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No naming and shaming in new drink drive laws

By johnboy - 24 June 2010 11

The ABC informs us that new drink driving laws have been tabled in the Legislative Assembly by Chief Minister Stanhope:

The measures include a zero blood alcohol limit for learner and probationary drivers and limited access to restricted licences.

No public naming process however, apparently there are privacy concerns.

Apparently drink driving is not acceptable to the Chief Minister. John Hargreaves anyone?

UPDATE: Mr Stanhope’s office have dragged themselves away from watching TV news long enough to get up a media release on this:

The new laws will:
— reduce the current blood alcohol concentration (BAC) 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 BAC 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 BAC by 0.05 or more (i.e. for full licence holders , a BAC of 0.10 or more);
— require police to immediately suspend the driver licence of a high range offender who exceeds the applicable BAC limit by 0.05 or more (i.e. for full licence holders a BAC 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.

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
No naming and shaming in new drink drive laws
farq 3:36 pm 29 Jun 10

Going back to the old days of publishing names is not thinking big enough.

If you really thikn that shaming people makes any difference, why not go a step further and bring back the stocks and pillory?

Get your pound of flesh that way.

BrassRazoo 1:38 pm 29 Jun 10

Yeah, why not publish the details of anyone convicted of a criminal offence? At the moment it seems to depend on whether there’s a point of law involved or whether the media takes an interest. Publication for all to see would reinforce the notion of crime being an offence against society as a whole and, who knows, may even, in some cases, obviate the need for incarceration or crippling fines. And we may even find that there are just a small number of outright scumbags and perhaps a few people who need help who are responsible for a majority of criminal activity.

merlin bodega 10:15 am 25 Jun 10

The Chiefly Minister is losing the plot on all aspects of Transport policy it seems. Bring back the days I say when the Canberra Times would publish the names of drunks deciding to put the lives of other people, in a special column. That is of course until an erstwhile Transport Minister tanked while tanked. Does this change to law protect anyone? Once upon a time we punished the wicked.

p1 11:22 pm 24 Jun 10

…and then the cops can charge you for being a Sub Minimal Allowable Reaction Time Auto-mobile & Road Safety Expert.

harvyk1 7:43 pm 24 Jun 10

The problem IMHO doesn’t address the real problem at all…

Yes a person which a BAC of say 0.10 will probably have a slower reaction time than had they had 0.00.
But that’s not to say that a person with both a BAC 0.10 and a fast reaction time on the road is more dangerous than a person with a BAC of 0.00 and a slow reaction time…

Infact in the senario given above it’s entirely likely that the person with a 0.00 BAC but a slow reaction time, or just not a very good driver will be far more dangerous than the good driver with a fast reaction time and a BAC of 0.10

What I would ideally like to see is they get rid of this notion of BAC’s and instead introduce minimum allowable reaction times (I’ll call them “MART” :). If a persons “MART” drops below a certain speed, (eg they take longer than 0.5 seconds to react) then they are not allowed to drive regardless of reason, be it fatigue, distracted, BAC, or just not a very good driver.

This will also mean that should a person be unable to achieve the required “MART” score when sober, awake and without other things on their mind, then it is deemed that they probably won’t be a good driver, and thus won’t be allowed to hold a license in the first place…

Just my 2c \ rant

Special G 6:12 pm 24 Jun 10

The 0 BAC level brings the ACT in line with other states. 0.02 gives the impression that you can drink something before driving.

It’s very simple – Don’t drive after drinking anything – find another way home.

dtc 5:44 pm 24 Jun 10

I always thought the 0.02 level was because you can record >0.0 without actually drinking anything. Has this changed?

And, anyway, is there actually any detriment to driving ability at 0.02 level? Presumably not, because most drivers can have 0.05. In which case its a pointless exercise that actually changes nothing.

0.10 is hardly high range, since the legal limit (ie statutory level of impairment) was 0.08.

I agree totally about drinking and not driving (and probably have more experience in the effects than many, through my work I hasten to add rather than personally) but restricted licences are needed sometimes to prevent the loss of licence being a major catastophe for some drivers following one mistake (eg shift workers who then lose their job). Surely the answer is to make it harder to get a restricted licence, rather than prevent anyone getting it.

Actually, what will happen is that people will just drive unlicenced, then be uninsured and either end up with a criminal record (if picked up) or reliant upon taxpayer dollars (if injured and uninsured).

If only we had a taxi/bus/tram/train/rickshaw system that got rid of the incentive to drive unlicensed . . .

Spectra 4:30 pm 24 Jun 10

So I’m very curious about the justification for these changes:

“Mr Stanhope says the changes are necessary because recent ACT Policing data shows that approximately one in 70 drivers tested is a drink driver.”

Won’t lowering the BAC limit to 0 on some licenses just result in a bunch of people who were previously legal drivers becoming “drink” drivers (assuming no behaviour changes)? Won’t that just make the stats worse?

“People are breaking the laws as they are, so we’re making the laws more restrictive” is an argument that pollies of all sides love to make, but which has never made an ounce of sense to me.

Spideydog 3:35 pm 24 Jun 10

Not sure about the privacy issue ….. the conviction is on the public record anyways !!!!

p1 3:26 pm 24 Jun 10

No public naming process however, apparently there are privacy concerns.

I fail to see how a person can have any right to privacy regarding a conviction. If you can commit an offence, be caught, tried and convicted without losing the right to privacy, no wonder the newspapers are full of gossip and crap but no news.

steveu 1:50 pm 24 Jun 10

I personally thought the publications of one’s name when found guilty of such an offence was almost as effective as the punishment dished out itself. In fact, it seems to be a good part of the punishment. So they are essentially reducing the punishment for drink driving offences. Your observation about Hargreaves seems right on the mark.

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