Tasmanian hoons face prison time

Dangerous driving in TAS

New laws in Tasmania mean those charged with dangerous driving could face almost a quarter-century behind bars.

Depending on the severity of the offence, anyone caught faces up to 21 years imprisonment after ‘dangerous driving’ was changed to fall under the Criminal Code, rather than the Traffic Act in Tasmania.

Tasmania’s acting Attorney-General Matthew Groom made the announcement.

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“I am very pleased the Government’s legislation to crack down on dangerous driving has today passed the Legislative Council,” Groom said in a statement.

“Dangerous driving is a scourge that can result in lives being lost and families being torn apart, and these strong laws will send the right message that it will not be tolerated on our roads.

“The offence of dangerous driving will now move from the Traffic Act 1925 to the Criminal Code Act 1924, resulting in the maximum penalty for a first offence being increased from two years to 21 years imprisonment.

“This also means that dangerous driving will now become an indictable offence and heard in the Supreme Court, better reflecting the seriousness of the offence.”

Monthly bulletins from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) on road tolls reflect road deaths by state, and have consistently found Tasmania to be towards the bottom of the chart for road deaths.

 Tasmania Road TollsData courtesy of BITRE.

However, when considering deaths per capita, Tasmania begins to ‘climb the ladder’ so to speak. It’s also the only state with a significant increase in road deaths per capita in recent years.

Additionally, the statement released by acting A-G Groom says the legislation will:

  • “Increase the maximum sentences applicable where an individual is found guilty of negligent driving causing death by one year.
  • “Increase the maximum sentences applicable where an individual is found guilty of negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm by six months.
  • “Allow alternative convictions for negligent driving causing death or grievous bodily harm where an offender is charged with dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm and the offence is not proved, provided there is sufficient evidence to prove the alternative offence.”

 

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