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DUI recidivism rampant

By 16 February 2011 25

More than one-third of the 18 motorists caught drink driving last week were recidivist offenders, with one driver, a 34-year-old male caught by police drink driving for the tenth time, with a positive reading of 0.072.

Out of the 18 people apprehended, half were on 0.00 licenses.

The highest result recorded was by a 26-year-old man, who returned a positive result of 0.167. He has two previous convictions, and is subject to a zero blood alcohol limit.

Although the total number of positive tests appears to be decreasing, Superintendent Mark Colbran of Traffic Operations is disappointed that almost 40% of the drink drivers caught last week were re-offenders.

“It is frustrating for all police officers that people are prepared to continue this dangerous behaviour even after being charged for the same offence in the past,” Superintendent Colbran said.

“These drink drivers show such disregard for the law, and it is appalling that they are willing to not only risk their own lives, but the lives of their passengers and other road users.”

“The message is simple, if you don’t drink and drive, the risk of being involved in a serious or fatal collision is dramatically reduced. But if you do break the road rules, ACT Policing will catch you.”

[Courtesy ACT Policing]

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25 Responses to DUI recidivism rampant
#1
Rawhide Kid Part310:49 am, 16 Feb 11

There is only one way to deal with these “recidivist offenders”, that is to confiscate their vehicles even if its not their car. That way the message should get through to all, even to those who let these drunk drivers drive their cars.

#2
Reprobate11:42 am, 16 Feb 11

“The message is simple, if you don’t drink and drive, the risk of being involved in a serious or fatal collision is dramatically reduced. But if you do break the road rules, ACT Policing will catch you. You will then appear before a compassionate and thoughtful judge and possibly get a slap on the wrist fine which you may choose not to pay off, or simply enter into a long term repayment option due to your sad financial circumstances. You will also likely have your licence suspended for a period of time, but that’s ok too, as a focus on easy speed camera revenue rather than effective policing of roads for other infringements make it worth rolling the dice. And if you do get caught, it will be the same pointless process all over again.”

Edited for truth.

#3
borizuka11:48 am, 16 Feb 11

maybe they should just increase the penalties for your 2nd / 3rd offences. After the 3rd you should not be able to drive a car for 5 years.

If you do you get 60 days jailtime… imo.
pitty we have a full jail system…

#4
facet12:05 pm, 16 Feb 11

You could steal a bike, apparently police are not really interested in catching bike thieves and bike owners are to blame unless they buy a $150 bike lock.

#5
groonsnout12:51 pm, 16 Feb 11

Just do what they do in Michigan and 24 other US States. 3 convictions for the same felony = life in prison without parole, 3 convictions for DUI = 10 years in prison. Works.

#6
Tooks1:06 pm, 16 Feb 11

facet said :

You could steal a bike, apparently police are not really interested in catching bike thieves and bike owners are to blame unless they buy a $150 bike lock.

Completely off topic, but anyway…how do you propose they catch bike thieves? Presumably you’re talking about the thread from the other day. Tell us how you’d do it, detective.

#7
Hosinator1:19 pm, 16 Feb 11

Drink drivers should never be given a second or third chance. As a driver with over 12 years experience I have never come close to drink driving. The day after a big night I don’t drive for another 24 hours as I know my Blood Alcohol level is not zero, even when I’m falling over drunk I refuse to get into a car being driven by someone who has had a few drinks.

Zero tolerance should be the accepted norm by our police force and courts.

For your first offence I would propose:

Confiscation of your vehicle.
Loss of license for 6 months
Heavy fine
6 months weekend detention.

Second offence:
Loss of license requiring a resit of the exam.
Confiscation of your vehicle
Heavy fine
Minimum of 12 months full time imprisonment. With the length of imprisonment scaled based on your Blood Alcohol Level.

There is NO excuse for drink driving especially when you risk the lives of innocent motorists, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists.

#8
swissbignose1:42 pm, 16 Feb 11

It won’t be taken seriously until the penalties fit the crime.

I’m an expat-Canberran in the Land of the Free and Paranoid, and where I live (Virginia), the following penalties apply:

1st Drunk Driving Conviction

Jail – 5 Days Minimum (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
Jail – 5 Days (If Blood Alcohol Level .15-.20)
Jail – 10 Days (If Blood Alcohol Level above .20)
Fine – $250 Minimum
Fine – Add $500-$1,000 (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
License Suspension – 1 Year
Ignition Interlock Device Required (If Blood Alcohol Level .15 or Above)
Complete Alcohol Safety Action Program

2nd Drunk Driving Conviction

Jail – From 20 Days Minimum to 1 Year (If Less Than 5 Years of Previous)
Jail – Add 5 Days Minimum (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)

Second Offense within 5-10 Years of Previous

Jail – 10 Days Minimum to 1 Month
Jail – Add 10 Days (If Blood Alcohol Level .15-.20)
Jail – Add 20 Days (If Blood Alcohol Level above .20)
Jail – Add 5 Days Minimum (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
License Suspension – 3 Years
Ignition Interlock Device Required Upon Reinstatement
Fine – $500 Minimum
Fine – $500-$1,000 Additional (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
Fine – $50 Trauma Center Fund
Complete Alcohol Safety Action Program

3rd Drunk Driving Conviction

Jail – 6 Months Minimum (If Within 5 Years of Previous)
Jail – 90 Days Minimum (If Within 10 Years of Previous)
Jail – Add 5 Days Minimum Additional (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
Fine – $1,000 Minimum
Fine – $50 Trauma Center Fund
License Suspension – Indefinitely
May Petition Court after 5 Years
Ignition Interlock Device Required (If License Reinstated)

Naturally, incarceration poses its own problems. If I remember correctly, the ACT used to jail people over non-payment of parking fines (serious non-payment), until a guy was killed in a NSW jail (this obviously before the AMC opening) serving a four or five day sentence for non-payment of a lot of parking fines (or it could have been speeding).

There’s no simple answer, but I support the confiscation of the vehicle as a measure.

#9
Jim Jones2:15 pm, 16 Feb 11

swissbignose said :

It won’t be taken seriously until the penalties fit the crime.

I’m an expat-Canberran in the Land of the Free and Paranoid, and where I live (Virginia), the following penalties apply:

Is there any evidence that these penalties have reduced instances of drink-driving?

#10
la mente torbida2:18 pm, 16 Feb 11

FFS! Zero Tolerance!
0-15 KMH over the posted speed limit – kneecapping
15-30 KMH over the posted speed limit – death by gunshot
>30 KMH – over the posted speed limit – star wars death ray from space

Parking in a disabled zone – state sanctioned disablement – offenders then able to use disabled parking

Where will it end?

#11
Hosinator2:49 pm, 16 Feb 11

Jim Jones said :

swissbignose said :

It won’t be taken seriously until the penalties fit the crime.

I’m an expat-Canberran in the Land of the Free and Paranoid, and where I live (Virginia), the following penalties apply:

Is there any evidence that these penalties have reduced instances of drink-driving?

JJ it would depend on how you assess the reduction of instances of drunk driving.

A) Do the penalties deter drunk driving in the wider community.
B) Are the instances of drunk driving reduced, only because repeat offending drunk drivers has been removed off the road and are now sitting in jail.

At the end of the day it should be about removing the risk off the road and reducing the instances of people being killed. You abide by the law and if you don’t, you rescind your right to be a part of the community.

#12
dvaey4:25 pm, 16 Feb 11

groonsnout said :

Just do what they do in Michigan and 24 other US States. 3 convictions for the same felony = life in prison without parole, 3 convictions for DUI = 10 years in prison. Works.

It works? This is why the US prison population per capita is the highest in the world and growing at such a fast rate, because people are fearful of life in prison? I still believe a good alternative would be for driving penalties to be replaced with community service orders. If youre caught 15km/hr over, instead of a $200 fine which can destroy a struggling families budget, but is a drop in the ocean to an executive, make both of them perform 20 hours community service. Not everyone knows the value of one dollar, but everyone knows the value of an hour of their time. If someone chooses to repeat-offend, dont put them in the hume hilton, put them in gumboots in stromlo forrest planting trees or cleaning rubbish. Unfortunately the problem with this, is that it removes the financial benefit from the road-safety campaign the government is pushing so hard for, would the government be so keen to keep using speed cameras if they lost money but still performed a road-safety role?

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

There is only one way to deal with these “recidivist offenders”, that is to confiscate their vehicles even if its not their car.

That way the message should get through to all, even to those who let these drunk drivers drive their cars.

How far does this have to go? If driving a hire-car, should that be confiscated? Should teach the hire car companies a lesson, and ensure they check the entire driving record and crystal ball of everyone who comes to drive their cars.

#13
olfella4:58 pm, 16 Feb 11

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

There is only one way to deal with these “recidivist offenders”, that is to confiscate their vehicles even if its not their car.

That way the message should get through to all, even to those who let these drunk drivers drive their cars.

That is a typical comment from armchair experts. What will that achieve? Punish the rest of the family just because of one ratbag (usually with a big drinking problem)? The only way is to get them off the road and make sure they never drive (pissed) again. Address the problem, not the how!

#14
olfella5:07 pm, 16 Feb 11

dvaey said :

groonsnout said :

Just do what they do in Michigan and 24 other US States. 3 convictions for the same felony = life in prison without parole, 3 convictions for DUI = 10 years in prison. Works.

It works? This is why the US prison population per capita is the highest in the world and growing at such a fast rate, because people are fearful of life in prison? I still believe a good alternative would be for driving penalties to be replaced with community service orders. If youre caught 15km/hr over, instead of a $200 fine which can destroy a struggling families budget, but is a drop in the ocean to an executive, make both of them perform 20 hours community service. Not everyone knows the value of one dollar, but everyone knows the value of an hour of their time. If someone chooses to repeat-offend, dont put them in the hume hilton, put them in gumboots in stromlo forrest planting trees or cleaning rubbish. Unfortunately the problem with this, is that it removes the financial benefit from the road-safety campaign the government is pushing so hard for, would the government be so keen to keep using speed cameras if they lost money but still performed a road-safety role

The other problem with the CS you outline is you are putting like with like and they will feed off each other to justify what they did and glorify it to hero status. I defiantly feel they need to be separated to think allow then to think about why they are in the situation.

#15
dvaey5:17 pm, 16 Feb 11

olfella said :

The other problem with the CS you outline is you are putting like with like and they will feed off each other to justify what they did and glorify it to hero status. I defiantly feel they need to be separated to think allow then to think about why they are in the situation.

This can happen for any offender given community service though. If you wanted to avoid that situation, give them tasks where that contact can be avoided, they can walk dogs at the RSPCA for example.. they can brag all they want it wont make a difference to a dog. These people will come and feed off each other on the internet anyway, at least if they lose a day or two to community service, it might affect them more than having to put off buying new chrome rims for 2 weeks.

#16
olfella6:54 pm, 16 Feb 11

dvaey said :

These people will come and feed off each other on the internet anyway, at least if they lose a day or two to community service, it might affect them more than having to put off buying new chrome rims for 2 weeks.

or a six pack… good option I reckon

#17
LSWCHP9:21 pm, 16 Feb 11

olfella said :

I defiantly feel they need to be separated….

I defy your defiance!

#18
farnarkler10:29 pm, 16 Feb 11

swissbignose said :

It won’t be taken seriously until the penalties fit the crime.

I’m an expat-Canberran in the Land of the Free and Paranoid, and where I live (Virginia), the following penalties apply:

1st Drunk Driving Conviction

Jail – 5 Days Minimum (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
Jail – 5 Days (If Blood Alcohol Level .15-.20)
Jail – 10 Days (If Blood Alcohol Level above .20)
Fine – $250 Minimum
Fine – Add $500-$1,000 (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
License Suspension – 1 Year
Ignition Interlock Device Required (If Blood Alcohol Level .15 or Above)
Complete Alcohol Safety Action Program

2nd Drunk Driving Conviction

Jail – From 20 Days Minimum to 1 Year (If Less Than 5 Years of Previous)
Jail – Add 5 Days Minimum (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)

Second Offense within 5-10 Years of Previous

Jail – 10 Days Minimum to 1 Month
Jail – Add 10 Days (If Blood Alcohol Level .15-.20)
Jail – Add 20 Days (If Blood Alcohol Level above .20)
Jail – Add 5 Days Minimum (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
License Suspension – 3 Years
Ignition Interlock Device Required Upon Reinstatement
Fine – $500 Minimum
Fine – $500-$1,000 Additional (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
Fine – $50 Trauma Center Fund
Complete Alcohol Safety Action Program

3rd Drunk Driving Conviction

Jail – 6 Months Minimum (If Within 5 Years of Previous)
Jail – 90 Days Minimum (If Within 10 Years of Previous)
Jail – Add 5 Days Minimum Additional (If Passenger under 18 in Vehicle)
Fine – $1,000 Minimum
Fine – $50 Trauma Center Fund
License Suspension – Indefinitely
May Petition Court after 5 Years
Ignition Interlock Device Required (If License Reinstated)

Naturally, incarceration poses its own problems. If I remember correctly, the ACT used to jail people over non-payment of parking fines (serious non-payment), until a guy was killed in a NSW jail (this obviously before the AMC opening) serving a four or five day sentence for non-payment of a lot of parking fines (or it could have been speeding).

There’s no simple answer, but I support the confiscation of the vehicle as a measure.

So what would you do with the bloke who’s been caught for the tenth time??? Lock him up and throw away the key?

#19
Innovation7:25 am, 17 Feb 11

Existing penalties obviously need to be increased for repeat offenders.

Some sort of educational classes need to be introduced and obligatory (at offenders expense). I’m sure there are victims or family of victims who would like to speak at such courses.

Community service should be obligatory preferably at relevant places like A&E at hospitals (ie bringing coffees, blankets to waiting patients etc), back room work at funeral parlours, wreckers yards (ie hosing blood out of cars) etc.

If offender is found to have a drug or drinking problem (I know some people would think that the offence is evidence of that) then a zero tolerance should be adopted (regular and random testing and zero readings for a period of time before they are allowed back on the road).

Confiscating cars is unlikely to work unless perhaps if registered in offenders name or unregistered (if the car is actually registered in someone else’s name but not that other person’s car that’s a different offence altogether).

Once back on the road (if ever) they should be required to display a D plate for drink driving, be required to drive at least 10km/h below the posted speed limit and not be allowed to carry more than perhaps one passenger (unless their own children) for a period of time eg three years.

#20
georgesgenitals7:30 am, 17 Feb 11

dvaey said :

groonsnout said :

Just do what they do in Michigan and 24 other US States. 3 convictions for the same felony = life in prison without parole, 3 convictions for DUI = 10 years in prison. Works.

It works? This is why the US prison population per capita is the highest in the world and growing at such a fast rate, because people are fearful of life in prison? I still believe a good alternative would be for driving penalties to be replaced with community service orders. If youre caught 15km/hr over, instead of a $200 fine which can destroy a struggling families budget, but is a drop in the ocean to an executive, make both of them perform 20 hours community service. Not everyone knows the value of one dollar, but everyone knows the value of an hour of their time. If someone chooses to repeat-offend, dont put them in the hume hilton, put them in gumboots in stromlo forrest planting trees or cleaning rubbish. Unfortunately the problem with this, is that it removes the financial benefit from the road-safety campaign the government is pushing so hard for, would the government be so keen to keep using speed cameras if they lost money but still performed a road-safety role?

Well said. Best comment of this thread.

#21
Tooks10:38 am, 17 Feb 11

The USA must be doing something right, as alcohol-related fatalities have decreased significantly since 1982.

1982: 26,173 fatalities – which was 60% of total fatalities
1992: 18,290 fatalities – 47% of total
2002: 17,524 fatalities – 41% of total
2008: 13,846 fatalities – 37% of total

Obviously vehicle safety has improved significantly in that period of time, but some of their policies must be working too.

Utah has the lowest percentage of alcohol related fatalities (20%). There punishments are:

1st Drunk Driving Conviction
* Jail – 48 Hours Minimum, or
* Work Service Program – 48 Hours Minimum, or
* Home Confinement
* Fine – $700 Minimum
* License Suspension – 120 Days

Other Possibilities
* Home Confinement Through The Use of Electronic Monitoring
* Participate in Alcohol / Drug Screening
* Participate in Alcohol / Drug Assessment
* Participate in Substance Abuse Education
* Participate in Substance Abuse Treatment

2nd Drunk Driving Conviction
* Jail – 240 Hours Minimum, or
* Work Service Program – 240 Hours Minimum or
* Home Confinement
* Fine – $800 Minimum
* License Suspension – 2 Years
* Ignition Interlock Device – 3 Years (If Within 10 Years of Previous)

Other Possibilities
* Home Confinement Through The Use of Electronic Monitoring
* Supervised Probation
* Participate in Alcohol / Drug Screening
* Participate in Alcohol / Drug Assessment
* Participate in Substance Abuse Education
* Participate in Substance Abuse Treatment

#22
Erg011:06 am, 17 Feb 11

Utah also has the highest percentage of Mormons, who aren’t allowed to drink.

#23
triffid1:25 pm, 17 Feb 11

There’s an element in this, though, that spans further than the recidivist DUI offenders. That element is ‘attitude’ and it is something missing due to the broader misgivings of the parlous driver education that one endures in order to be permitted to operate a vehicle in this country (let alone jurisdiction).

If driving were taken as seriously and responsibly as it ought to be, then no one in their right mind would contemplate operating a vehicle while under the influence of anything (much less do so repeatedly to the extent that they become ‘regulars’ to the penalty regime). I can recall reseach long lost in my files suggesting the normal operation of a vehicle to be roughly comparable, in terms of skill execution, to about 75 per cent of that required to land a 747 at Hong Kong airport (the old one with the nasty approach).

Yet, most of us blithly hop into our ton and a half of origamied sheet metal and cavort around like it’s no more complex a feat than tying a shoe lace (I argue most folk ought to be restricted to velcro shoe closures, but that’s another story).

My contention remains that until we as a society demand that legislators take a new approach to driver training and licencing and get serious about it (as distinct from seeing it as an income stream) then we are consigned to forever be revisiting this sort of issue (or speeding or whatever) for the forseable future.

#24
Tooks1:58 pm, 17 Feb 11

Erg0 said :

Utah also has the highest percentage of Mormons, who aren’t allowed to drink.

True, supposedly 60% of their 2.8 million citizens are Mormons. I was more interested in their punishments for recidivist drink drivers.

Iowa has 27% of their fatalities as alcohol related:

1st Drunk Driving Conviction

* Jail – 48 Hours Minimum up to 1 Year
* Fine – From $625-$1,250
* License Suspension – 180 Days

Court May Also Order:

* Substance Abuse Evaluation
* Substance Abuse Treatment
* Substance Abuse Reality Program
* Attend Drinking Drivers Course
* Community Service

2nd Drunk Driving Conviction

* Jail – 7 Days Minimum up to 2 Years
* Fine – From $1,875-$6,250
* License Suspension – 2 Years

Court May Also Order:

* Vehicle Impoundment or Immobilization
* Substance Abuse Evaluation
* Substance Abuse Treatment
* Substance Abuse Reality Program
* Attend Drinking Drivers Course
* Community Service

3rd (and future) Drunk Driving Convictions

* Class “D” Felony
* Jail – 30 Days Minimum up to 5 Years
* Fine – From $3,125-$9,375
* License Suspension – 6 Years

I’m not saying this is the kind of punishment we need here, but maybe some of the options are worth considering.

#25
LSWCHP6:32 pm, 18 Feb 11

triffid said :

My contention remains that until we as a society demand that legislators take a new approach to driver training and licencing and get serious about it (as distinct from seeing it as an income stream) then we are consigned to forever be revisiting this sort of issue (or speeding or whatever) for the forseable future.

Triffid, you are spot on. It should be *much* harder to get a licence to drive, and a helluva lot easier to lose one. That dickhead kid with a 3 week old licence doing 155 (nearly the imperial ton, for old folks) in an 80 zone should lose his licence and his car.

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