Committing a major traffic offence for the second or third time does not automatically make you a habitual offender—the conviction for these three offences must have occured within the span of five years from each other in order for you to be declared a habitual traffic offender under the Road Transport (General) Act.
A major driving offence is one where death or grievous bodily harm results. If you drive furiously or recklessly, that is also a major traffic offence. Driving in a manner or at a speed that is dangerous to the public is also a major traffic offence. Driving menacingly and engaging in predatory driving are both major traffic offences.
Alcohol and drug related driving offences are also major traffic offences. Among these are driving under the influence of drug or alcohol, driving with the prescribed concentration of alcohol, refusing to undergo a breath analysis or a drug test. Included in the list of offences for which you can be declared a habitual offender under section 198- 203 of the Road Transport (General) Act are: driving in excess of 45 km/h beyond the designated speed limit; driving whilst disqualified, driving for a second time without ever having been licensed; and conviction for similar offences in other states.
If you commit any three of these major traffic offences within the span of five years, you will be declared a habitual traffic offender. You do not need to commit one of the major traffic offences three times in a row. You can commit any three of these major traffic offences and be declared a habitual traffic offender.
If you commit one type of offence for a second or third time, the penalties that will be imposed upon you will necessarily be higher and more severe. Once you are declared a habitual traffic offender, your disqualification from driving will be for a period of five years. The five year disqualification will not take effect until after all other periods of disqualification (which have imposed consequent to the second and third convictions) have been served.
For example, if you have been penalized with disqualification for 12 months for driving with prescribed concentration of alcohol and later on you are penalized again with 12 months’ disqualification for driving in excess of 45 km/h beyond the designated speed limit; and yet again, you were penalized with disqualification for 12 months for driving whilst disqualified; and these three convictions all occurred within the span of five years, you will have to finish serving the 36 months of disqualification before you can be considered to be serving the five year disqualification.
That will make a total of eight years’ disqualification! And we are talking about just the penalty of disqualification – we have not even considered the fines or the penalty of imprisonment which you will probably be slapped with.