Drink-driving laws: Licence suspended and $561 fine for low-range drink driving

NEW RULES: There will be an immediate loss of licence for all drink drivers in NSW from today. Photo: FILE
NEW RULES: There will be an immediate loss of licence for all drink drivers in NSW from today. Photo: FILE

FROM midnight on Monday, anyone caught drink driving on NSW roads will immediately lose their licence.

From May 20, even first-times low-range drink drivers will receive an immediate three-month licence suspension and fine of $561 under tough new penalties.

The laws were passed through state parliament last September in another bid to tackle the state's road toll.

Roads Minister Andrew Constance said the reforms reflected a zero-tolerance approach to drink and drug driving.

"This reform makes it clear if you break the law, you will pay the price," he said.

Under the new laws, simpler and more certain penalties will also apply for drug drivers.

Alcohol-related crashes claimed the lives of at least 68 people on NSW roads last year, accounting for nearly one-in-five road deaths. Those deaths included 55 lives lost on country roads.

Offenders who drive with the presence of illicit drugs for the first time will receive a $561 fine and a three-month licence suspension if the offence is confirmed by laboratory analysis.

Fatalities from crashes involving a drug driver accounted for similar numbers of deaths.

Mr Constance said drivers who have an illegal level of alcohol in their blood or have used illegal drugs had "no place on the road".

Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Corboy said the reforms would help protect all road users by ensuring swift and certain penalties.

"Alcohol is one of the major factors in crashes that kill or injure people on NSW roads," Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

"The 0.05 blood alcohol limit has been in place for almost 38 years. There are no more excuses."

Key points

  • On-the-spot $561 penalty, plus a 3 month licence suspension for low range drink driving and drug driving first offences.
  • Expansion of the alcohol interlock program to mid-range drink drivers.
  • Vehicle sanctions for high risk, repeat offenders - in addition to other penalties - including licence plate confiscation and vehicle impoundment.

Who remembers this classic RBT community service announcement?