Thousands of motorists continuing to drive while licences are disqualified: SA-BEST investigation reveals
Some of South Australia’s worst motorists - some of whom have killed or injured innocent people - are continuing to be menaces on our roads because they continue to drive while their licence is disqualified, a special investigation by SA-BEST has revealed.
In one horrifying case, a motorist was reported or arrested 43 times over a 12-month period for driving while disqualified.
In 12 other separate instances, drivers were busted driving while their licences were disqualified 22 times or more over a five-year period from 2015/16.
Further, 6570 drivers were reported or arrested for driving while disqualified between two and five times over the same period of time.
The startling statistics were uncovered as part of a Freedom of Information application to SAPOL by SA-BEST MLC and Transport and Infrastructure spokesperson, Frank Pangallo.
“These figures are totally outrageous and quite rightly should infuriate the community,” Frank said.
“It’s evident our judicial system isn’t being tough enough when it comes to dealing with disqualified drivers who deliberately choose to serially offend,” he said.
“They shouldn’t be on our roads endangering the lives of others - they should be locked up.
“How can thousands of disqualified motorists be caught multiple times and get away with it? How are they able to get behind the wheel so many times?
“For one driver to be caught 43 times in one year is a flagrant disregard for the law and proves our system is failing us and the police who catch them.
“These reckless idiots are on par with hoon drivers and are putting innocent lives at risk.
“We now need to consider tougher penalties for the worst serial offenders as well as confiscating vehicles and property.
“These irresponsible cretins need to be more severely punished because it’s obvious they are not being deterred by the current penalties they have received.
“We have seen some horrific accidents on our roads. We need to ensure that everybody is obeying the law. If they are not, they need to have the book thrown at them.”
Under current laws, a person found guilty of driving while disqualified faces a maximum of six months in jail for the first offence and two years' imprisonment for subsequent offending.
SA-BEST plans to meet with SAPOL soon to discuss the issue and to find out what the State Government intends to do about addressing this “blatant and dangerous activity”.
It is also calling on the Attorney General, Vickie Chapman, to reveal how many of the offenders have been jailed for the habitual offending and what fines remain outstanding.
The SAPOL statistics also revealed more than 8000 (8105) motorists were either reported or arrested in 2019/20 for driving a vehicle while their licence was suspended.
This compares with 7889 drivers in 2015/16.
SA-BEST MLC and Attorney General spokesperson, Connie Bonaros, said she was horrified by the findings.
“These disturbing statistics should serve as a salient road safety message as it’s a well-known fact disqualified have killed and/or seriously injured innocent people on our roads,” Connie said.
“Rightly so there is growing community anger and frustration at this flagrant disregard for the law,” she said.
“I want to know the severity of the penalties handed out to these people.
“It beggars belief a person caught more than 20 times for driving while disqualified is still able to get behind the wheel of a car.
“It’s an outrage and the government must immediately move to fix the problem.”