In New South Wales, an educational program called The Traffic Offenders Intervention Program or TOIP is offered. The offender’s program is specifically designed to decrease traffic offence incidences, focusing on drinking and taking drugs when driving, speeding, and further safety-related offences. The key objective is to reduce accidents.
What Is The Traffic Offenders Intervention Program?
This program is a road safety education course. It has been developed to teach those attending about road safety and the potential impact of drug driving and other traffic violations. The traffic offenders program in NSW is regulated by part 9 of the 2017 Criminal Procedure Regulation. Generally, it is delivered to a group of thirty or less in a classroom environment. Discussion plays a significant role in the program. The course consists of several modules, and participants must complete a minimum of eight modules covering such things as drink driving, fatigue, mobile phone use and vehicle maintenance.
The Aims Of The Traffic Offenders Intervention Program
This traffic offenders program has two main objectives.
1. To give the skills required to change the offender’s driving behaviour and modify or alter their attitude towards driving.
2. To foster safer driving behaviour in offenders.
As part of working towards their foremost objectives, the traffic offenders program aspires to work with offenders to realise the seriousness of their conduct and gain insight into and understanding of their obligations to themselves and other road users. Education occurs in relation to potential consequences of driving offences to individuals, families, and the community while providing the participant with driving skills and strategies to avoid further traffic offences.
Who Is The Program For?
The program is for people who have committed a variety of driving offences. These offences include:
a. A PCA or drink driving offence. PCA means prescribed concentration of alcohol. A drink driving charge can be a PCA offence, driving under the influence (DUI) offence, a dangerous driving involving alcohol offence, or it can relate to refusal to failing to give a breath analysis or blood sample or
b. Driving with drugs in your system. The penalties for driving with drugs in your system include – automatic loss of license to disqualification from driving for 1 to 9 months. A fine or up to 3 months in prison is also possible.
c. Police pursuits. A police pursuit is an attempt by the police in a motor vehicle to apprehend a suspected offender in a motor vehicle when the driver is attempting to avoid apprehension.
d. Driving while unlicensed, suspended or disqualified means that the vehicle’s driver does not have a current license.
e. Negligent driving. Negligent driving is when someone drives without due care or the attention expected of a road user.
f. Traffic Penalty notices a person has chosen to take to Court.
g. Appeals with regards to licence suspension.
How Do You Enter The Traffic Offenders Program
In NSW, the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program is managed through the Local Court. If a person has been found to have committed a traffic offence and would like to participate in the TOIP program, their lawyer can make an application to the Court. There are occasions where the Court will refer an offender to the program even though they may not choose to participate. In these cases, it is a requirement that the course approved for the program be completed and must contain those courses within the traffic offenders program register. The case will be adjourned until time has been given for the course to be completed. Only after completing will the Court impose a sentence for the traffic offence.
Where Are They Offered
The TOSP programs are located across New South Wales. If the offender lives in an area where there are not any approved courses, the Court may consider a non-approved program. There are TOSP programs in all states of Australia.
Value Of Participating
Traffic Offenders are encouraged to participate in the program, and in determining an appropriate sentence, the Court will take into account that the offender has been involved. Taking part in this program shows the Court that the offender is taking their traffic offence seriously and is taking positive steps to reform. Participation is seen as a penalty in itself, so if the offender participates willingly, it shows some remorse for actions. Involvement is favourably considered because it is such a successful program. An offender who engages in it, particularly those who do so willingly, are less likely to commit offences in the future.
Participants can use their attendance at a traffic offenders program course to their advantage. They can show they have gained independent information about road safety that they may have forgotten or never known, presented in a clear, precise and accurate manner. It is recommended that participants give the magistrate the certificate of completion. Offenders can accompany the certificate with a letter of apology that highlights what they have learnt from the program and why they will now not re-offend.
What TOSP Covers
The course is quite a comprehensive course that covers a variety of content and topics. The purpose of the study, whatever jurisdiction, is to provide tools and strategies that drivers need to avoid committing traffic offences. The topics may vary across providers, but generally, they cover the following:
a. Dangerously using the road.
b. Drink and drug driving.
c. Emergency services and the impact of accidents.
d. Legal consequences of traffic violations and road accidents.
e. The effect of road trauma and traffic offences on victims, their families and witnesses.
g. Fatigue, mobile phone use and other distractions.
h. Vehicle safety and maintenance.
i. Vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists.
j. The ways we can improve driver behaviour.
If you are required to go to Court due to a matter involving a driving offence, it is worth seeking advice and support from a lawyer. A criminal or traffic lawyer will advise on whether you should undertake the TSOP program.
For Those Unwilling To Attend
Although all advice is that offenders would be wise to undertake the program, some people are unwilling to do so. Offenders can and do give a range of reasons for not wanting to attend, including being too busy or can’t be bothered. The Court may then decide that the offender does not respect the privilege of holding a driver’s licence. They may also question the person’s attitude with regard to obeying the road rules.
A lack of willingness to make an effort to participate can indicate to a magistrate that the offender does not believe their traffic offences were severe. Unwillingness can lead to the Court, giving less of a discount on the sentence.
The Traffic Offender Intervention Program is an education program for drivers that focuses on road safety and developing responsible driving behaviour. Involvement in the program increases awareness of the consequences and impact of dangerous driving to reduce the likelihood of re-offending. Through cognitive behaviour and reality-based learning, participants gain skills and develop a positive attitude towards driving, making them more responsible road users. You can obtain information on the course online, but it is worthwhile seeking assistance from a law professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does each state provide a TSOP?
Yes, each state has a TSOP program or similar. If you visit the Road Sense Australia site, it will give information about the program operating in your Australian state.
2. Can I do the TSOP course online?
The traffic offenders’ program is offered in a variety of ways in different states. Some providers do offer part of the course online. The Court will take into account an online course as long as it is an approved course. However, greater weight is placed on a physically attended course. It is worth consulting the TIOP guidelines as they are currently being updated, and they will likely change them, so that face to face attendance is required.
3. How long is a traffic offenders’ program?
You generally have 14 days to complete the program though there are some variations depending on which Australian state you live in.
4. How do participants find the course?
Provider feedback is that overwhelmingly participants say it is a good experience. Happiness with the content is undoubtedly the case when participants enter willingly. You can gain further information from providers.