Amendments to s 49AB of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) have commenced, providing for new circumstances of aggravation which have the effect of doubling the maximum penalty for the offence of dangerous driving causing death from 10 years to 20 years imprisonment.
The new circumstances of aggravation now in s 49AB(1) of the Act include:
- Excessive speed
Circumstances of aggravation include driving more than 30 kph over the applicable speed limit. Previously, the section provided for 45 kph over, but the threshold has been lowered by the amendments.
- No authority to drive
Circumstances of aggravation include the driver having ‘no authority to drive’. This includes the driver having never held a licence, having an expired licence, having been refused a licence, or being at the time of the offence disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence. The provision extends to any Australian licence, not just WA.
- Failure to comply with conditions of an extraordinary licence
Circumstances of aggravation include where the driver holds an extraordinary licence but at the time of the offence is driving in contravention of the requirements or conditions of the extraordinary licence, for example, where the driver is authorised to drive a car but at the time of the offence is riding a motorcycle.
- Failure to comply with alcohol interlock scheme
Circumstances of aggravation include the driver being required to drive a vehicle fitted with an alcohol interlock device but at the time of the offence driving a vehicle without such a device, not having the required authorisation to drive, or driving in breach of the alcohol interlock condition of an authorisation to drive.
The By Lawyers Traffic Offences – Magistrates Court (WA) guide has been updated accordingly.