Flee Police, lose your ride: new law to crack down on fleeing drivers

Justice Police Transport
  • Allow Police to seize and impound a vehicle for a period of six months if it fails to stop
  • Allow Police to seize and impound a vehicle if the registered owner fails to provide information about a fleeing driver and impounding the vehicle is necessary to prevent a threat to road safety
  • Increases the period of licence disqualification from 12 months to between 12 months and 24 months after a second conviction for a failing to stop offence
  • Allow the Courts to order that a vehicle be forfeited on conviction for a failing to stop offence.

The Government is delivering on its promise to crack down on dangerous and reckless drivers who flee police and put innocent lives at risk, Justice and Associate Transport Minister Kiri Allan announced today.

The Land Transport (Road Safety) Amendment Bill has been introduced to Parliament, and once passed will mean drivers can be disqualified for longer, have their vehicle taken away for good, or the owner of the car could have their vehicle impounded if they intentionally withhold information which could help Police track down the driver of a fleeing vehicle.

“Fleeing drivers put innocent lives at risk every day. Those who recklessly attempt to evade the law need to be held to account and we’re ensuring there are increased and serious consequences for this behaviour,” Kiri Allan said.

“These new tools make it clear that drivers, vehicle owners or people obstructing Police’s work will face serious consequences.

“The Bill proposes to take vehicles off people for up to six months and imposes greater punishments for people who flee Police. It also removes the protection currently afforded to the owners of the vehicle if the offender is driving someone else’s car,” Kiri Allan said.

These changes build on the Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill passed in March, which expanded the range of offences where Police can seize and impound cars, motorbikes, and other vehicles.

“While no laws will ever be able to deter all fleeing drivers, this new legislation, coupled with Police's pending new framework to re-balance decision-making around when they choose to pursue, sends a strong, clear warning to fleeing drivers: you are now more likely to be caught and face  the consequences,” Police Minister Ginny Andersen said.

“We are giving Police the resources, the legislation, and the tools to keep these dangerous drivers off our roads,” Ginny Andersen said.

The legislation contains a safeguard that ensures vehicle owners who can prove their car was stolen at the time it was impounded will be able to get it back.

This bill is one of a suite of measures focusing on tackling crime, many with a focus on youth offending. The latest statistics show us the measures are working well, with 82 percent of children referred to Kotahi te Whakaaro programme not reoffending.

The Land Transport (Road Safety) Amendment Bill will have its first reading shortly and will be passed before the election.