Loophole closes for P-platers

By ED SOUTHORN

DRINK driving P-platers from the Gold Coast will no longer be able to exploit a loophole in NSW laws on the Tweed.

NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal said an amendment had been introduced into state parliament yesterday enforcing a zero blood alcohol limit for visiting learner and provisional drivers. Special signs and electronic message boards in Tweed Heads will advise young drivers from Queensland of the zero-tolerance laws.

"Novice drivers have a zero blood alcohol limit because they are over represented in drink drive fatal crashes," Mr Roozendaal said. "This amendment means visiting learner and provisional drivers must have a zero blood alcohol content to drive in NSW.

"It's about keeping all young drivers on our roads safe."

Mr Roozendaal said a community education campaign would be run by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority to alert all drivers to the tightened laws.

An RTA spokesman said it was expected the new laws would be in place by the end of the year.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest in June said he had lodged a Private Member's Bill to close the young driver loophole, which had occurred when NSW reduced the alcohol limit for NSW young drivers from 0.02 per cent to zero.

Mr Provest said a drafting error in the original NSW legislation meant the limit for interstate P-platers driving in NSW actually rose from 0.02 per cent to the adult limit of 0.05 per cent.

He said a drink-driving conviction against a P-plater in Albury had been overturned because the young driver held a Victorian licence.

Mr Roozendaal's spokesman yesterday told the Daily News the NSW government had announced before the state election in March that it was going to close the loophole, and Mr Provest's Private Member's Bill had failed to gain support.



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