An 18-year-old man behind the wheel of a craft that crashed and killed five teenagers had previously lost his license twice for speeding offences, a court heard on Thursday.
Tyrell Edwards was charged with five counts of dangerous driving causing death on Wednesday after the crash in Buxton, south-west of Sydney.
Picton Local Court heard Edwards served two three-month bans for speeding in the 18 months before the crash on Tuesday night.
The Bargo man was refused bail in court and has not entered a plea to the charges.
Tom Derfor’s mission
The incident has sparked renewed calls from authorities for care on the road, with 188 fatalities recorded across NSW in the eight months to August 2022.
Tom Daher, a road safety campaigner who lost his father in a horrific crash, says a three-month ban for a P-plate with a history of speeding is “not enough”.
Sir. Daher believes the “cycle” of repeat offenders losing their licenses, barring their suspensions and getting back on the road needs to stop.
Daher, who is a member of the Road Trauma Support Group NSW (RTSG), says an “arrogant, total disregard” for the law killed his elderly father, Tannous, as he worked in the garden outside his home in 2017.
The 82-year-old was run over when a truck driven down the wrong side of the road crashed through his front garden in Sydney’s west.
“The person who killed my father had lost his license on five separate occasions.”
A call for reform
RTSG is calling for reform of laws dictating how repeat offenders in NSW can regain their licences.
One change they want to see is to expand the definition of a “repeat serious traffic offender,” which includes someone who has committed two custodial offenses within the past five years.
Sir. Daher says people who consistently commit offenses that result in suspension demerits — such as speeding, running red lights or cell phone use — should also be included.
“It is not acceptable that a driver can continually lose their license on numerous occasions and just sit out with their suspension and reapply, only to lose it again,” he said.
“And the cycle just repeats itself.”
Daher says a three-month ban for a young driver who had previously been suspended does not pass the pub test.
“I don’t think that’s enough, especially if it’s a second offense,” he said.
“If you’re a repeat speeding offender, three months is definitely not enough, especially if you’re a P plater.”
In NSW, a driver on a provisional license can be suspended for at least three months for any speeding offence.
Drivers on their P plates will receive at least four demerit points when caught speeding in NSW.
The penalties vary from state to state
Across state lines, the number of demerit points and penalties for driving offenses for learner and temporary drivers varies.
In South Australia, a P-plate faces a six-month suspension for breaching a condition or accumulating four or more demerits.
A condition for having a provisional driving license in the state is that the driver must not exceed the speed limit by 10 km/h or more.
For a second offence, this disqualification period is increased to 12 months.
In Queensland and Victoria, provisional drivers who exceed their demerit points can choose to take a minimum ban of three months or agree to continue driving for a 12-month “good behaviour” period.
If a driver in these states breaks the good behavior conditions, the original ban they would have served is doubled.
For Mr. Daher, it is the rules of his home country that he is most concerned with.
Another change he would like to see implemented is to have repeat offenders participate in a victim impact panel as part of the process to reapply for their license.
He says hearing stories from people who “paid the ultimate price” would help drivers understand the consequences of their actions.
“They need to understand the consequences of their actions,” Mr Daher said.