Drivers who flout drink and drug driving laws are on notice following yesterday’s introduction of tough new penalties.
Blowing a blood alcohol reading of .05 or higher will now result in an automatic loss of licence, whether it is a first offence or not.
Offenders will also need to complete a compulsory drink-driver behaviour change program to regain their licence and pay for the installation of an alcohol interlock device on any vehicle they plan to drive.
Use of the device is compulsory for at least six months.
Those who take drugs and drive have also been targeted.
The presence of any illicit drugs in a driver’s system will see the automatic cancellation of their licence for six months and require the completion of a drug-driver behaviour program to regain it.
Victorian Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan said the new regime was necessary to curb the state’s road toll.
‘‘We make no apologies for stamping out this dangerous behaviour and these new changes will get dangerous drink and drug drivers off our roads,” Mr Donnellan said.
‘‘These laws send a strong message that there’s no excuse for drink or drug driving, which puts the safety of the other drivers and the wider community at risk.’’
The Victorian Government and Opposition were united in the introduction of tougher penalties, with Shadow Roads and Road Safety Minister David Hodgett telling The News he supported the crackdown.
But he said Labor had not gone far enough to address the issue of drug driving.
‘‘We think the government should be doing a lot more on drug driving,’’ he said.
More funding for drug drive testing and further increases in penalties for driving under the influence of illicit substances would be supported by the Opposition.
The new penalties, introduced yesterday, were proven to work VicRoads’ acting deputy chief executive Robyn Seymour said.
‘‘Research has shown licence bans reduce repeat drinking driving offences by 70 per cent, while fitting an alcohol interlock device cuts repeat offences by 63 per cent.
‘‘That’s a major benefit for road safety.’’