Last chance to drink drive under the old laws

johnboy 19 November 2010 41

Chief Minister Stanhope is warning that drink driving is better done over the next ten days than after 1 December when new laws come into force.

Tough new drink driving laws will come into effect on 1 December 2010 in an effort to curb the reckless drink driving culture needlessly endangering the lives of Canberrans every day, Chief Minister and Minister for Transport Jon Stanhope announced today.

“Nationally random breath testing results show that about 1 in 150 drivers tested exceed the legal limit, while in the ACT 1 in 70 drivers tested are above the limit,” Mr Stanhope said. “This clearly shows the complete lack of regard some Canberra drivers have for not only their own safety on the road but of all other road users.

“There are more than 1,500 drink driving offences detected each year, and at least one third of these are repeat offenders, which indicates the high proportion of Canberrans that think it is okay to continuously put their fellow Canberrans at risk on our roads.

The new laws in summary are:

    — reduce the current alcohol concentration limit for special drivers (including learner, provisional, public vehicle and heavy vehicle drivers and holders of restricted driving licences) from 0.02 to zero;
    — extend the zero alcohol concentration limit to persons instructing or supervising learner drivers;
    — limit access to restricted (“work”) licences to genuine “first” offenders by changing the definition of “repeat offender” to mean anyone with a conviction for a drink driving or relevant offence, irrespective of how long ago that conviction was recorded;
    — deny access to restricted licences for high range first offenders who exceed the applicable alcohol concentration by 0.05 or more (i.e. for full licence holders , a alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more);
    — require police to immediately suspend the driver licence of a high range offender who exceeds the applicable alcohol concentration limit by 0.05 or more (i.e. for full licence holders a alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more);
    — require all convicted drink drivers to attend an alcohol awareness course prior to being issued a probationary or restricted driver licence; and
    — improve procedures relating to the taking and storing of blood samples from persons suspected of, or charged with, offences under the Act.

That alcohol awareness course will no doubt be a hoot.


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41 Responses to Last chance to drink drive under the old laws
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Mysteryman Mysteryman 10:58 am 22 Nov 10

Hooray. I’m so glad Dear Leader has decided again that the solution to the problems (whose existence are debatable at best) are to introduce even stricter laws that don’t actually address the issues, only the symptoms.

This man is full of stupid ideas. Increased regulation is not always the best solution to problems. As mentioned earlier, why not look at making it more viable for people to get home without needing to drive? I suppose looking at options such as light rail, which residents have been wanting for years, is too difficult or sensible. It’s easier just to further tighten the noose around drivers and empty their pockets at the same time. Bad governance.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 10:05 am 22 Nov 10

LSWCHP, an average bloke will drop approximately 0.01 per hour. I think i mentioned before, if you’ve had enough to drink the night before that you wake up hung-over then there’s a good chance you’ll still have a measurable BAC. You’re going to be pretty safe having half a bottle of wine with dinner and then driving with your kids the next day.

LSWCHP LSWCHP 11:56 pm 20 Nov 10

DJ: said
“Based on what you have written it looks like you have no issue taking your daughter driving when you may be under the influence of alcohol – even if it’s hours later. Really? Did I read this wrong?”

I think so. My point is that I don’t want to be doing driving instruction while under the influence, but there’s a chance that I may end up in that situation, if “under the influence” is defined as a BAC of 0.01. I’m not sure how to work out the safe “bottle to throttle” time to get down to absolute 0. If I have a beer with lunch, then wait three hours is that OK? I think it probably would be, but perhaps not. A couple of friends have their own personal breathalysers, but they appear to be so inaccurate that they’re useless.

Best to err on the side of caution, I suppose.

I only get to see my kids every second weekend, so it looks like there’ll be some dry weekends coming up, in the interests of improving the quality of learner driver instruction in the ACT. Oh well.

dvaey dvaey 9:13 pm 20 Nov 10

trimmed a little for the relevant bits..

DJ said :

LSWCHP said :

I certainly had no sense of being affected by alcohol while in the vehicle with her, but how do I know for sure?

Based on what you have written it looks like you have no issue taking your daughter driving when you may be under the influence of alcohol – even if it’s hours later. Really? Did I read this wrong?

How can you read ‘I certainly had no sense of being affected by alcohol’ to mean ‘have no issue taking your daughter driving when you may be under the influence’? I think you might have read it wrong, although it depends if by ‘under the influence’ you mean youd have a positive result > 0.0 (even trace), or if you mean to actually have your actions and reactions influenced by the presence of alcohol in your system.

Jethro Jethro 8:23 pm 20 Nov 10

DawnDrifter said :

Special G said :

Stats are always skewed.
Maybe we can put boom gates on the car parks with a breath testing kit – go under the limit and you can get your car out.

Thats actually a pretty good idea. You would still need a couple of cops there to enforce it but imo its better to put the cops where the traffic starts rather on near empty roads. This forces a change in behaviour to ensure that a driver under the limit drives the car away from venues.

I remember when I first moved to Canberra I read a Canberra Times article about a breath-testing unit stationing themselves at the exit to a Civic carpark and catching people. So obviously there are some morons out there who will still attempt it, even if the cops are breath testing people right in front of them.

Tooks Tooks 7:29 pm 20 Nov 10

toriness said :

Tooks said :

toriness said :

not that i drive very often or drink-drive but in the ten years in canberra i haven’t been breathalyzed once. and have only been a passenger in a car where the driver has been breathalyzed twice. what’s the point of having super-duper laws that aren’t enforced?

You may have missed the point. These tougher laws are being put in place because many people are being caught. You may not have been breath tested, but obviously many are being tested, and many are failing.

i didn’t miss the point at all. in fact i am making a point – see jethro’s longer commentary at #26.

Okay, I must’ve missed something. You said What’s the point of having super-duper laws that aren’t enforced? My point was obviously they are being enforced.

If the laws weren’t being enforced, then zero people would be convicted.

DawnDrifter DawnDrifter 5:49 pm 20 Nov 10

Special G said :

Stats are always skewed.
Maybe we can put boom gates on the car parks with a breath testing kit – go under the limit and you can get your car out.

Thats actually a pretty good idea. You would still need a couple of cops there to enforce it but imo its better to put the cops where the traffic starts rather on near empty roads. This forces a change in behaviour to ensure that a driver under the limit drives the car away from venues.

DJ DJ 5:25 pm 20 Nov 10

LSWCHP said :

The zero limit for those supervising learner drivers is a wank. I’m currently teaching my teenage daughter to drive. We certainly don’t want pissed people teaching young folks bad habits right from the off, but how the hell am I supposed to know if my BAC is precisely at 0.00 at any give moment? Last Friday night I had a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and a nightcap before bed, then took her driving for an hour on Saturday morning. I certainly had no sense of being affected by alcohol while in the vehicle with her, but how do I know for sure?

Other than that, all good. In a few months time my daughter will be on the road by herself. I’ve spent some time lying on the wreckage of a vehicle with blood pissing all over the place, and I don’t want that to happen to her. I want her to be safe, and the more drunks we keep off the road the happier I’ll be.

You can know for sure by not drinking when you know you may have to drive a vehicle – it’s very simple. Based on what you have written it looks like you have no issue taking your daughter driving when you may be under the influence of alcohol – even if it’s hours later. Really? Did I read this wrong?

Why do people strive to find excuses for their behaviour when it places the general public/road users at risk? Everybody wants to have a go at the legislation and blame transport for decisions they make while intoxicated…. we may need to increase the driving age to 21 and have a common sense test….

Special G Special G 1:45 pm 20 Nov 10

Stats are always skewed.

You can either – waste your time and resources doing RBT at 11am on a Tuesday morning where you might catch 1 person in 10,000 tests conducted or;

You can do it at the exit to Pitts car park on Thur, Fri or Sat night and catch 1 person per 10 tests conducted.

Which method is employing your tax dollar better.

Maybe we can put boom gates on the car parks with a breath testing kit – go under the limit and you can get your car out.

The risk of getting assualted in the cab rank is the same as being assaulted for the rest of your time in town. People flouting that as an excuse to Drink drive are kidding themselves. They just don’t care for the consequences.

toriness toriness 12:59 pm 20 Nov 10

Tooks said :

toriness said :

not that i drive very often or drink-drive but in the ten years in canberra i haven’t been breathalyzed once. and have only been a passenger in a car where the driver has been breathalyzed twice. what’s the point of having super-duper laws that aren’t enforced?

You may have missed the point. These tougher laws are being put in place because many people are being caught. You may not have been breath tested, but obviously many are being tested, and many are failing.

i didn’t miss the point at all. in fact i am making a point – see jethro’s longer commentary at #26.

dvaey dvaey 11:47 am 20 Nov 10

pepmeup said :

I also Agree that having a spread population like Canberra with poor public Transport does not help. But that is not a good enough excuse to break the law and endanger people.

Maybe you need to change your point of view. Rather than looking at lack of public transport as an ‘excuse’ maybe you need to look at it as a problem that can be rectified? Sure, its easy to always blame people rather than actually look at the situation, but what does that achieve, other than adding a bit of extra money to the ACT budget, and cancellng the licence of someone who wont stop driving on the roads anyway.

People will go into the city to drink. People will need to get home at the end of the night. Even for those who try to do the right thing and catch public transport, the options are minimal, so they figure they can risk being assaulted in the city, or risk getting pulled over on the way home. Unfortunately, the risk of being assaulted is higher in the ACT.

vg vg 11:15 am 20 Nov 10

PedroPJ said :

Stanhope says that Canberra has a higher rate of DUI offences in comparison to other jurisdictions because Canberrans have a “complete lack of regard for not only their own safety on the road but of all other road users.”

Clearly it has nothing to do with woeful public transport and the inability to get a cab after midnight without waiting for 3 hours and/or being assaulted…

If you have to wait 3 hrs for a cab after midnight there is something wrong with you. I have never waited more than 10-15 mins for a cab in the CBD. The art is to not stand where every other clown does

Clown Killer Clown Killer 9:57 am 20 Nov 10

I think there will be a problem achieving the 0.00 limit, being the way our digestive system works.

In the mining and resources sector there’d be close to 20,000 people nationally who are breath tested every morning before they start work. I’d wager that there wouldn’t be any cases of people exceeding the mandated 0.00 limit who weren’t on the grog the night before.

pepmeup pepmeup 9:53 am 20 Nov 10

I agree with jethro, there is just not enough testing done in Canberra, so people believe the risk of getting caught is very low. So more people do drink drive, I also Agree that having a spread population like Canberra with poor public Transport does not help. But that is not a good enough excuse to break the law and endanger people.

on a side note, its classic that the ad below this is for a criminal law firm that will represent drink drivers

Rawhide Kid Part3 Rawhide Kid Part3 9:48 am 20 Nov 10

I think there will be a problem achieving the 0.00 limit, being the way our digestive system works.

Jethro Jethro 7:59 am 20 Nov 10

PedroPJ said :

Stanhope says that Canberra has a higher rate of DUI offences in comparison to other jurisdictions because Canberrans have a “complete lack of regard for not only their own safety on the road but of all other road users.”

Clearly it has nothing to do with woeful public transport and the inability to get a cab after midnight without waiting for 3 hours and/or being assaulted…

That might partly explain why the ACT’s drink driving rate is higher than other jurisdictions. However, I would contend that the main reason why ACT drivers are testing at the higher rate is because of the territory’s crappy testing regime. A number of posters have commented on how little they have ever been tested here. I have been here for 2 years and have only been tested once… driving out of Civic at midnight on a Friday.

Testing in Canberra only seems to occur at ‘peak times’ for drink drivers.

In Brisbane I was tested at least 4 or 5 times a year – often at odd times, like 11am on a Tuesday morning, or 4pm on a Monday afternoon.

If other places have testing regimes like this it has two effects:

1. People are less likely to drink and drive because they know there is a higher chance of getting caught – no matter what time or day.

2. the rate of people getting caught drinking is going to be lower than here, because there will be less drunk drivers at 11am on a Tuesday morning than at midnight on a Friday night.

If the ACT government actually gave a rat’s about road safety they would have a more thorough testing regime. As it is, most drink drivers here would know that they can drink drive and will only face a very slight chance of getting caught.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 7:54 am 20 Nov 10

Pork Hunt, you won’t see one. The amount of alcohol in cough medicine, Christmas cake, liqueur chocolates etc is insufficient to raise the blood alcohol level – unless you were using those substances to deliberately try and get intoxicated. Let’s say you had a dose of cough medicine, then immediately got into the car and at the end of your street were pulled over for a random breath test. That test may come up positive (on account of residual alcohol in your mouth), but the follow up test 30 minutes later wouldn’t.

LSWCHP, as a rough guide – if you feel hung over, there’s a good chance your still above 0.000.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 7:46 am 20 Nov 10

The new changes look good – I particularly like the tightening up of access to restricted licenses.

What I don’t buy is the argument run by Standope that ACT drivers go DUI at twice the rate of other cities. This seems a tad spurious given the fact that he’s made statements before about the ACT Policing policy of specifically targeting known drink-driving trouble spots. Assuming that policy was successful then you would expect to be getting a better bang for your buck – in this case a higher strike rate of drivers who are DUI.

Zilog Zilog 7:04 am 20 Nov 10

Stanhope is an un-mitigated twit.

Compared with NSW, ACT police bother to target it. NSW police assiduously avoid antagonising licensed premises. Kickback anyone?

Two. The ACT has FEW arterial roads; unlike a chaotic urban design, there are no “side streets” one can avail oneself of.

Once again, an ABJECT TWIT!

goose goose 6:23 am 20 Nov 10

All licences should have a ZERO limit.

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