Tough new penalties for drivers who cause death

The State’s peak motoring body has welcomed the strengthening of laws which would help keep dangerous drivers off Queensland roads.

It came after new laws to increase the maximum penalties for driving offences which resulted in death or grievous bodily harm (GBH) were passed by Queensland Parliament on Wednesday.

RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said the changes, which followed State Government consultation, were an important step forward in protecting and preventing further tragedies.

“We believe the victims of families need support and understand their heartbreak when they lose someone they love in these senseless circumstances,” Mr Turner said.

“We need to take those drivers doing the wrong thing off our roads and these laws will help in doing that.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Government introduced the new laws after a review of existing maximum penalties.

“Every life lost on Queensland roads is a tragedy and community concern has been heightened understandably following a number of incidents where Queenslanders have lost loved ones at the hands of careless or dangerous drivers,” Mr Bailey said.

“After thorough consultation with stakeholders, including a number of families who have lost loved ones in road crashes, the Palaszczuk Government has passed legislation to significantly increase the penalties for certain driving offences resulting in death or GBH.”

The changes included two new offences of careless driving causing death or grievous bodily harm and careless driving causing death or grievous bodily harm while unlicensed.

Mandatory minimum licence disqualification periods would also be applied to the new offences.

Changes to penalties for driving offences leading to death or serious injury:

Careless Driving

Current max penalty – $5,046 or 6 months imprisonment (3 demerit points).  No minimum licence disqualification period.

New Offences – Careless Driving causing death or GBH

New max penalty – $10,092 or 12 months imprisonment (3 demerit points) + minimum licence disqualification period of at least 6 months.
New max penalty (with circumstances of aggravation – unlicensed) – $20, 184 or 2 years imprisonment (3 demerit points) + minimum licence disqualification of at least 6 months.

Dangerous Driving causing death or GBH

Current max penalty – 10 years imprisonment + minimum licence disqualification period 6 months
New max penalty -10 years imprisonment + minimum licence disqualification period of at least 12 months
Current max penalty (with circumstances of aggravation) – 14 years imprisonment + minimum licence disqualification period 6 months
New max penalty (with circumstances of aggravation) -14 years imprisonment + minimum licence disqualification period of at least 12 months.