New driving law expected to pass

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

Parliament will vote on the third and final reading of a bill addressing drugged driving, and also a new law surrounding access to car registration details.

Although it is against the law to drive after using drugs, there is limited testing and has been difficult to prosecute.

The Land Transport Amendment Bill would make it illegal to drive while impaired by drugs, would allow police to conduct a roadside impairment test if drug use is suspected, and allow police to require a blood test.

It will also allow police to test and prosecute offenders in much the same way as drunk drivers.

A driver would be considered impaired if they had taken a class A drug like cocaine or methamphetamine or a class B drug like cannabis oil, hashish or morphine.

But it does not include a class of sedative drugs called benzodiazapines which are available on prescription.

The bill also tightens and restricts public access to car registration details. Currently it’s a free for all, with car owners’ vehicle and personal details available for a nominal fee.

The new law will restrict access to personal details and subject the information to privacy principles.

If the bill passes today, the new drug driving laws will be in force by December.