No escape for 3000 unlicensed drivers with new technology

LICENCE? What licence?

More than 3050 motorists have been bust in Ipswich for driving without a licence or while disqualified or restricted from driving between June 1, 2013 and July 30, 2014.

The figures - released to the QT by Queensland Police - accounted for more than 7% of the 41,031 people caught driving without a licence in Queensland during that timeframe.

In the past two days almost 50 people have appeared at Ipswich Magistrates Court for unlicensed driving offences, at least eight of whom were repeat offenders.

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Ipswich Inspector Keith McDonald said unlicensed offenders were getting caught more than ever before thanks to new police technology innovations.

He said police cars were being fitted with onboard automatic number plate recognition software, which instantly indicated if vehicles were unregistered or had unlicensed owners.

"About six months ago, we had to make enquiries through our communications centre to find out that information," he said.

"As more officers obtain this new technology, more of these types of offenders are being intercepted."

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Insp McDonald said he had heard just about every excuse for why people did not have their licence.

"Some people forget to renew their licence or have had their licence suspended and claim they were never informed about it," he said.

"Then there are those who have simply never held a licence and take it for granted that they can drive on the roads, which is particularly worrying.

"Those people need to understand that driving on the road is a privilege, not a right ... they're not skilled enough to understand how the car is going to react in certain situations."

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Those convicted of unlicensed driving in court may cop a fine of up to $6600 or be imprisoned for up to 18 months.

RACQ general executive manager Paul Turner said the number of unlicensed and disqualified drivers who had been caught was "alarming".

Mr Turner said many motorists were also being caught driving unregistered and uninsured cars as well.

"If you don't have compulsory third party insurance you could be exposing yourself to enormous financial liability if as an at-fault driver you injure another road user," he said.



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