Tough new laws starting 1 August will see all drivers in Victoria with BAC readings over 0.1 lose their licence – plus their vehicle for 30 days.
Having gained bipartisan support, the new laws include cancellation of the offender’s licence for 10 months, fines exceeding $600, and towing costs of their vehicle, which will be impounded on the spot.
“[They’re] tough new laws, but obviously laws that are designed to send a very strong message to those who get behind the wheel having drunk a considerable amount,” said Victorian Police Minister, Wade Noonan.
“It sends a strong message that it’s not on.”
Victorian Police report 13,000 people are detected driving under the influence each year, and of them 3,500 are first-time offenders blowing at least 0.1 BAC. Previously, vehicle impounding was reserved for repeat offenders.
There will be provisions in place for special circumstances, such as those caught driving someone else’s car or those requiring a vehicle for the care or provision of others.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said “Those hardship provisions are entertained by the courts”.
Noonan says the “zero-tolerance approach” is motivated by what he says is the intolerance by Victorians of people “who get behind the wheel when they are clearly drunk” and put others at risk.
“When people are blowing 0.1 they are clearly making that decision.”