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When is a random breath test not random?

By 10 April 2012 38

I was driving the diesel Golf southbound along Lady Denman Drive on Saturday afternoon with Mrs and Master Alderney when we happened on a police car blocking all traffic heading in that direction and funnelling it into a car park area for ‘random’ breath testing.

Now, I’m all for the police ensuring that drink impaired drivers are taken off the road. I don’t want to share the road with those so afflicted whilst driving around with my wife and child anymore than most of you, but there was absolutely nothing random about this at all. Every driver travelling along this section of road was subjected to a test.

There was only two police performing the tests, however in the time I was lined up before going on my way, one was otherwise occupied with a driver who it appeared was not in any trouble for his breath analysis, but for some other reason. He was quite obviously not being allowed to go anywhere using his car.

However, apart from a lack of any ‘randomness’ in the testing of drivers, there appeared to be no-one policing any vehicles that might have come around the bend, seen the bank-up of cars with a police van advertising a ‘random’ breath test, and done a u-turn, as any drink impaired driver with a modicum of nous would have done.

So, when did the random go out of random breath test?

For the record I counted (1 to 10) and was allowed on my way.

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38 Responses to When is a random breath test not random?
#31
thatsnotme6:33 pm, 10 Apr 12

liability said :

As a side note, there was the much reported [at the time] incident in Tassie in 2009 when the Tassie Police checked every single vehicle driving out of the Falls Festival – a large rock music festival.

There was up to a six hour wait for vehicles to get through the rbt check point. Lots of unhappy campers

The funny thing about that is if you were near the front of the line, you’d have had plenty of time to swap with a sober driver. If you were towards the back you wouldn’t need to bother…you’d sober up while waiting to get out of the place anyway!

#32
tonys6:56 pm, 10 Apr 12

The cars traveling along any road are ‘random’.

#33
threepaws9:42 pm, 10 Apr 12

Ben_Dover said :

threepaws said :

So, when did the random go out of random breath test?

Picking a group of drvers, or even all drivers using a particular route in fact, is a good way of ensuring randomness.

To pick and choose cars out of passing traffic is a way of ensuring bias.

Which bit of that do you find confusing?

Agreed. Pulling over every car on a stretch is likely more ‘random’ than cops choosing which cars to pull over.

If you were asked to draw 12 circles on a piece of paper, you would likely spread them out, not group them together. If your drawing was truly random then your circles should be just as likely to be clustered than evenly spread. To make things ‘random’, people inevitably create patterns.

If a cop sits at the start of your driveway every morning, well, that is targeted. If you happen to be driving along a road where every driver is tested, that is random. If you drive a white commodore with ‘enhancements’ and P plates, then expect to be targeted randomly, and frequently.

#34
Sandman9:46 pm, 10 Apr 12

chewy14 said :

Jim Jones said :

If you’re travelling too fast to stop when the car in front of you stops, then it sure as sh1t ain’t the cops fault.

So you were tailgating and screeched to a stop, the gave the cop ‘an earful’, told him ‘It was the dumbest place to put a RBT I have ever seen’, and then you complain that they the police are ‘all high and mighty’ and ‘won’t take advice’?

BWAAA HA HA HAHAH AHAHA HAA

Where did he say he was tailgating? He said he had to perform an emergency stop because the RBT was set up 25-50m from a corner.

I’d actually like to know what the requirements for setting up an RBT are with regards to road safety for the police and the public.
I too have seen some RBT setups where they didn’t look too safe.

An emergency stop, whether tailgating or not, would indicate that the driver wasn’t driving to the conditions of the road (ie – approaching a crest or blind corner). I’m sure Jim Jones assumed that some tailgating was involved , as that is the usual case when someone is forced to perform an emergency stop in order to avoid a stationary object that hasn’t materialized out of thin air in front of them.

#35
HenryBG10:10 pm, 10 Apr 12

Sandman said :

chewy14 said :

Jim Jones said :

If you’re travelling too fast to stop when the car in front of you stops, then it sure as sh1t ain’t the cops fault.

So you were tailgating and screeched to a stop, the gave the cop ‘an earful’, told him ‘It was the dumbest place to put a RBT I have ever seen’, and then you complain that they the police are ‘all high and mighty’ and ‘won’t take advice’?

BWAAA HA HA HAHAH AHAHA HAA

Where did he say he was tailgating? He said he had to perform an emergency stop because the RBT was set up 25-50m from a corner.

I’d actually like to know what the requirements for setting up an RBT are with regards to road safety for the police and the public.
I too have seen some RBT setups where they didn’t look too safe.

An emergency stop, whether tailgating or not, would indicate that the driver wasn’t driving to the conditions of the road (ie – approaching a crest or blind corner). I’m sure Jim Jones assumed that some tailgating was involved , as that is the usual case when someone is forced to perform an emergency stop in order to avoid a stationary object that hasn’t materialized out of thin air in front of them.

Presumably this is one of the same idiots who broke his car in a pothole when it was raining a few weeks ago, and decided it was somehow the ACT Government’s fault that he steered his car into the pothole.

“I’m an inattentive driver – how DARE you setup an RBT in front of me while I’m fiddling with my iPhone!!!???”

#36
buzz8196:36 am, 11 Apr 12

RaTTyRaTT said :

I have absolutely no problem with breath testing for the record, however I have a MASSIVE problem with where they setup the testing places. It was not long ago that they set up a testing area on Erindale Drive (near the large roundabout) working to pick up traffic coming from Woden to Tuggeranong. You go round the corner, and “no way to get away” is probably the thought some wise-arse had at the station.
Well, that’s fine – except for one thing. It’s a great way to A: test the brakes of people coming down Yamba Drive towards Tuggeranong (on the downside of the hill) and B: how to get a police officer killed in the line of duty.’
I got pulled by this setup, after having to emergency brake and gave the officer who came up to me a massive earful. Mostly he acted all high & mighty, until I pointed out a couple of factors, 1. if someone is doing 80Km/h down that hill, what is the stopping distance they have if they come round the corner, and the police setup about 25 – 50 metres beyond. 2. I believe Occupational Health & Safety would have a conniption fit if they saw that (along with the Police Union.)
It was the dumbest place to put a RBT I have ever seen, and told the guy that. Said to him that if he moved about another 100m down the road, he could get traffic coming off Sulwood Dr. and still be safer than where they were.

So, moral of the story, Cops aren’t always right, and most certainly it would be nice to meet a cop that was actually teachable/listening to people around them, rather than thinking he was the best thing since AIR was invented… (LOL)
Note: they didn’t follow my advice, thus a number of vehicles were doing emergency braking and nearly killing themselves on that corner, but the cops did clear out soon after… about 30 mins later they were gone.

You know to start off with, I thought you meant they managed to squeeze in an RBT between the Ashley Drive and Sternberg Cres roundabouts, I thought, now that is a bit silly, then I reread it, you mean near the Sulwood Drive roundabout don’t you?

Where there is 2 or 3 lanes, depending on where you are on the road, a large area on the side of the road to pull over and as soon as you get past the roundabout a good view a head of you.

If you can not drive to those conditions AND be able to stop, for anything, considering how many kangaroo’s are normally on that stretch of road, you need to give yourself a good hard uppercut, like a good one, not the panzy sissy hit I imagine you think is hard.

Random as a lot of other people said is random, time of day, road, day etc. If they are pulling over every car, that is random as well. Next time they might pull over three, get rid of them, pull over the next three, you never know.

Targeted breath testing happens, I believe there was a release a couple of months ago where they were targeting the drink drivers of the Belconnen area or something?

#37
Henry828:54 am, 11 Apr 12

I think they should dedicate necessary resources to not significantly delay traffic if they’re going to do these breath tests.

#38
steele_blade7:45 pm, 11 Apr 12

buzz819 said :

RaTTyRaTT said :

I have absolutely no problem with breath testing for the record, however I have a MASSIVE problem with where they setup the testing places. It was not long ago that they set up a testing area on Erindale Drive (near the large roundabout) working to pick up traffic coming from Woden to Tuggeranong. You go round the corner, and “no way to get away” is probably the thought some wise-arse had at the station.
Well, that’s fine – except for one thing. It’s a great way to A: test the brakes of people coming down Yamba Drive towards Tuggeranong (on the downside of the hill) and B: how to get a police officer killed in the line of duty.’
I got pulled by this setup, after having to emergency brake and gave the officer who came up to me a massive earful. Mostly he acted all high & mighty, until I pointed out a couple of factors, 1. if someone is doing 80Km/h down that hill, what is the stopping distance they have if they come round the corner, and the police setup about 25 – 50 metres beyond. 2. I believe Occupational Health & Safety would have a conniption fit if they saw that (along with the Police Union.)
It was the dumbest place to put a RBT I have ever seen, and told the guy that. Said to him that if he moved about another 100m down the road, he could get traffic coming off Sulwood Dr. and still be safer than where they were.

So, moral of the story, Cops aren’t always right, and most certainly it would be nice to meet a cop that was actually teachable/listening to people around them, rather than thinking he was the best thing since AIR was invented… (LOL)
Note: they didn’t follow my advice, thus a number of vehicles were doing emergency braking and nearly killing themselves on that corner, but the cops did clear out soon after… about 30 mins later they were gone.

You know to start off with, I thought you meant they managed to squeeze in an RBT between the Ashley Drive and Sternberg Cres roundabouts, I thought, now that is a bit silly, then I reread it, you mean near the Sulwood Drive roundabout don’t you?

Where there is 2 or 3 lanes, depending on where you are on the road, a large area on the side of the road to pull over and as soon as you get past the roundabout a good view a head of you.

If you can not drive to those conditions AND be able to stop, for anything, considering how many kangaroo’s are normally on that stretch of road, you need to give yourself a good hard uppercut, like a good one, not the panzy sissy hit I imagine you think is hard.

Random as a lot of other people said is random, time of day, road, day etc. If they are pulling over every car, that is random as well. Next time they might pull over three, get rid of them, pull over the next three, you never know.

Targeted breath testing happens, I believe there was a release a couple of months ago where they were targeting the drink drivers of the Belconnen area or something?

There is no “large area on the side of the road to pull over”. I had to stop just around that curve where the third lane joins from Sulwood because of a kangaroo standing on the lane divider. A car in the adjacent lane had to pull up too. I sh!t bricks worrying about traffic coming up behind me. It’s no consolation to me, or potentially to a copper’s widow, to say sorry, not everybody drives to the conditions.

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