Ministry looking into drink driving loophole
The Transport Ministry is looking into loopholes that allow some drink driving offenders to return to driving without treatment for alcohol addiction and could report back as early as this week.Convicted drink-drivers given an indefinite licence suspensio
The Transport Ministry is looking into loopholes that allow some drink driving offenders to return to driving without treatment for alcohol addiction and could report back as early as this week.
Convicted drink-drivers given an indefinite licence suspension can apply to have their licences returned after a year and a day but have to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and liver tests. If they fail, they must complete treatment.
However, a New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman confirmed no assessment was needed for people who had completed disqualifications for a specified period - a sentence which is still often applied to those guilty of more serious offending.
A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Steven Joyce told NZPA he had asked the ministry to look into the situation urgently.
Mr Joyce only became aware of the situation late last week.
There was already a review into strengthening penalties for drivers who were involved in a crash that caused serious injury or death.
However, that review did not extend to licence suspension for drink drivers.
Rather than delay the current review Mr Joyce has asked for the matter to be looked at separately, the spokeswoman said.
A initial report was expected this week.
Alac manager strategy and research Andrew Hearn said the provisions for indefinite disqualification only captured a relatively small group of serious and recidivist offenders.
"We know that when people are pulled up for the first time for drink driving it's usually not the first time they have driven drunk and driving drunk is often a symptom of alcohol abuse," Dr Hearn said.
"We think it would be useful if a wider range of drink/drivers were exposed to alcohol and drug assessment."
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