Demerit points and your rights
The Wheels of Justice with Hall and Co Solicitors:
FOR members of the Queensland transport industry, unlike just about any other industry, the need to be a holder of a current driver's license is a necessity to earn a living.
On a Queensland highway recently I overheard a conversation on the two-way radio between drivers talking about a friend who was the subject of an accumulation of demerit points and was subsequently placed on a good behaviour period of 1 point for 12 months. During that time he lost that point and as a result he lost his license for a number of months. Obviously, for a truck driver this is a catastrophic scenario.
Sadly this story is a common one, given the tens of thousands of kilometres drivers cover in the course of their employment and of even more concern is that there are drivers who are not aware of their legal rights. With proper legal advice many of these drivers may be able to keep their licences and keep on driving and earning a living.
The law relating to driver licensing and demerit points in Queensland provides for a number of scenarios. In the situation referred to above, the driver may have been eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order to allow him to continue to drive in the course of his employment rather than having to go through the stress and embarrassment of trying to find a way to earn an income whilst suspended. There are strict time limits as to when you are allowed to make such an application and a number of factors that must be taken into account to determine whether an application of this type can proceed but with proper legal advice and the preparation of necessary evidence it is a very achievable outcome.
So if you are worried that you or a friend is going to lose your licence, speak to a lawyer before you lose all hope.
GUY McEntyre is managing law clerk and director of Hall & Co Solicitors, a law firm that specialises in issues relating to the transport industry.
Guy has always been hooked on trucks and has been lucky enough to provide legal services for owner-drivers and corporate fleets performing all manner of legal work including traffic, criminal, debt recovery, general litigation and claims associated with property damage and personal injuries relating to traffic accidents.
Guy is the founder and organiser of the Mt Gravatt Truck Show which has grown significantly since its commencement and is a star attraction of the annual Mt Gravatt Show. Phone the firm on (07)32193830.