Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 No 103
Current version for 1 December 2014 to date (accessed 20 December 2014 at 09:41)
Part 12

Part 12 Powers relating to vehicles and traffic

Note. See the Road Transport Act 2013 for particular police powers relating to:
(a)  traffic accidents, speed measuring devices, forfeiture of prohibited speed measuring evasion articles, random breath testing and other testing and other traffic-related matters, and
(b)  production of driver licences and disclosure of identity, suspension of licences and seizure of motor vehicles.

Division 1 Regulation of traffic

185   Police may give reasonable directions for traffic regulation

A police officer may give reasonable directions for the safe and efficient regulation of traffic to any person driving a motor vehicle or riding a motorcycle on or near a road or road related area.
Note. Rule 304 of the Road Rules 2014 makes it an offence to fail to obey a reasonable direction for the safe and efficient regulation of traffic given to a person by a police officer.

186   Police may temporarily close road or road related area to traffic

(cf Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999, s 74)

(1)  A police officer may:
(a)  close any road or road related area to traffic during any temporary obstruction or danger to traffic or for any temporary purpose, and
(b)  prevent the traffic of any vehicles, persons or animals in or on any road or road related area closed to traffic under paragraph (a) or under the authority of any other Act.
(2)  A person must not, without reasonable excuse, fail or refuse to comply with any direction of a police officer given in pursuance of a power conferred by this section.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

Division 2 Other police powers relating to vehicles

187   Use of tyre deflation devices

(cf Road Transport (General) Act 1999, s 51)

(1)  The Commissioner may authorise the use by police officers of a device (a tyre deflation device) that causes the deflation of the tyres of a vehicle:
(a)  to enable police to stop or assist in the stopping of a vehicle in connection with the pursuit of the vehicle by police, or
(b)  to enable police to prevent the use of the vehicle by a person for the purpose of escaping from lawful custody or avoiding arrest.
(2)  Provision made by or under an Act that would operate to prohibit or restrict the placement or deployment on or near a road or road related area of a tyre deflation device does not apply to the placing or deploying of a tyre deflation device by a police officer acting in the exercise of his or her duties.

188   Power of entry for tracing stolen motor vehicles or trailers or their parts

(cf Road Transport (General) Act 1999, s 50)

(1)  A police officer authorised to do so by the Commissioner may:
(a)  enter, at any time, any premises or place on which the business of carrying out repairs, resulting from accidents, to damaged motor vehicles or trailers is ordinarily carried on, and
(b)  inspect any motor vehicle or trailer (or part of a motor vehicle or trailer) that is found by the officer in or on those premises or that place for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not it is a stolen motor vehicle or trailer or part.
(2)  A person must not wilfully delay or obstruct a police officer in the exercise of the authority conferred by subsection (1).

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

Division 3 Powers to prevent intoxicated drivers from driving

189   Power to prevent driving by persons who are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

(cf Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999, s 30)

(1)  If a police officer is of the opinion that a person who is driving (or about to drive) a motor vehicle is under the influence of alcohol or any other drug, or a combination of drugs, the police officer may:
(a)  prohibit the person from driving the vehicle while the person is under the influence of alcohol or that other drug or a combination of drugs, and
(b)  require the person to immediately hand over all ignition or other keys of the motor vehicle in the person’s actual possession:
(i)  to the police officer, or
(ii)  to another person in the company of the person who the police officer is satisfied is responsible and capable of exercising proper control of the motor vehicle, and
(c)  take such other steps as, in the opinion of the police officer, are necessary in order:
(i)  to immobilise the motor vehicle, or
(ii)  to remove the motor vehicle to a place of safety and detain it at that place.
(2)  If the police officer is of the opinion that the person concerned is under the influence of alcohol, the person is entitled to request that the person undergo a breath test in order to determine whether or not the person is under the influence of alcohol. If such a request is made, the police officer may not take any action under subsection (1) until the person undergoes the breath test.
(3)  Despite subsection (2), a police officer may take action under subsection (1) if the police officer reasonably suspects that the person is likely to abscond before undergoing the breath test.
(4)  Subsection (1) does not authorise the confiscation of any keys, or the immobilisation, removal or detention of any motor vehicle, for any period that is longer than necessary in the circumstances and in the interest of the person driving (or about to drive) or of any other person or of the public.

189A   Power to prevent persons who are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs supervising learner drivers

(1)  If a police officer is of the opinion that a person who was occupying a seat in a motor vehicle next to a holder of a learner licence while the holder of the learner licence was driving (or about to drive) the motor vehicle is under the influence of alcohol or any other drug, or a combination of drugs, the police officer may prohibit the person from occupying a seat in a motor vehicle next to a holder of a learner licence while the person is under the influence of alcohol or that other drug or a combination of drugs.
(2)  If the police officer is of the opinion that the person concerned is under the influence of alcohol, the person is entitled to request that the person undergo a breath test in order to determine whether or not the person is under the influence of alcohol. If such a request is made, the police officer may not take any action under subsection (1) until the person undergoes the breath test.
(3)  Despite subsection (2), a police officer may take action under subsection (1) if the police officer reasonably suspects that the person is likely to abscond before undergoing the breath test.

189B   Power to prevent driving by persons who have failed oral fluid test or refused or failed to undergo oral fluid test or refused to provide oral fluid sample

(1)  A police officer may exercise the powers referred to in subsection (2) in respect of a person who is driving (or about to drive) a motor vehicle if the person has:
(a)  undergone an oral fluid test and the test has indicated that one or more prescribed illicit drugs may be present in the person’s oral fluid, or
(b)  refused or failed to undergo an oral fluid test, or
(c)  refused or failed to provide an oral fluid sample in accordance with the directions of a police officer.
(2)  A police officer may:
(a)  prohibit the person from driving a motor vehicle for a period of 24 hours, and
(b)  require the person to immediately hand over all ignition or other keys of the motor vehicle in the person’s actual possession:
(i)  to the police officer, or
(ii)  to another person in the company of the person whom the police officer is satisfied is responsible and capable of exercising proper control of the motor vehicle, and
(c)  take such other steps as, in the opinion of the police officer, are necessary in order:
(i)  to immobilise the motor vehicle, or
(ii)  to remove the motor vehicle to a place of safety and detain it at that place.
(3)  In this section:

oral fluid test has the same meaning as in Schedule 3 to the Road Transport Act 2013.

prescribed illicit drug has the same meaning as in the Road Transport Act 2013.

189C   Power to prevent persons who have failed oral fluid test or refused or failed to undergo oral fluid test or refused to provide oral fluid sample supervising learner drivers

(1)  A police officer may exercise the power referred to in subsection (2) in respect of a person who was occupying a seat in a motor vehicle next to a holder of a learner licence while the holder of the learner licence was driving (or about to drive) the motor vehicle if the person has:
(a)  undergone an oral fluid test and the test has indicated that one or more prescribed illicit drugs may be present in the person’s oral fluid, or
(b)  refused or failed to undergo an oral fluid test, or
(c)  refused or failed to provide an oral fluid sample in accordance with the directions of a police officer.
(2)  A police officer may prohibit the person from occupying a seat in a motor vehicle next to a holder of a learner licence for a period of 24 hours.
(3)  In this section:

oral fluid test has the same meaning as in Schedule 3 to the Road Transport Act 2013.

prescribed illicit drug has the same meaning as in the Road Transport Act 2013.

190   Detention of keys or vehicles may be continued

(cf Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999, s 30)

(1)  It is lawful for a police officer to retain any keys that are confiscated under section 189 or 189B, or for any motor vehicle to be immobilised or detained under either of those sections, until such time as:
(a)  the return of the keys or the motor vehicle is requested by:
(i)  in relation to a power exercised by a police officer under section 189—any person, or
(ii)  in relation to a power exercised by a police officer under section 189B—any person (other than the person referred to in section 189B (1)), and
(b)  the police officer to whom the request is made:
(i)  is satisfied that the person making the request is capable of exercising proper control of the motor vehicle, or
(ii)  is informed by a medical practitioner (not being the person making the request) that the person making the request is not under the influence of alcohol or any other drug.
(2)  However, the person making the request is entitled to possession of the keys or motor vehicle concerned only if the police officer is satisfied that the person is entitled to lawful possession of the motor vehicle.
(3)  If the keys or motor vehicle are not returned within 24 hours after such a request is made, the person may apply to the Local Court for an order for the keys or motor vehicle to be returned to the person.

191   Offence to contravene prohibition or requirement

(cf Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999, s 30)

(1)  A person must not:
(a)  fail or refuse to comply with any prohibition or requirement made by a police officer under this Division, or
(b)  attempt in any manner to obstruct a police officer in the exercise of any power conferred on the police officer under this Division.

Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units.

(2)  A court may find a person guilty of an offence under this section only if the court is satisfied that the police officer had reasonable grounds for believing that, in the circumstances, the action taken by the police officer was necessary in the interests of the person or of any other person or of the public.

192   Expenses incurred in connection with Division

(cf Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999, s 30)

Any expenses incurred in connection with the immobilisation, removal or detention of a motor vehicle under this Division may be recovered from the person who was driving (or about to drive) the vehicle, or from the owner of the vehicle, as a debt in a court of competent jurisdiction.
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