Tougher penalties for fleeing drivers

Stuff reports:

Drivers fleeing police have injured dozens of innocent bystanders and police officers officers, a new report shows, amid a proposal for harsher consequences.

A crackdown on fleeing drivers is proposed in a Bill introduced to Parliament this week by Transport Minister Simon Bridges, and includes penalties of up to two years’ disqualification from driving for failing to stop for police.

The move comes as new Ministry of Transport figures show 582 people were injured by fleeing drivers in the past five  years. Of those. 82 were innocent bystanders and 51 were police officers.

You need more than disqualification. Those who flee are probably disqualified anyway.

The bill also proposes to strengthen courts’ powers to confiscate fleeing drivers’ vehicles permanently if they offend twice within four years.

A good idea. But how about a short sharp punishment. You flee, and you automatically have at least a week in jail.

Victoria University criminologist Professor John Pratt has questioned the logic of imposing harsher penalties – when the point of fleeing police is generally to avoid punishment.

By this logic there should be no penalty at all.

“I don’t think it will have much effect on these particular cases because people who do these sorts of things for the most part are likely to be young men who don’t have much to lose in the first place.”

Pratt suggested making it harder to steal cars and preventing problem drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place was likely to be more effective.

And how do you do that? Equip every car in NZ with a DNA sensor?


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