Drug driving is a contributing factor in around 40 per cent of road fatalities nationwide, according to data published in a Queensland University of Technology report.
Despite the NSW Government cracking down on drug/drink driving by enforcing new penalties (which are due to roll out on May 20, 2019), careless drivers are still choosing to get behind the wheel when under the influence.
This was evident in a recent case brought before the District Court of NSW. But what was the outcome?
Background of the motor vehicle incident
On the afternoon of July 9, 2017, the victim was driving his motorcycle with a group of friends in Penrith. They were travelling in single file in a westerly direction at around 60 kilometres per hour. The victim was at the rear of the group.
At the same time, the offender was driving his utility vehicle in an easterly direction along the same round in Penrith. As he drove his vehicle along a straight section of the road, he crossed double, unbroken dividing lines between the eastbound and westbound lanes. In doing so, he collided with the victim's motorcycle.
The man was thrown from his motorcycle and fell onto the grass shoulder at the side of the road. The offender's utility vehicle mounted the curb and collided with a fence about 30 metres further down the road.
The offender exited his vehicle and walked away from the collision scene. A number of witnesses stopped to assist the victim and contacted emergency services, where they gave police a description of the offender.
Police were able to locate the offender walking along a side street about 200 metres away from the collision scene. He appeared to be intoxicated and told police he was at his cousin's house at the time of the incident. Police arrested the man and took him to a hospital where blood and urine tests were taken.
What happened following the incident?
As a result of the collision, the victim suffered a near complete amputation of his right leg, a fractured wrist and skull, and minor bleeding in his brain.
The offender's blood and urine samples revealed he was under the influence of cocaine, MDMA and a number of other drugs – all of which significantly impaired his driving ability.
What did the court decide?
Despite the severity of the incident, the court concluded the offender had no prior offences, had never been sentenced and had shown interest in rehabilitation. However, it did decide that immediate imprisonment was necessary. As such, the offender was sentenced to six months imprisonment and was suspended from driving.
If you've been injured as a result of another's negligent driving, it's important to enlist the help of an expert legal team to ensure the right steps are taken. Get in touch with the motor vehicle accident lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners to see how we can help.