Learner instructors now face alcohol restrictions

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

A loophole which allowed learner drivers to be supervised by someone under the influence of alcohol has been closed and South West police are warning instructors of the new legislation.

The warning comes as a number of instructors – including mums and dads – were tested over the Christmas and New Year period and were close to being over the limit, according to traffic officer-in-charge Sgt Craig Clarke.

New rules were only passed in November last year after Western Australia was the last State in the country to make it compulsory for instructors to have either zero alcohol in their system or be below 0.05g.

Instructors are now subject to the same drug and alcohol tests as the drivers they are teaching and under the Road Traffic Act must have a blood alcohol content below 0.05g.

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Sgt Clarke said he welcomed the new legislation, but it should also be “common sense” for instructors.

He also said while conducting roadside tests recently, he had not spoken to anyone that was aware of the new rules.

“If you’re teaching someone to drive, you have to be cognitive to what’s going on around you,” Sgt Clarke said.

“You can’t really do that if you’re under the influence of any substance.”

The new legislation also makes it illegal for an instructor to have an illicit drug in their system.

Sgt Clarke said instructors had a big responsibility, which should not be taken lightly.

“It’s the most important process someone will go through at a very early age,” he said.

“It’s like a teacher teaching students – they can’t go to school with alcohol in their system.

“It inhibits your ability to teach.”

Under existing rules, WA learner drivers must have a zero blood alcohol content.

Police Minister Liza Harvey previously said the “anomaly” was unacceptable.

“This package of amendments sends a clear message to the community that road safety is a serious issue for the Government and the community,” Ms Harvey said.

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