ACT Labor to invest $6.8 million for more police & safer roads

ACT Labor is building a better community, one which has a strong local economy and more jobs than anywhere else in Australia.  We enjoy a high standard of living and we are investing in the future transport needs of Canberra.

ACT Labor has worked hard to improve the safety of all road users and reduce our rates of accident and injury on the road, by building better roads and through investing in more police.

ACT Labor has continued to implement measures in accordance with its road safety strategies.   We have doubled the capacity of the ACT Policing’s Road Safety Operations team’s ability to target drink driving, drug driving and unregistered/unlicensed drivers.

By providing the latest technology to target unsafe drivers on our roads and establishing the Recognition and Analysis of Plates Identified (RAPID) teams in the ACT, we are making Canberra roads even safer.  ACT Policing have also been able to recover stolen vehicles, execute warrants, issue summonses and make more arrests.

We have also provided ACT Policing with new avenues to increase safety by targeting drink driving and drug driving and ACT Labor has significantly reformed ACT drink driving laws, and provided substantial funding to ACT Policing and ACT Health to set up a random roadside drug testing program.

But there is more to do.

Alcohol continues to pose a significant road safety risk in the ACT, as in other Australian and overseas jurisdictions, with drivers continuing to be caught drink driving.  During the 2011 calendar year, approximately 1,500 drivers were caught drink driving in the ACT.

Of these 1,500 drink drivers, 33% had been caught for drink driving before and nearly 15% had recorded an alcohol concentration above 0.15, three times the legal limit of 0.05.  Statistically, repeat and high range drink drivers are at higher risk of involvement in a serious crash than non-drinking drivers.

That’s why if re-elected in 2012, ACT Labor will invest $6.8 million for a road safety operations team, 8 more police and four dedicated vehicles to help prevent fatalities and serious crashes on our roads.

This investment will also see the ACT’s first alcohol ignition interlock program to make it harder for high-risk drink driving offenders to re-offend.

Policy costings

ACT Labor will invest $5.1 million in capital and recurrent funding over four years for an additional road safety operations team and four dedicated vehicles.  We will also invest $1.7 million over four years in recurrent and capital funding to operate a user-pays alcohol interlock program for repeat high-risk drink driving re-offenders.

 

ACT Labor’s plan for more police and safer roads

Another Road safety operations team and 4 vehicles

2013-14

$m

2014-15

$m

2015-16

$m

2016-17

$m

TOTAL***

$m

Recurrent*

1.202

1.235

1.276

1.318

5.031

Capital**

0.064

-

-

-

0.064

TOTAL***

1.266

1.235

1.276

1.318

5.095

*Recurrent costs include staff costs (indexed at 3 per cent), administrative on-costs, vehicle leasing costs (indexed at 2.5 per cent) and equipment costs.

**Capital costs include purchase of RAPID equipment.

*** Figures may not total due to rounding

 

Alcohol ignition

interlock program

2013-14

$

2014-15

$

2015-16

$

2016-17

$

TOTAL***

Recurrent*

0.443

0.454

0.364

0.375

1.636

Capital**

0.100

     

0.100

TOTAL***

0.543

0.453

0.364

0.375

1.735

*Recurrent costs include staff costs (two health professionals and one ASO6 at JACS indexed at 3 per cent), therapeutic intervention, and $200,000 (over two years) for program evaluation.

**Capital costs include business system modification to the road transport database.

*** Figures may not total due to rounding

 

ACT Labor will fund an additional road safety operations team and four dedicated vehicles

ACT Labor will commit to the establishment and funding of an additional Road Safety Operations Team (RSOT) consisting of one sergeant and seven constables working on a flexible rotating roster.

The road safety operations team will be used to conduct road-side operations targeting drink driving, drug driving and unregistered/unlicensed drivers.  The officers will target unsafe driving behaviour and work to prevent fatalities and serious collisions in the ACT.  ACT Labor will also provide for the lease and fit-out of four dedicated vehicles with RAPID technology.

 

Why do we need more RAPID teams?

In July 2010, the ACT Labor Government launched a Recognition and Analysis of Plates Identified (RAPID) team, which started operation in August 2010.  In February 2012, ACT Policing amalgamated the RAPID Team and Random Roadside Drug Testing Team (RRDT) to form the Road Safety Operations Team (RSOT).

The RAPID system includes an infrared video camera that instantaneously identifies whether vehicles are unregistered, stolen, owned by suspended or unlicensed drivers, or associated with persons wanted on warrant.  As well as using the RAPID equipment, the team focuses on general road safety which includes heavy vehicle regulation, and targets general driver behaviour which includes speeding and unsafe driving behaviours.

 

ACT Labor will fund an alcohol ignition interlock program

A re-elected ACT Labor Government will amend the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977 and related legislation to provide for an alcohol ignition interlock program in the ACT.  This reform will ensure that participating in an alcohol interlock program is mandatory for high-risk drink driving offenders. High-risk drink drivers include high range and habitual offenders.

All high risk drink driving offenders will be required to undergo a pre-sentencing assessment by the Court Alcohol and Drug Assessment Service.  The Court would then consider the assessment, and may make a treatment order in relation to the offender.  The treatment component and the interlock program will be complementary approaches to assist offenders to learn to separate drinking and driving behaviours, particularly for those who have alcohol dependency issues.

The targeted alcohol interlock program will be administered by the road transport authority and, as well as requiring mandatory participation by high-risk drivers, will offer the option of voluntary participation for special licence holders, low and mid range drink driving offenders.

The program will operate on a user pays (cost recovery) basis for the alcohol interlock component, with some level of cross-subsidy to assist participants facing financial hardship.

 

How will the alcohol ignitions interlock program work?

The introduction of a targeted interlock program would complement the significant reforms the ACT Labor Government has made to ACT drink driving legislation to improve road safety measures.

Alcohol remains one of the most common factors leading to road crashes and road deaths in the ACT and this new program will lead to a further reduction in drink driving in repeat offenders.

Interlocks have the potential to reduce the road safety risk posed by drink drivers to themselves and other road users by preventing a driver from starting, or continuing to operate, a vehicle fitted with an interlock device if the driver has a specified concentration of alcohol present in his or her breath.

An interlock is a breath test device connected to the ignition of a vehicle to stop it from starting, or continuing to operate, if the driver has a specified concentration of alcohol present in his or her breath.  If the driver fails the breath test the ignition system is locked for a certain period before the driver can take another test. Interlocks can be fitted to almost any type of motor vehicle.

Interlock programs for drink driving offenders currently operate in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory, with Western Australia and Tasmania committing to introducing an interlock program shortly. Overseas, interlock programs operate in Canada, in many States in the United States and in some European countries.

Research shows that a substantial proportion of drink drivers, particularly recidivist offenders, are not responsive to mainstream deterrence measures due to underlying alcohol abuse and broader social problems.

The introduction of an interlock program, integrated with therapeutic intervention, can contribute to prolonged and sustainable changes in behaviour which reduce the risk of further drink driving.