First time drink-driving offenders in Victoria who blow 0.1 or over could soon have their car impounded for a month, or clamped, under revised State laws.
From August 1 this year, motorists found behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol reading of 0.1 or above — twice the 0.05 legal limit — could lose their vehicle for 30 days. As with speeders, this will apply even if the captured motorist doesn’t own the car, reports the Herald Sun.
In addition, first-time offenders caught at 0.1 or above will have their licenses cancelled for 10 months and receive a $627 fine, and incur any towing costs. The State currently imposes towing costs on what it labels as ‘hoons’ who have their cars taken away for excess speeding.
One suspects towing companies will not object. The bill to change the drink-driving laws passed Victorian Parliament with bipartisan support in 2014.
Alternately to towing, those caught in the areas of Brimbank or Nunawading could instead have their cars clamped as part of a police trial.
Nevertheless, Victoria’s police minister Wade Noonan told radio station 3AW this morning that there was capacity to store the expected influx of impounded cars.
“Statistics in 2013 had more than 3500 offenders blowing 0.1 or over,” he said.
“I'm reassured by Victoria Police that the depot out at Preston has the capacity to take the additional anticipated 3500 cars off the road.”
Victoria already has provisions to impound the cars of repeat drink-driving offenders, repeat drug-drivers and excessive speeders. Noonan said today that the widening of penalties on the state's roads were justified.
“We have got to a point where Victorians would have little tolerance for people blowing 0.1 over understand our drink drivers laws have been in place for a long time,” he claimed.
“There's little tolerance for people who are getting behind the wheel, quite frankly they know they are over the limit.”
While drink-drivers, repeat drug offenders and excessive speeders (those who travel more than 45km/h over the limit) are subject to impoundment, first-time drug offenders are not yet included, the minister told reporter John Burns.
“The police pull over two cars, Minister,” asked Burns. “And behind the wheel is [someone] who blows .1, so impound his car. Go to the next car and there’s Ian the ice addict, and he tests positive to crystal methamphetamine. Do you impound his car?”
“Not at this stage… we might get to that in time,” Noonan answered. “The issue I suppose in terms of drug testing is it can’t measure at this point the full impairment.”
Would impounding the cars of first time drink-driving offenders be an actual deterrent? Le us know your thoughts at Facebook.com/DrivenNZ