Licence law change
NSW is helping disqualified drivers get back on road by rewarding compliance
❝ The new laws seek to encourage disqualified drivers to reform themselves by giving them hope of having their licence returned.
is a traffic lawyer from Armstrong Legal, with particular expertise in heavy vehicle and trucking law
SUBSTANTIAL amendments have been made to the NSW driver licensing laws.
One of the most significant changes is a new law that allows disqualified drivers to apply to the local court to have their remaining disqualifications removed after serving a prescribed offence-free period.
These amendments seek to reduce reoffending and encourage rehabilitation by giving disqualified drivers the chance to regain their licence earlier if they comply with their disqualification.
The problem with the old law was it prescribed lengthy additional disqualification periods for each occasion a person was caught driving while disqualified or suspended.
Once a disqualification was imposed it usually could not be removed.
However research showed this type of penalty provided limited motivation for offenders to reform.
The impact was particularly felt when the person relied on their ability to drive for a living.
People were faced with the dilemma of losing their livelihood or risking additional punishments by continuing to drive.
They would inevitably be caught driving and the additional disqualification periods quickly added up.
It was not uncommon for a person to be disqualified for decades, even when they had originally lost their licence for a minor traffic infringement or even paying a fine late.
The new laws seek to encourage disqualified drivers to reform themselves by giving them hope of having their licence returned.
In order to have their disqualifications removed under the new law, the person will need to demonstrate they have not committed any further offences for either two or four years depending on why the disqualifications were originally imposed. The waiting period is:
■ Four years for offences such as drink-driving, drug-driving, speeding by more than 30km/h and dangerous driving.
■ Two years for offences such as driving while suspended or disqualified.
The court will consider a range of factors in determining whether it is appropriate to reduce a person’s disqualification period.
These factors seek to balance public safety against the impact of a long disqualification on the person and any steps they have taken to demonstrate rehabilitation.
If a person has been convicted of certain serious offences they will not be entitled to apply to have their disqualifications removed early.
These include offences such as driving that causes death or grievous bodily harm.
If you believe you may be eligible to apply to have your disqualifications removed, it is recommended you seek legal advice before lodging your application.
This is because there are strict rules about what must be included in the application, as well as a limit on how soon a person can reapply if their application is rejected.
FYI: Sarah Marinovic, a traffic lawyer from Armstrong Legal, explains the NSW changes.