Driver licensing legislation change
10 April 2019
The Department of Transport and Main Roads has recently undertaken a review of the special hardship order (SHO) scheme under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management — Driver Licensing) Regulation 2010 (the Regulation). As a result of this review, regulatory amendments were progressed to remove the maximum 21 day application period for a SHO.
From 1 April 2019, the application period for suspended drivers seeking a SHO was removed. The amendment provides flexibility by taking into account that a suspended driver may experience a change in circumstances that would require them to apply for a SHO at any point during their licence suspension period. A driver on a suspended licence can now apply for a SHO at any point in time during their suspension.
Section 106(1) of the Regulation allows a person who has a suspended open or provisional licence to apply for a SHO if they fulfil the eligibility requirements. This provision has not changed, and strict eligibility requirements will still need to be met to help ensure road safety. However, section 107(2)(a) which currently provides that an application for a SHO must be lodged at a Magistrates Court within 21 clear days of the suspension start date has been amended to omit the prescribed 21 day limit.
Please note though that section 112 of the Regulation remains unamended. This means that irrespective of how many days that the applicant’s licence has been suspended before the application for the SHO was made, the duration of the SHO must be the equivalent to the initial suspension period. In other words, the period of suspension served before applying for the SHO does not affect the length of the SHO.
The amendment was contained in the Photo Identification Card Regulation 2019, pursuant to sections 2 and 18.