The Land Transport (Road Safety) Amendment Bill has been introduced to Parliament. If passed, it will mean tough new measures for dangerous and reckless drivers who flee police.
Justice and Associate Transport Minister, Kiri Allan said fleeing drivers put innocent lives at risk every day.
“Those who recklessly attempt to evade the law need to be held to account and we’re ensuring there are increased and serious consequences for this behaviour,” the Minister said.
The Bill proposes to take vehicles off people for up to six months and imposes greater punishments for people who flee Police. It also removes the protection currently afforded to the owners of the vehicle if the offender is driving someone else’s car.
“These new tools make it clear that drivers, vehicle owners or people obstructing Police’s work will face serious consequences,” said Ms Allan.
The changes build on the Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill passed in March, which expanded the range of offences where Police can seize and impound cars, motorbikes, and other vehicles.
“While no laws will ever be able to deter all fleeing drivers, this new legislation, coupled with Police’s pending new framework to re-balance decision-making around when they choose to pursue, sends a strong, clear warning to fleeing drivers: you are now more likely to be caught and face the consequences,” said Police Minister, Ginny Andersen.
“We are giving Police the resources, the legislation, and the tools to keep these dangerous drivers off our roads,” she said.
The legislation contains a safeguard that ensures vehicle owners who can prove their car was stolen at the time it was impounded will be able to get it back.
This Bill is one of a suite of measures focusing on tackling crime, many with a focus on youth offending. The latest statistics show us the measures are working well, with 82% of children referred to Kotahi te Whakaaro programme not reoffending.
The Land Transport (Road Safety) Amendment Bill will have its first reading shortly and will be passed before the election, Minister Allan said.