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Drink drivers will immediately be disqualified under tough NSW Govt legislation

An immediate three month suspension of licence will apply to first time drink drivers from 20 May in NSW.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance announced the tough new penalties which applied to lower range offenders and included a $561 fine.

The announcement comes at the onset of National Road Safety Week.

“This means anyone caught drink‐driving in NSW, at any level, including low-range, can now lose their licence immediately,” said Constance.

“This reform makes it clear if you break the law, you will pay the price. We are taking a zero-tolerance approach to drink and drug driving.”

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

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

Alcohol accounted for nearly one in five road deaths on NSW roads last year in which 68 people died.

Of these 55 were on country roads.

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

NSW Police Chief Inspector Phil Brooks told Prime Mover in an interview last year that drug testing on commercial vehicle operators would reach 200,000 by 2020 as law enforcement ramped up its efforts to curtail drug use.

"Last year across all vehicles we did close to 100,000 tests and had a return of about 9,800 or one in ten," he said.

"Compare that will alcohol which is one in 270."

The road toll stands this year in NSW was 136, an increase of 11 more deaths than for the same time last year.

Last night the Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up yellow to mark the start of National Road Safety Week in honour of the memory of the more than 1,200 lives lost on the nation’s roads each year.

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

Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Corboy said this reform will 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," he said.

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

(Image: Andrew Constance, NSW Minister for Transport and Roads).

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