More flexibility in small passenger services, mandatory alcohol interlock sentences, and tougher penalties for fleeing drivers will all become law following the passing of the Land Transport Amendment Bill today, says Transport Minister and Tauranga MP Simon Bridges.
The Bill aims to promote better regulation, improved safety, and greater economic growth and productivity.
“New technologies are rapidly emerging, so we need to ensure we have the right regulations in place to allow innovation to thrive while managing safety risks,” says Simon.
“Smartphone apps and other advances in technology have changed how the small passenger service sector can operate.
“This Bill creates a single, simple category for all small passenger services, provides greater flexibility for emerging business models and encourages innovation, while ensuring safety for drivers and passengers.
“This Bill also improves safety for road users by simplifying the law relating to alcohol interlocks, and creating more effective deterrents to drivers fleeing from police.
“Alcohol interlocks are very effective as a public safety measure because they physically prevent an offender driving after drinking. This keeps the driver, their passengers and other road users safe.
“We'll also see changes to clamp down on fleeing drivers and fare evaders.
Crashes involving a fleeing driver where people have been killed or injured have nearly doubled from 60 in 2012 to 117 in 2016, says Simon. Increasing the penalties for fleeing drivers sends a clear message the behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
The new Bill also give enforcement officers new powers to more effectively deal with fare evaders, which he says is a growing problem.
“Fare evaders increase the costs of public transport for paying passengers, as well as taxpayers and ratepayers who subsidise these services. It undermines the integrity of the ticketing systems used and the effectiveness of public transport generally,” says Simon.