with a low range, you will have an immediate three-month suspension.
A NSW Police spokeswoman explained to the Daily Mail Australia how the penalties are different from former laws.
High-range drink drivers were given an automatic suspension, while mid range were at the discretion of police, and low-range weren’t at all.
But now everyone will have their licence automatically suspended on the spot.
They are trying to free up the courts a little bit, in terms of low-range PCAs, by saying everyone will now have their licence suspended.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, drivers will be able appeal against the suspension through the courts, but anyone caught offending will initially lose their licences.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.