New “Traveller” road laws are as clear as mud

The Baillieu Government’s weak attempt to claim it’s working to make the state’s roads safer has unravelled, with its Road Safety Bill to have significant unintended consequences for Victorian drivers, it was revealed today.

Shadow Minister for Road Safety James Merlino said the Government’s attempt to rush a Bill through Parliament to stop drivers having a “traveller” during a car trip had left Victorians utterly confused about what they can and can’t do on and off the road.

“A senior Upper House Minister conceded in committee today that someone can be fined for drinking alcohol, even though they are not intoxicated, not driving and not instructing a learner,” Mr Merlino said.

“Under this change our police will have to be mind readers. If someone is walking to their car with a set of keys and a can of beer in their hands, police will have to decide if they
intend to drive. It’s impossible.

“Victorians are still no clearer about what they can and can’t do this Christmas.”

Mr Merlino said the Bill was nothing more than a thought-bubble from the Premier, and was rushed into Parliament without any real consultation and work needed to deliver real improvements to road safety.

“Key stakeholders and expert groups such as the Transport Accident Commission and the Monash University Accident Research Centre were not even advised of the Bill, let alone able to contribute to it,” he said.

“By failing to have this Bill properly considered, it’s been revealed that Victorians may in fact find themselves with a hefty fine over Christmas if they finish a light beer when they’re walking back to the car, perhaps as a designated driver, after a Christmas or family BBQ.

“If this Bill is so important, then the Government should have spent the time speaking to stakeholders and getting the drafting right. 

“But only after questioning in Parliament was the real impact of the law changes exposed.

“Road safety is too important to do on the run – it takes time, energy, funding and collaboration to deliver reductions to the road toll, to improve driver education and behaviour, and to prevent collisions, injury and road trauma.

“We want to see the Government delivering initiatives that will save lives on our roads, but we don’t want a Government rushing through laws that have not been thought through.”