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Magistrate Doogan snowed under with pernicious drink drivers

By 23 April 2009 42

The Canberra Times (briefly) explains Magistrate Maria Doogan’s dismay at having to deal with 35 drink drivers yesterday (32 men, three women).

One wonders if the accused got together for a party afterwards?

Apparently this indicated “the Canberra community was failing to get the drink-driving message”.

Personally I think improved enforcement and detection’s got something to do with it, keep taking licences away and we’ll probably figure it out.

Should road rules be the same for motorists and bikes?

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42 Responses to Magistrate Doogan snowed under with pernicious drink drivers
#1
FC9:22 am, 23 Apr 09

More and more people I know are losing their licenses for drink driving, and seem to be SLOWLY getting the message. Unfortunatly it took for them to suffer the consequences to begin to learn. What I had trouble getting was that these people (who led fairly responsibly lives for the most part) didn’t think much of driving home drunk.

when I used to drink I guess my motivation was fairly strong.
Drink drive= loose my licence= loose my job= unable to pay mortgage= loose my house = don’t drink drive.

#2
Tooks9:26 am, 23 Apr 09

Wonder how many of those 35 were repeat offenders. Maybe if magistrates started handing out tough sentences, then people would be less inclined to take the risk of drink driving.

#3
Blingerific9:54 am, 23 Apr 09

Pity losing your license doesn’t mean you loose your license. Suspended for a period of time then party on is all it means. Once you lose the privilege you should begin at the begining, maybe applying for their L’s and having to go through all the hassle again would make these people think *before* they commit a crime?

Then again, they’re Canberra drivers. So probably not…

#4
chewy149:58 am, 23 Apr 09

Maybe if the excuse of “I have an unblemished driving record for 30 years” didn’t allow older offenders to get off with a slap on the wrist, something might change.
You can’t go into court and say “look i haven’t murdered anyone in 30 years, i should be let off.” Well maybe anywhere other than Canberra that is.

#5
Deckard10:01 am, 23 Apr 09

The ones you have to worry about are the ones that don’t care that they’ve lost their licence and are back in the car the next day.

#6
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_10:02 am, 23 Apr 09

It’s simple really. If we gave people a big fine and a slap the first time, then took their license away for 2 years the second time (no exceptions), people would take it a bit more seriously.

Catch them driving without a license the first time and it’s a big fine and a slap again. Second time, start applying custodial sentences.

Be interesting to try it and see what happens. I’m also surprised at people who think drink driving is ok. Personally, getting caught isn’t what scares me – having to live with knowing I killed someone would be enough.

#7
G-Fresh10:25 am, 23 Apr 09

I reckon this’ll all blow over.

#8
Pommy bastard10:44 am, 23 Apr 09

Deckard said :

The ones you have to worry about are the ones that don’t care that they’ve lost their licence and are back in the car the next day.

A mandatory custodial sentence would start addressing that.

#9
BerraBoy6810:55 am, 23 Apr 09

I went DUI (.062) six years ago and it is an expereince I will never repeat. While I was in an a nasty accident on the way home (that wrote off two cars, including mine and Porsche, and saw my wife, child and the driver of teh other car taken to hospital in an Ambulance) the police advised the accident was caused by the other driver not me. However, i asked to be btreath tested and showed a red light.

The resulting day in court was an eye-opener and was the icing on the cake as far as bad experiences go. I was the only that person that day to get off without loss of points, conviction, or even a fine but it taught me a very, very big lesson. Oh, and there would have been about 20 people being seen for DUI that day as well.

#10
rottweiler11:28 am, 23 Apr 09

My partner is one week off getting his lic back after it was suspened for 7 months for DUI(.059), as a labourer he works for himself and with no work permit granted this was almost the end of his bussiness and our main income so i’ve had to drive him to and from work every day this has been a major stress on our family, his work and our life in general. losing his right to drive has hurt him emotionly and in the hippocket and will not be repeated again.

BUT what got me was the day we were in court a 20yr kid before him had DUI(.065)and with that also failed to stop for police, ran a red light,then mounted a gutter then fled the tarago he was driving to be chased over a fence where police finally captured him. He’s excuse he was scared he’d get in trouble from his parents and was very sorry. he walked out of court with 4months and was granted a work permit allowing him to drive between 6am and 7pm. What lesson did this kid learn it’s ok to drink drive ok to run red lights and run from the police.

#11
chewy1411:32 am, 23 Apr 09

rottweiler said :

My partner is one week off getting his lic back after it was suspened for 7 months for DUI(.059), as a labourer he works for himself and with no work permit granted this was almost the end of his bussiness and our main income so i’ve had to drive him to and from work every day this has been a major stress on our family, his work and our life in general. losing his right to drive has hurt him emotionly and in the hippocket and will not be repeated again.

BUT what got me was the day we were in court a 20yr kid before him had DUI(.065)and with that also failed to stop for police, ran a red light,then mounted a gutter then fled the tarago he was driving to be chased over a fence where police finally captured him. He’s excuse he was scared he’d get in trouble from his parents and was very sorry. he walked out of court with 4months and was granted a work permit allowing him to drive between 6am and 7pm. What lesson did this kid learn it’s ok to drink drive ok to run red lights and run from the police.

Can’t be the full story.

#12
BerraBoy6811:36 am, 23 Apr 09

@Rottweiler – sounds a bit odd to me. What circumstance are there behind your husband losing his licence for .059? The penalty seem very excessive for a low end reading which they seem to take into account when sentencing, at least they did in my case.

#13
Spectra11:38 am, 23 Apr 09

Spectra said :

More and more people I know are losing their licenses for drink driving, and seem to be SLOWLY getting the message. Unfortunatly it took for them to suffer the consequences to begin to learn.

I would suggest that losing your license is one of the more preferable consequences of drink driving…

#14
dvaey11:51 am, 23 Apr 09

chewy14 said :

Can’t be the full story.

She must have neglected to say her partner couldnt afford a lawyer as good as the kid who got off.

On a side note, a mate of mine used to smoke dope on a semi-regular basis partly because he was under 18 and didnt want to drink. He attempted going for a job which required he be drug tested, so he subsequently gave up the grass. The unfortunate side-effect to this was that he slowly took up drinking instead, as he now had spare time and money, was now over 18, and could drink in confidence knowing it wouldnt affect his job drug test. Within about a month of this, he was caught DUI (0.020 on Ps) and was charged. We had been out for the evening, he hadnt driven for 4 hours after 2 drinks, to be safe, then finally went home and got nicked on the way home.

He learnt his lesson the hard way, just because alcohol is legal and ‘safe’, it cost him his chances at the job anyway. He quit drinking, went back to smoking, and is now leading a much happier life without fear of ever losing his license for DUI again.

(Having said this story, within weeks of swapping the weed for the drink, he was involved in a few punchups in civic too, thus making the decision even easier).

#15
FC11:54 am, 23 Apr 09

Or how about not regularly using any mind altering substance.
Problem solved (except for whatever the underlying need to use is anyway!)

#16
motleychick11:56 am, 23 Apr 09

Personally I think there need to be much harsher penalties for drink driving, especially for repeat offenders. I know someone who was drink driving (way over the limit) on a suspended licence and they lost their licence for 3 months and that was it. And they have not learnt their lesson, they drove without a licence and continued to drink drive.

I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t done it before, I’ve driven drunk many a time. But I’ve since matured and it surprises me at how many people my age still continue to drink drive, especially since a lot of them are re-offenders. Most of them won’t learn their lesson until they actually hurt someone or themselves.

#17
chewy1412:02 pm, 23 Apr 09

dvaey said :

He learnt his lesson the hard way, just because alcohol is legal and ‘safe’, it cost him his chances at the job anyway. He quit drinking, went back to smoking, and is now leading a much happier life without fear of ever losing his license for DUI again.

(Having said this story, within weeks of swapping the weed for the drink, he was involved in a few punchups in civic too, thus making the decision even easier).

Thats because he was too paranoid to go out of the house.
How you turned a DUI thread into a promotion of weed i don’t know.

#18
hax12:09 pm, 23 Apr 09

Spectra said :

I would suggest that losing your license is one of the more preferable consequences of drink driving…

Why is that preferable? Is it because a lot of people know they’re probably going to do it, and don’t want a truly harsh punishment?

F@#k drink drivers.

Instant loss of license for ‘minor’ first time offence (and a bit of an educational beating)
Jail time after that

Losing your license doesn’t = can’t drive any more to a lot of people, so sorry, if they don’t get the message – the second time they should be physically removed from society
This is completely fair, considering you should already know before doing it at all, and also considering the people that get caught have probably got away with it many times before.

#19
FC12:18 pm, 23 Apr 09

I think they meant it is a preferable consequence to ended up dead, or killing someone

#20
midlife12:34 pm, 23 Apr 09

The increase in offenders was probably because the police did more tests rather than more drink drivers on the road. I would like to know as a percentage what were the results.

Who cares about the penalty when the risk of being caught is low. In NSW they have high profile booze busses and operations. ACT Police seem to have a more strategic approach that does not have a profile.

#21
monomania1:44 pm, 23 Apr 09

chewy14 said :

Maybe if the excuse of “I have an unblemished driving record for 30 years” didn’t allow older offenders to get off with a slap on the wrist, something might change.
You can’t go into court and say “look i haven’t murdered anyone in 30 years, i should be let off.” Well maybe anywhere other than Canberra that is.

What a stupid argument.

So most of these drunk drivers are older people who have been caught offending again? If they had been dealt with more harshly the first time they would have learnt their lesson?

Or is it because all those older people with 30 years of unblemished driving are now encouraged to drive round when drunk because they know that they will only get a slap on the wrist if caught?

#22
chewy142:03 pm, 23 Apr 09

monomania said :

What a stupid argument.

So most of these drunk drivers are older people who have been caught offending again? If they had been dealt with more harshly the first time they would have learnt their lesson?

Or is it because all those older people with 30 years of unblemished driving are now encouraged to drive round when drunk because they know that they will only get a slap on the wrist if caught?

A few years ago i attended court with a friend of mine who had been caught DUI at .07
He, a 25 year old male with 7 years of unblemished driving received a fine and 5month ban.
The man after him, a 45 year old male, also blowing .07 with 25 or so years of unblemished driving received nothing, no conviction recorded and i think a small fine.

They both represented themselves and were gainfully employed at the time.

Where was the deterrant for older drivers to not offend?
I think there are a large number of people in Canberra that think DUI is not that bad, and they know if they get caught they can claim a good driving record and get off lightly.

Does that explain it better Mono?
Care to tell me what the difference in their crimes were?

#23
monomania2:35 pm, 23 Apr 09

It would appear from what you say the offences were of equal severity. I wasn’t in the court and have no idea how well they represented themselves, if age was the consideration, the 18 extra years of unblemished driving or some other factor that the magistrate might have taken into account.

chewy14 said :

I think there are a large number of people in Canberra that think DUI is not that bad, and they know if they get caught they can claim a good driving record and get off lightly.

Most people who drive when intoxicated either don’t think or don’t think they will be caught. They don’t think about the penalty and don’t think that because they have a long driving history without a serious offense they will get off lightly.

It is quite reasonable to show some leniency to those with a previously good record. Having an unblemished driving record should only work once.

#24
motleychick2:54 pm, 23 Apr 09

Having an unblemished driving record shouldn’t really make a difference. Fair enough you may be a good driver, but you risk your life and the lives of many others if you drink drive. No one should get off lightly.

#25
Instant Mash2:57 pm, 23 Apr 09

Many of my friends do it. You can tell them not to, but they won’t listen. It’s just convenience…

#26
FC3:23 pm, 23 Apr 09

You can also get pissed off at friends for doing it and when they wonder what you’re getting so worked up about you can tell them:
The lives they are risking, including their own, their recklessness.
Obviously people will do what they are going to do, but sometimes having a friend kick up a stink can make them think twice about why its sucha big deal.
The more it is tolerated as acceptable by the community (peoples friends and family), the more it will continue.

#27
motleychick3:28 pm, 23 Apr 09

Majority of people don’t listen when you tell them not to do something. When I used to tell my mate not to drink and that I wouldn’t get in the car with her if she did, she’d still do it anyway and just laugh off what I said. Especially when it comes to young people, there is no way you can tell them what to do, even if you are their friend. They’re going to do whatever they want anyway!!

#28
motleychick3:29 pm, 23 Apr 09

It’s going to continue because people are making their own choices to do it, it has nothing to do with it being accepted by your friends or your family.

#29
Instant Mash3:34 pm, 23 Apr 09

Exactly right.

#30
FC3:35 pm, 23 Apr 09

I know that. My ex and his friends got a lift home from a mates wake with a drink driver. The initial mate had died while driving under the influence!! I couldn’t believe it.

That said, what would people do if their friends were assaulting someone (either physically or sexually) they would do what tey can to intervene and stop or, or they would become a liable party in the act.

Maybe, as friends, we need to feel this same type of responsibility where its like, “Hey, it could be my mum or my brother you kill when you get behind the wheel tonight. I don’t care if you don’t want to be my friend any more, I’m either a. taking your keys, b.going to call the cops if you drive or c.haven’t thought of this option yet”.

any friend worth having would forgive you the next day.

I think that sometimes we feel powerless to get involved, and are unsure of our place to say/do/allow for personal responsibility of others. I say if we are real friends we will stand up and do what we can (Not just a token effort of saying ‘don’t drive, your drunk)/

end rant.

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