The New South Wales Government needs to change its Road Transport legislation to give courts more power when it comes to assessing traffic infringements and the loss of drivers’ licences, Member for Ballina, Don Page, said.
Mr Page said current legislation gives the Roads and Traffic Authority more power than the New South Wales court system when it comes to the suspension of drivers’ licences as a result of the loss of demerit points.
“Drivers in New South Wales lose their licences when they reach a maximum of 12 demerit points,” Mr Page said.
“Drivers have a right of appeal through the court system regarding the offence, but there is no avenue for demerit points to be removed by the RTA,” Mr Page said.
“Currently a Magistrate will look at an individual case and, after taking into account things like the driver’s record, his/her personal circumstances and work commitments, may decide to dismiss proceedings or find the offence proved but impose no penalty.
“But that person may still lose their licence because there is currently no way for demerit points to be removed by the RTA even if the Magistrate has imposed no penalty.
“The legislation as it currently stands means the automatic allocation of demerit points cannot be revoked regardless of the outcome of court proceedings.
“This causes some people, especially those in rural and regional areas where public transport is virtually non-existent, incredible hardship.
“Whilst I am very concerned about road safety and I strongly encourage good driver behaviour, there are some instances where inconsistencies in the law cause hardship for individuals and families.
“Magistrate Jeff Linden wrote to me highlighting the shortcomings in the legislation and I agree with him.
“We currently have the unsatisfactory situation where the RTA has more power than our court system. This has to change.
“The current legislation is neither fair nor sensible.
“The new Roads Minister, Michael Daley, needs to conduct a review into the legislation with a view to implementing changes which focus on road safety but also restore equity to the legal system by taking away the RTA’s power to over-rule the courts.”