Po­lice to con­tact driv­ers

Benalla Ensign - - News -

Vic­to­ria Po­lice is in the process of con­tact­ing a num­ber of mo­torists af­ter an in­ter­nal au­dit of penalty in­fringe­ment no­tices is­sued by of­fi­cers in re­la­tion to low-level drink driv­ing.

It re­lates to in­fringe­ment no­tices is­sued to some mo­torists caught driv­ing with a blood al­co­hol con­cen­tra­tion (BAC) of be­tween 0.05 per cent and 0.07 per cent since 2007, when leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­duced dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing two cat­e­gories of the of­fence due to the age of the driver. The two cat­e­gories are: If a driver aged 26 or older with a full li­cence, and with no prior drink drive of­fence, is found to have a BAC of be­tween 0.05 per cent and 0.07 per cent, the penalty is a $443 fine and 10 de­merit points. There is no im­me­di­ate li­cence can­cel­la­tion.

If a driver aged un­der 26 with a

●●full li­cence, and with no prior drink drive of­fence, is caught with a BAC of be­tween 0.05 per cent and 0.07 per cent, it is a $443 fine, their li­cence is can­celled and they are dis­qual­i­fied from hold­ing a li­cence for six months.

The au­dit found that some po­lice of­fi­cers have ap­plied an in­cor­rect code for the of­fence when is­su­ing the in­fringe­ment, mean­ing that some driv­ers have in­cor­rectly had their li­cence can­celled.

The au­dit found that while po­lice of­fi­cers had cor­rectly pe­nalised the driv­ers for hav­ing a BAC of be­tween 0.05 per cent and 0.07 per cent and is­sued the $443 fine, since 2007:

508 driv­ers un­der 26 years of age on a full li­cence did not have their li­cences can­celled and dis­qual­i­fied when leg­is­la­tion states they should have. In­stead, 10

●de­merit points were im­posed on their li­cence.

195 driv­ers aged 26 or older had their li­cences can­celled and dis­qual­i­fied for six months when the cor­rect penalty should have been 10 de­merit points. Of this group, there are seven peo­ple cur­rently dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing who are af­fected.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice has writ­ten to VicRoads re­quest­ing them to end the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion pe­riod for the seven peo­ple cur­rently af­fected.

This will take ef­fect im­me­di­ately and the li­cences re­in­stated to­day.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice will be in con­tact with the other driv­ers who have re­ceived in­cor­rect penal­ties in the past.

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Road Polic­ing Robert Hill said the or­gan­i­sa­tion had acted im­me­di­ately when the er­ror re­gard­ing

●th­ese two cat­e­gories was dis­cov­ered. ‘‘As a mat­ter of ur­gency, we are to­day at­tempt­ing to con­tact the seven driv­ers cur­rently af­fected and we are work­ing through the other mat­ters as quickly as pos­si­ble,’’ As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Hill said.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously it’s con­cern­ing when we iden­tify a mem­ber er­ror of this na­ture.

‘‘It’s a sig­nif­i­cant re­spon­si­bil­ity and ac­tion to re­move some­one’s li­cence to drive.

‘‘We un­der­stand the im­pact this may have had on the liveli­hood of some peo­ple and have taken im­me­di­ate steps to rec­tify the sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘We have this week re-is­sued in­struc­tions to of­fi­cers, so they are clear on the leg­is­la­tion and the need to ob­serve the age of the driver when de­tected for a lowlevel drink driv­ing of­fence.

‘‘The rel­e­vant po­lice train­ing meth­ods and ed­u­ca­tion ma­te­ri­als will be re­vised.

‘‘We’ve also im­ple­mented changes to our in­ter­nal sys­tems and pro­cesses to en­sure the ac­cu­racy of the in­fringe­ment no­tice in the fu­ture.

‘‘This will in­clude a sec­ond and in­de­pen­dent man­ual check of each and ev­ery no­tice en­sur­ing the cor­rect li­cence sanc­tion has been im­posed depend­ing on the driver’s age at the time of the of­fence.’’

Vic­to­ria Po­lice has de­tected about 120 000 drink driv­ers since 2007.

A to­tal of 19 813 in­fringe­ments were is­sued for th­ese two cat­e­gories since that date and the er­ror only ap­plies to a mi­nor­ity who will be no­ti­fied by Vic­to­ria Po­lice in due course.

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