Police to contact drivers
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.