A new law has been introduced by the New Zealand Government that will allow Police to crack down on fleeing drivers.
Justice and Associate Transport Minister Kiri Allan made the announcement that the Land Transport (Road Safety) Amendment Bill will allow Police to seize and impound a vehicle for six months if a driver fails to stop.
It also states that a vehicle can be impounded if the registered owner fails to provide information about a fleeing driver in order to “prevent a threat to road safety”, removing the protection currently given to owners of a vehicle if the offender is behind the wheel of someone else’s car.
Another change sees the period of license disqualification increase to anywhere between 12 months and 24 months after a second conviction for a failing to stop offence.
Finally, Courts are now able to order a vehicle to be forfeited upon conviction for a failing to stop offence.
“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,” Allan said.
“These new tools make it clear that drivers, vehicle owners or people obstructing Police’s work will face serious consequences.”
Each of the changes are said to build on the Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill passed in March, which gave Police more power to seize and impound vehicles under a wider range of offences.
Vehicle owners who can prove their car was stolen at the time it was impounded will be able to get it back thanks to a safeguard in the legislation.
Police Minister Ginny Andersen made it certain that a clear message is being sent to fleeing drivers thanks to the new rule changes, commenting, “you are now more likely to be caught and face the consequences.”
“We are giving Police the resources, the legislation, and the tools to keep these dangerous drivers off our roads,” she added.
The Land Transport (Road Safety) Amendment Bill will have its first reading in Parliament soon and passed before the upcoming election later this year.