Under new laws that came in late last year, the minimum penalty for reckless driving while escaping pursuit is 6 months imprisonment which cannot be suspended and the offender’s driver’s licence will be subject to mandatory disqualification.
Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney has congratulated the Liberal-led State Government on statistics released today showing in the first 12 months of the new police pursuit legislation 113 offenders have received minimum mandatory jail terms of six months.
Mr Blayney said the State Government introduced police pursuits legislation last year because it was concerned about the reckless driving behaviour on our roads by those who engage police in high speed chases, and by doing so, put the lives of police and countless road users at risk.
“What I am most pleased about is that as a result of these laws 113 dangerous drivers have been removed from our roads and placed behind bars,” Mr Blayney said.
“This is another instance of the Liberal-led State Government’s commitment to ensuring that drivers who killed or injured road users or drove recklessly while fleeing police would receive mandatory minimum jail terms.”
Another aspect of the legislation was to protect police involved in a police pursuit. The defence for police in the State Government’s legislation was the strongest of its kind in Australia.
For the current defence to apply, the officer must be:
•driving on official duty as a member of WA Police
•acting substantially in accordance with the Police Commissioner’s policy and guidelines relating to the driving
•driving reasonably in the circumstances and in the public interest.
Section 60 of the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2012 which covers Reckless driving – the maximum term of imprisonment is unvaried but the maximum financial penalty is increased to $6000 for a first offence, $9000 for a second offence and $12,000 for a third or subsequent offence.
If the offence is committed while escaping pursuit, the maximum penalty is 5 years on indictment or 2 years summarily. The minimum penalty is 6 months imprisonment which cannot be suspended and the offender’s driver’s licence will be subject to mandatory disqualification.