Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Fleeing drivers target of Police law change

Police will be given greater enforcement tools when dealing with dangerous and reckless driving under a proposed new law change, Ministers Chris Hipkins and Kiri Allan announced today.

The changes mean drivers can be disqualified for longer, have their vehicle permanentlyl seized, or the owner of the car could have their vehicle impounded if they choose not to help Police track down the driver of a fleeing vehicle.

“These changes will help Police deal with the sort of behaviour that can lead to death and injury on our roads. It’s never okay to flee from Police and put others’ lives at risk,” Police Minister Hipkins said.

“Police have told us these changes will help discourage people from fleeing, because they’re now likely to lose the vehicle for longer or for good. It also removes the protection currently afforded to the owners of the vehicle if the offender is driving someone else’s car.”

Police have this week announced an update to their operational framework for front-line decision-making around fleeing drivers.

Justice Minister Allan said the Government was committed to ensuring we bring down deaths and injury on the roads, with practical changes through legislation.

“While no law can ever stop an offender from choosing to flee, evidence indicates that the changes most likely to influence offender behaviour are those that create a greater likelihood of getting caught and then losing access to their vehicle,” she said.

“Put simply, if you choose to flee from Police then be prepared to lose your car.”

“There is a safeguard for law-abiding vehicle owners who can prove their car was stolen at the time it was impounded – appeal provisions will be built in so that the vehicle can be released.”

The changes build on the Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill, which is currently before Select Committee.

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