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Drunk and dangerous drivers in New South Wales will be subject to harsher penalties if they commit crimes with children in their cars.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell confirmed the introduction of tougher penalties yesterday.

Mr O’Farrell said the Crimes Act will be amended to classify the presence of children as an ‘aggravating’ factor during the sentencing of serious traffic offenders.

“This could result in higher fines, it could result in longer sentences or it could mean the difference between receiving a fine or a jail term,” he told Fairfax.

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay explained the harsher penalties would apply to drivers caught under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drivers involved in police chases and drivers who refused a breath test.

“It is just not fair and not acceptable to defenceless people that are in your vehicle to behave in this manner,” Mr Gay told ABC News.

The Opposition supports the changes, however NSW legal experts say the changes to the Crimes Act will make little difference.

Judges already have the power to take factors like underage passengers into account when deciding on a punishment for serious traffic offenders.

What do you think of the changes? A logical step forward or unnecessary legislation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • http://zuboora.com mohamad is right when he

    Great news. The stronger the punishment is. The less chance people try to break the law. And there is nothing worse than Innocent people being harmed by other peoples bad choices.

    • test drive

      Great news? So the children in the car are at greater risk than other people on the road?
      Daft law amendment. Harsher penalties for drink driving across the board? No problem, but why limit it to having kids in the car. Stupid IMHO.

  • Jp

    Full support – should have been done earlier.

  • Car Fanatic

    Taser them, then book them.

  • nickdl

    I don’t see why it would be unnecessary. The only thing worse than a drunk driver is a drunk driver with their children in the car. The children didn’t choose to be in the car so it’s unfair if their parents won’t keep them safe.

  • Paul

    100% agree with this!!

  • Snoop

    I think anybody who puts other lives at risk regardless of age should cop harsh penalties. Unfortunately, the people that are doing it now couldn’t care less about the law anyway. This won’t make them think twice or, stop them from doing it altogether.

  • maple leaf

    take away their drivers licence, make them do community service.

    • Rick

      Why they’ll just drive without their license anyway

      • Rick

        Take their cars as well

  • Rick

    The laws should be tougher across the board, why is it that a drunk drivers kids are more valuable than someone else’s I.e the oncomming car they just collided with , with their kids in the car all doing the right thing . DRUNK DRIVERS SHOULD HAVE THIER CARS CONFISCATED ON THE SPOT , THE SAME WAY THEY DO WITH HOONS ,END OF STORY. they kill more innocent people than hoons ever have and generally have the lightest penalties . Also the punishment should be taken out of the courts hands . It should be a mandatory penalty same as hoons