NSW is coming down harder on drink-drivers

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The NSW government plans to introduce harsher on-the-spot penalties for drink-drivers.

Under the new rules which Roads Minister Melinda Pavey put to Parliament on Wednesday, first-time low-range drink-drivers in NSW will be fined $561, up from $482, and have their licences suspended for three months.

Those who choose to fight the low-range charge in court could risk facing a maximum penalty of $2,200.

Mid-range offenders will be forced to have a breath-test device fitted to their car for two years.

If a mid-range drink-driver is caught twice within a five-year period they may have their numberplate confiscated, vehicle impounded, or face total forfeiture.

Currently, more than 50% of first-time offenders receive no fine or recorded conviction.

Pavey says the new rules will act as a stronger deterrent.

“Studies have found an increase in crash risk of around four times at the lower end of middle range up to 0.08 blood alcohol content [BAC] compared with unimpaired driving,” she says. “At the high end, near 0.15 BAC, the crash risk rises steeply to around 12 times.

“An added benefit of these initiatives will be the substantial reduction in matters automatically referred to the NSW Local Court, which will reduce pressure on court resources. Police attendance at court to provide evidence in these types of matters is also expected to be reduced, which will give time back to high visibility, on-road policing.”

The changes are expected to begin in May 2019, if passed into law.

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