Government Gets Tougher on Special Hardship Licences

Motorists in Queensland now face tougher conditions if they obtain a special hardship order to continue driving while suspended, says legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.

A special hardship court order allows (in certain instances) a driver with a suspended provisional or open licence to continue driving under strict conditions for work or personal issues if being denied the ability to do so would cause hardship to them or their family.

Creevey Russell Principal Dan Creevey said as of July 1, 2019, the law in respect to special hardship licences has been amended with potentially harsher consequences for affected motorists.

“While the previous law allowed motorists subject to a special hardship licence to have a minor infringement, the new law means that any accumulation of demerit points while subject to the restricted licence will result in an automatic disqualification period, which is twice the length of the initial period of disqualification,” he said.

Creevey Russell Senior Associate Trent Jones said special hardship applications can be made following the accumulation of too many demerit points and a driver accumulating further points during a good behaviour period, or following a high-range speeding offence

“Applicants need to be able to demonstrate that a disqualification of their licence would cause them, or their family, hardship,” he said.

“Those reasons may include medical reasons, such as an individual being a carer for a spouse or family member who is heavily dependent on them, or it may include financial reasons, such as impacting on their employment.

“There are time limitations associated with making applications for a restricted licence and generally, the courts will consider imposing certain restrictions in the event a restricted licence is granted. The consequences of these restrictions can occasionally result in an individual being impacted in a greater way than what they would have otherwise been impacted had they accepted the initial disqualification period.”