Mum welcomes tougher crash laws but is cautious
CARELESS drivers who cause fatal crashes could face up two years imprisonment and more than $20,000 in fines as tougher maximum penalties are proposed by the Palaszczuk Government.
The proposal comes after local siblings Sarah and Daniel Walker were killed in a fiery crash near Tiaro in May.
The family of the siblings and Trisha Mabley, the mother of Peter Mabley who survived the same crash, recently set up the Walkers Law online petition to fight for a change to the current penalties.
Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government had proposed the significant increases following a review of existing maximum penalties.
"Every life lost on Queensland roads is a tragedy and community concern has been heightened understandably recently following the crash that killed siblings Sarah and Daniel Walker outside Tiaro in April," Mr Bailey said.
"This was a tragedy which claimed the life of two family members and left two other passengers seriously injured and I extend my sincere sympathies to everyone affected by this crash.
The driver was fined $3000 and disqualified from driving for three months after being convicted of careless driving.
"After consulting with the Walker family and other families whose loved ones have been killed in road crashes, the Palaszczuk Government has reviewed the penalties for certain driving offences resulting in death or grievous bodily harm," Mr Bailey said.
The changes include proposed mandatory minimum licence disqualification periods and an increase to the maximum penalty for offences causing death or grievous bodily harm.
Trisha Mabley said she and the Walker family were "very happy but reluctant" with the news.
"I am excited but still apprehensive about it," she said.
"I still would have preferred a loss of licence if you kill someone for driving dangerously.
"At the end of the day jail time is good but it is not helping the community."
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said people power had been behind the move for the tougher penalties.
"We obviously want to thank the family for their continued dedication of trying to get something done," he said.
"They've encouraged the government to get on with the job after two years of delays."
Last week, it was revealed Shadow Attorney General Ian Walker had written to his counterpart Yvette D'Ath in 2015 to ask for stricter rules for careless drivers following a fatal crash in Mackay.
The LNP claims their request fell on deaf ears.
Mr Bennett said the families involved and the members of the public who signed an online petition for new laws should be thanked.
"It's a great victory for people power," he said.
"I think the community will accept this broadly."
Mr Bennett said he hoped the laws would never have to be used, and that drivers would take care so that no more families would have to endure the pain of losing their loved ones.
The final minimum licence disqualification periods which will be six months or more for Careless Driving offences and twelve months or more for Dangerous Driving offences will be determined following further consultation before the Road Safety Bill is introduced to Parliament.
Careless driving causing death or GBH
. Current max penalty - $5,046 or six months' imprisonment (three demerit points). No minimum licence disqualification period.
. Proposed max penalty - $10,092 or 12 months' imprisonment (three demerit points) + minimum licence disqualification period of at least six months.
. Proposed max penalty (with circumstances of aggravation) - $20,184 or two years' imprisonment and a minimum licence disqualification of at least six months.
Dangerous driving causing death or GBH
. Current max penalty - 10 years' imprisonment + minimum licence disqualification period six months
. Proposed max penalty -10 years' imprisonment + minimum licence disqualification period of at least 12 months
. Current max penalty (with circumstances of aggravation) - 14 years imprisonment + minimum licence disqualification period six months
. Proposed max penalty (with circumstances of aggravation) -14 years imprisonment + minimum licence disqualification period of at least 12 months.