Pursuant to the Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Road Safety) Bill 2018, several changes to the laws will commence on 1 July 2018. The below is a summary of the main areas of change.
Currently, the police can perform roadside drug testing for THC, speed and ecstasy. The police will now be testing NSW drivers for cocaine on roadside tests.
Driving under the influence (DUI)
DUI offences are separate offences to driving with prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) offences. DUI offences are usually laid when PCA offences don’t apply (for example when the driver of the motor vehicle is on his or her own premises). From 1 July 2018, the maximum penalties upon conviction for DUI offences will markedly increase. For a first offence, from the current 9 months to 18 months, and a fine from $2,200 to 3,300. The automatic disqualification period will also increase from 12 months to 3 years. These penalties increase if it is a second offence. Under the amended section 224, police will be able to issue an immediate licence suspension notice applying until the charge is heard in court.
Mobile phone use
It is currently an offence under the NSW Road Rules 2014 to use a mobile phone while the driver’s vehicle is moving, or stationary (but not parked). The new laws allow police to use new camera technology to catch drivers using their phones while driving.