New laws being put forward by the Queensland Government could result in a 20-year jail sentence for motorists who drive dangerously, evade police and cause either death or grievous bodily harm.

Queensland’s Minister for Police and Community Safety, Mark Ryan, announced the proposed law reform yesterday ahead of its introduction in State Parliament later this week.

Currently, if you drive dangerously, evade police and cause the death or grievous bodily harm (GBH) of another person in Queensland, the maximum penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment.

This also applies to offenders who drive dangerously and leave the scene of a crash after causing death or GBH.

The proposed legislation would also result in the maximum penalty for the separate offence of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death or grievous bodily harm to increase from 10 to 14 years.

Youth offenders who drive dangerously, evade police and cause death or grievous bodily harm will also be impacted by the laws, according to Mr Ryan.

The proposal was driven by the advocacy of Claudine Snow, whose mother Susan Zimmer, sister Steffi Zimmer and mother’s partner Chris Fawcett died in a two-vehicle crash in December 2022.

The hatchback the trio was travelling in through the Gold Coast Hinterland was hit head-on by an SUV driven by Uiatu “Joan” Taufua, who was driving under the influence, without a licence and on the wrong side of the road, having failed to stop for police in the minutes prior to the fatal crash.

Ms Taufua survived the crash and was subsequently charged with three counts of manslaughter and one count each of evading police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and driving unlicensed.

“Claudine’s motivation comes from a good place, she simply doesn’t want anyone else to experience the devastating tragedy and trauma she and her family have endured,” Mr Ryan said in a media statement. 

“People who drive dangerously and recklessly with no regard for other road users will face even harsher consequences for their actions under this reform package.

“I know that Claudine shares my sincere belief that establishing a new and tough penalty for those who drive dangerously, evade police, and cause death or grievous bodily harm, is the right thing to do.”

The Queensland Government last week announced it would start sharing data with the Federal Government regarding car crashes, traffic policing and road conditions in a bid to lower the national road toll.

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