Poll: Drink Driving Law Change in NSW

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6107735/all-drink-dri...

Now low range .05 offences will result in automatic 3 month suspension & $560 fine. I know they say drink driving caused 68 deaths. I wonder if the have a range breakdown.

Am I too cynical that this is simply about revenue and a ‘tough look’?

Adding a poll: (first poll, so sorry if I stuff it up)

What’s a bigger deterrent for first time low range DUI:

Poll Options

  • 24
    Losing a days work and facing up to a magistrate in court
  • 243
    On the spot fine and 3 month suspension

Comments

  • +36 votes

    Anything that involved the use of alcohol and a vehicle would be included in the statistics.

    If someone had alcohol, started a car that had a car bomb, it too would be a drink driving death.

    I'm not in any way condoning drink driving. Just look at how TAC twist the data to justify their actions.

    • +4 votes

      You are taking it way too literally.

      •  

        You think the stats aren't drawn that way? You're in for a wild ride if you ever scrutinize TAC's citations.

        • +25 votes

          You can drink, drive, and get into a car accident where it is 100% not your fault (rear-ender)…. and be found it is your fault, even if you have a dashcam footage. And this will be recorded as a statistic of a collision (not even minor) that was caused by drink driving.

          The data is corrupted, though I'm not defending drink driving, if we take this absurdity to its logical conclusion we will soon make cars illegal in Australia.

    • +55 votes

      Same with “drug affected” drivers; got trace metabolites in your system? Crashed because of drugs.

      They won’t crack down on dangerous elderly drivers because that’s, effectively, most of our political population in a decade or 2.

      They won’t crack down on poorly trained international drivers, and/or those that have difficulty/impossibility reading road signs - they keep the economy going.

      They won’t crack down on the nanny-state stance, where people are worried about exceeding the speed by 2km’s at fear of getting a fine, and therefore not paying as much attention to the road as you can in other countries - this is a solid revenue stream.

      And they won’t educate people that it’s speed differential which causes crashes, because it’s cheaper and easier to just say “don’t speed” and fail to police the dangers introduced by people driving too slow.

      I’m absolutely against driving under the influence of drugs +/- alcohol (influence being the key term) and think anyone that does this deserves to be punished accordingly. But their hyper-focus on a couple issues whilst ignoring several other major ones is beyond frustrating, and makes it hard to take anything they do on face value.

      •  

        Was it bipartisan support?

      • +2 votes

        I think it's about flapping time drink drivers are not let off. But I agree with your comments about untrained international drivers, etc.

        We all stuff up when driving, but the amount of drivers out there that can barely drive, drive 20km under the speed limit or are way too cautious, is ridiculous.

        • -46 votes

          I often drive 20km under the speed limit. I get on the highway and then get off at the next exit sometimes, so I go 80 or 90 because I cant be arsed getting up to 100 for such a short period.

          Also sometimes I need more range so I slow down. If people cant deal with someone going 80 in a 100 zone from the far left of 4 lanes of traffic, they can go jump. It's the a holes that are overtaking people in the left to overtake people who are already doing the speed limit that are causing issues afaic

      • +1 vote

        @Strahany +1 100% couldn't of said it better.

        •  

          Yes, a great way of summarizing a mutifaceted problem. Unfortunately most people, government included, have an overly simplistic, dumbed down view of issues.

    • +1 vote

      It's the same with 'speed'. Doing 20km/h under the limit, slide off the road and die? That's a speeding death.

    •  

      How many car bombs in Australia in the last 20 years? and how many of those are put down as drink driving as you state?

      • -1 vote

        Wow.

      • +7 votes

        He was exaggerating to make a point. Do you really not understand this?

        • +1 vote

          exaggerating a point that would never occur, correct.

          •  

            @filfa: Yes. That is fundamental concept of discourse. Exaggerate a point to show how a poor argument fails.

            Less exaggerated examples for your consideration:

            A person had one standard drink and had an incident 15 minutes after finishing their drink (so blood alcohol from ~0.02 to 0.06, depending on size and metabolism of person).

            A tree fell on to the road and they hit the tree. The car following hit the 'drunk driver'.

            Our 'drunk driver' stopped safely at a set of traffic lights, then they were rear ended by someone else not pay attention.

            Our 'drunk' is homeless, sleeping in the passenger seat in a cold, cold Canberran winter so they had one drink and turned their car on to run the heater. Someone else in the car park ran into them.

            Most females and small blokes loose their licence and are at fault for the crash because they had one standard drink, while most males and fat people are safe.

            A reasonable exaggeration saves wasting time like this, hence is excepted as a counter by most educated people as long as it's not a logical fallacy.

    •  

      'alcohol related' includes passengers and even pedestrians running out on the road etc. It's a bullshit statistic.

  • +20 votes

    If you want to drink then either have a designated driver or get a cab. I dont want an even slightly incapacitated driver near me or my family.

    I hope Victoria tightens up their laws to match.

    • +7 votes

      I hope Victoria tightens up their laws to match.

      Ummm.. have you actually been around in Vic lately? :p
      NSW is actually following Vic. Vic introduced new laws around this time last year and it's more draconian than the new rules being introduced for NSW - particularly around the fitting of an interlock for a low range offence.

      ANYONE over the (their applicable) limit in Vic gets an interlock, whereas the interlock rule only comes in from mid range and above for NSW.

      https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-r...

      The minimum cost of getting busted is $1500-$2000. That includes the fine itself plus the installation and monthly "maintenance" of that device (through a private company). There's only three of those interlock companies in Vic, so they have pretty much struck gold!

      I predict there'll be plenty of job losses as a result of the licence cancellations and many more unlicenced and uninsured drivers on our roads. That may or may not increase the number of hit and runs.

      • +1 vote

        Your prediction is based on an assumption that the penalties will not act as a deterrent. I can understand that, but I really do hope the deterrent effect works.

        I have a friend who has incurred these penalties, and he has decided not to drive in the future at all. He has assessed his lifestyle and made a choice, in the acknowledgement that drinking and driving and these penalties do not work for him.

        •  

          Your prediction is based on an assumption that the penalties will not act as a deterrent.

          It's a reasonable assumption. Unfortunately I'm limited in time and can't find the reference right now, but I've read that a high probability of being caught is a vastly more effective deterrent than even the most harsh penalty when you're rarely caught. (e.g. there are places that introduced the death penalty for murder but murder rates didn't drop)

          •  

            @abb: And the full paragraph is:
            "Your prediction is based on an assumption that the penalties will not act as a deterrent. I can understand that, but I really do hope the deterrent effect works."

            Unable to tell who negged my comment, but I have effectively agreed with the comment by bobbified.

            • +1 vote

              @GG57: No neg here, I just wanted to point out that (my recollection of) the data unfortunately says otherwise.

      • +2 votes

        Those poor drunk drivers. How their lives would be affected and forever changed by this harsh penalty.
        My prayers and thoughts go out to them.

    • +16 votes

      slightly incapacitated driver near me or my family.

      Senior citizens are everywhere.

    • +5 votes

      I agree but there is no provision for an accurate way of testing to see if you are 0.051.

      I like a drink and it's not uncommon for me to have a few beers and a bottle of wine during the course of an evening. My drinking habits are one of the reasons I bought a property close to public transport and a vibrant bar scene.

      What happens the next day? I rarely wake up with a hangover or feeling seedy but have no way of accurately telling if I'm 0.049 or 0.051. My car has a speedometer to accurately tell me if I'm doing over or under the speed limit but knowing what my BAC is becomes pure guess work and hope.

      • +5 votes

        Then your two options are:
        * I drink and choose not to drive
        * I drive because I chose not to drink

        • +1 vote

          So you can tell if you are either 0.049 or 0.05?

          • +3 votes

            @brad1-8tsi: No. That's impossible. I would be stuffed if I lost my license so my bac is either 0 or it doesn't matter (if I'm not driving)

            Not my neg BTW

          • +1 vote

            @brad1-8tsi:

            So you can tell if you are either 0.049 or 0.05?

            If you're that close to the line, go back to bed for another hour!

            •  

              @abb: I don't think you are understanding my point. You don't know if you are that close to the line.

              •  

                @brad1-8tsi: Blood alcohol level is lowered by about 0.015-0.02 an hour. So if you are still alive or not in a coma(<0.4%) and want to be safe, assume your BAC lowers at 0.01 an hour and wait 40 hours before you drive.

                Approximately 2 standard drinks in the first hour raises your BAC to 0.05 and 1 standard drink every hour keeps it there. If you do that and stop drinking before you sleep. You will be alright.

                If you know you have something important the next day, drink less.

      •  

        Buy a breatho. They're not very expensive

        •  

          They aren't calibrated either.

          • +1 vote

            @brad1-8tsi: There are plenty of inexpensive options for calibrated brethos on the market that meet the Australian Standards. If you like a drink and really need your licence for work, $250 doesn't seem like much of an investment for peace of mind.

      •  

        A BAC of 0.050 is OVER the limit.

    •  

      We don’t need tightening of laws.. we already have roadworks.

    •  

      I don't want an even slightly incapacitated driver near me or my family.

      Same. It's distracting to drive with people in your car so for my safety can you please either walk or use public transport when you want to go out with your family.

      It's distracting to sing along to the radio or talk via hands free. Can you please refrain from talking while driving for my safety.

      It's distracting to listen to the radio or adjust controls like air conditioning. For my safety I insist that you preset any comfort features before moving and keep the radio off while driving alone in silence.

      I believe I have the right to move freely and not be potentially mowed down by careless, distracted drivers moving their family, calling their partner after work or enjoying music or talk back.

      I hope Victoria rightly tightens their laws to make more than one seat in a car illegal, all forms of stereos illegal and any form of hands free (even steering wheel controls) illegal.

      Because driving even slightly impaired makes every driver run over a different family, for each five minutes of driving.

  • +1 vote

    Am I too cynical that this is simply about revenue and a ‘tough look’?

    I don't think revenue, I heard NSW gets hardly any from fines (like they do get some) but when compared to taxes and stamp duty it doesn't come close (though I believe thats largely because so many houses get sold in Sydney so lots of stamp duties). BUT that doesn't stop decision makers from thinking that it creates revenue, so they may do it anyway.
    I do think 'a tough look' has more to it. I personally don't see 'increased fines' as having any impact on drivers because no one knows what the fines are, nor do they think about it when they drive, even scrolled down to the comments I've forgotten what it was. I imagine an inebriated driver more so, it makes me question whether taking some time to look into other avenues that provide better safety might make a better difference.

    Then again I don't drive, so can't say too much on impact.

    • +2 votes

      I don't drive

      trustnoone

      Username checks out

    • +2 votes

      I don't think revenue, I heard NSW gets hardly any from fines

      $185m from speed camera and red light camera fines in FY18
      $84m police issued speeding fines
      $7.7m in seat belt offences
      $2.7m in bicycle and wheeled toy offences

      And the list goes on…

      • +1 vote

        I think it’s not increasing the revenue of fines, it’s reducing the cost of the courts system,

        • +1 vote

          Whichever way you look at it - fines or court cost savings ( and that was part of my thinking as well) the cynic in me believes it’s about improving the budget bottom line, disguised as tough on DUI.

          Normally they say things like… the statistics indicate low range DUI causes deaths, that’s why we’re clamping down OR Experts are telling us…

          But there was none of that in relation to low range DUI. That’s why I’m thinking it’s about budget bottom line and looking tough rather than saving lives.

      • +1 vote

        Sorry but $300M in the grand scheme of things would equate to 'hardly any'

        • +2 votes

          NSW budget surplus 18/19 = $1.3B

          $300m makes up 23% of that.

          2017 revenue source state that 5% of overall revenues came from fines and related avenues.

          "Hardly any" needs more air bunnies.

          •  

            @tshow: $300m makes up 23% of NSW budget surplus not the whole budget, surplus is much smaller than the whole size of the budget.
            5% of overall revenues came from fines and related avenues. — Yes that's exactly hardly any, and with zero fines NSW still have a budget surplus.

            •  

              @simonjo: You've reiterated everything I said (which clearly acknowledges the difference between surplus and entirety).

              … and you reckon 5% is little.

              Do you know what happens when our GDP dips 5% or unemployment jumps 5%.

              Imagine paying 5% more in interest rates (as a whole) or even just 23% relative to current.

              •  

                @tshow: The budget is much smaller than the GDP and the whole economy.
                5% of the budget is even smaller, and traffic fines is only a part of all fines.
                Among the traffic fined, the largest part, if I am not remembering it wrong, is parking fines.

                The point is, increasing the amount of fines is not and never will be a big part in government financial considerations.
                There are lots of things that can be done far easier to increase state revenue than imposing a few more hundred dollars on drunk drivers.
                As an example, some councils charge $10k on every DA approved.
                And in the case of fines, you know that PU is adjusted according to inflation every year. It's far easier to increase a few percentage for a base PU, if fines revenue is really what they are after.

                And I agree that it's about a stronger stance.

                •  

                  @simonjo:

                  There are lots of things that can be done far easier to increase state revenue than imposing a few more hundred dollars on drunk drivers.

                  Not really. The great thing about beating a dead horse is that it is dead and can't fight back.

                  As an example, some councils charge $10k on every DA approved.

                  If they increased it further, they may see a decrease in applications leading to decrease in development. It won't be massive but enough for it to be a talking point of certain voting sectors. This can become an election losing decision.

                  •  

                    @tshow: To me the fine sector is like a really skinny cow. Milk it as hard as you can but you can't get much more out.
                    There are lots of other sectors, much much fatter and easier to milk.
                    Planning and approvals, land tax, business regulations and penalties, foreign investments… list goes on.

                    And for state governments, a budget surplus does not necessarily mean more votes.
                    And the surplus does not go to politicians' pockets, it goes into next year's budget.
                    More surplus means more cards to play with for next year's government (may well be another government).

                    •  

                      @simonjo: All true. I just disagree that 5% is a skinny cow. It ain't the fattest but milk is milk.

                      The reason for someone asking for more (money) is to have more (money).

                      If some is good, more is surely better.

  • +7 votes

    Am I too cynical that this is simply about revenue and a ‘tough look’?

    It's not about revenue. If they wanted more revenue then they would've changed the road rules to increase the monetary penalty while letting the drivers keep their licence.
    Drivers in NSW that drink drive have a higher chance of reoffending and at the same time commit other traffic or motor related offences.

    •  

      It's not about revenue. If they wanted more revenue then they would've changed the road rules to increase the monetary penalty while letting the drivers keep their licence.

      By that logic, the reverse is true.

      Why collect money when they can just bar the driver from driving? And if they continued to drive, then they can be taken to court as is the current law.

    • +1 vote

      Totally agree.
      I elected to go to court for a traffic offence once, and about half of the cases that day were drunk drivers'.

      However I think it's too tough to suspend licenses for 3 months outright. Most people will need to go thru legal process to get compassionate considerations, which means increased public money wasted in courts and more revenue for lawyers.

      Forcing them to fit an interlock would be much wiser choice. Meanwhile give them 12 demerit points.
      It means if the drunk drivers never did anything wrong before can still drive, with no chance of re-offending and a hard slap on their wrists.
      Fitting these locks means more jobs for the tradies. I am OK with that.

  • +12 votes

    How is this about rEvEnUE rAiSiNg? Don’t drink and drive. It really isn’t that hard to understand.

    If you drink and then drive, you are a danger to yourself and everyone else on the road. Other people have a right to use the road without the fear of some drunk driver taking them out. This isn’t an exercise in rAiSiNg rEvEnUE, but more of sending home the message that drink driving will not be tolerated.

    If people obeyed the road rules, then there would not be this need to remove or suspend someone’s license. Unfortunately, as Australian drivers, we either just don’t get it, or we just don’t give a (fropanity). So maybe a suspension is what some people need to get their shit together…

    I’m just waiting for the same to be applied to mobile phone use.

    •  

      Agree about the don’t drink drive message. No argument there. Currently, I understand all DUI matters go before the courts. To me that would be a far greater deterrent. It would intimidate me more than a fine that I can anonymously pay.

      •  

        Currently, I understand all DUI matters go before the courts. To me that would be a far greater deterrent. It would intimidate me more than a fine that I can anonymously pay.

        You are in the minority here. If you have to drive for work (I.e. half the country surely) this is you cooked for 3 months. That's worse than a court appearance.

    • +2 votes

      The other thing that pops into my mind is all offences need scale. Do I think low range should result in suspension? Maybe. But start with a month for low range. The difference between 3 months for low range and 6 months for mid range is much of a muchness for me.

      •  

        all offences need scale.

        That's why speeding by 5km over isn't the same as 45km/h over. It is also why there is a graduated system for drink driving.

        ie: (NSW Drink Driving penalties)

        Low range (0.05 ~ 0.08) = 3 month suspension.
        Mid range (0.08 ~ 0.15) = 6 month suspension.
        High range (0.15 ~ ?.??) = 12 month suspension.

        Do I think low range should result in suspension?

        Absolutely. I have no problem with drivers who choose to drink, then drive, knowing the consequences and having their license removed from them. That is one less entitled arsehat on the road. There are radio, TV and other media ads about this. In this day and age saying you were not aware of it isn't a defence.

        I understand all DUI matters go before the courts. To me that would be a far greater deterrent.

        You are one isolated case and not representative of society. The powers that be have done the figures and worked out that even a trip before the magistrate has had little to no impact on the wider community. They don't care about fines, they don't care about magistrates. What people do care about is their license and their ability to get to work/home/holiday/shopping/etc…

        Is 3 months too harsh? No. The writing has been on the wall for long enough that everyone who drives, knows it. It's not a hidden or obscure law. Treating people with kid gloves is what has gotten us to this point. It's simple. The penalty needs to be severe enough to act as a deterrent or to make offenders reassess their life choices. I recently had my car written off and had to go without a car for 4 weeks and I did that standing on my head. 3 months on the other hand…

        • +3 votes

          A bit rich calling my opinion isolated. How dare I have an opinion my overlord.

          You state the powers have done the figures - evidence?

          • -10 votes

            @Vote for Pedro: Woah there, little cowboy, come down off your high horse before you hurt yourself.

            I didn't say that you were not entitled to an opinion, I am saying that you, as a subset of "one", do not represent the community as a "whole". Government cant base a discussion on anti-drink driving laws based on "because @Pedro thinks it would deter him…"

            evidence?

            They are changing the law. The police minister cant just wake up one morning and change a law like that. It needs to be taken through the right channels, talked about, proven why the change needs to be made and then implemented and all this is done within government. The fact that the law and penalties are being changed is evidence in itself that the powers that be did some form of homework.

            I'm sure if you wrote to the state police commissioners office and asked "why", they would happily send you the evidence.

            • +2 votes

              @pegaxs: And am on a forum to provide an opinion. No need to get narky because it doesn’t conform to your views.

              Your statement on evidence is lacking. It’s based on assumptions. Sometimes, and go with me here, a bunch of policy officers sit around a table and say ‘what can we do to look tough on…’

              If evidence is there, the way politicians operate, they’d have shoved it in our face. When the evidence is lacking, they talk tough, use emotive language and speak in general terms - as we’ve seen on this matter.

              • -9 votes

                @Vote for Pedro: I didn't get "narky". You're the one that seemed to glean some form of butthurt from it.

                I merely stated that you, as an individual and how "you" would react to being taken to court, is not indicative to how everyone else in society would react. "You surveyed one person, and the top answer is on the board…" is not how government conducts statistics. (although sometimes, I do wonder…)

                no evidence, i win… REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

                I didn't make the laws, nor the changes to them. The mere fact that the laws were changed is sufficient enough backing in itself that at some stage evidence was supplied on why it should be changed. Do I have that evidence on hand? No. Is it available? I would say so. Will I find it for you? No. Do you win by default by screeching "GiVe mE eViDeNcE!!11!!1!!"? No.

                a bunch of policy officers sit around a table and say ‘what can we do to look tough on…’

                You obviously have no idea of how/why laws get changed and just scream "ReVenUe rAiSiNg!!" when it doesn't go your way. From what I understand, the fine, the actual revenue part of the exercise, wasn't lifted at all (or at least, only minimally). REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE….

    • +4 votes

      If you drink and then drive, you are a danger to yourself and everyone else on the road.

      What magically happens at 0.05 that isn't present at 0.049?

      How do you know that you are over 0.049? You certainly can't feel it.

      I have no issues with keeping people over 0.049 away from the drivers seat but it's all a guess as to what the reading is until it's too late.

      • +5 votes

        What magically happens at 0.05 that isn't present at 0.049?

        Don’t know, not my field of study. It’s the same as asking, what happens at 101km/h that doesn’t happen at 100km/h. The 0.05 limit is a line in the sand they had to draw. If we allow 0.05, why not 0.06, then if we allow 0.06, why not 0.07… you can see where this is going.

        How do you know that you are over 0.049?

        I know I’m not over 0.049 by not drinking and driving. If I drink, I don’t drive. Simples *chirp*

        And it is a shame that a lot of the time, these limits get found out far to late. But I hope, maybe in vain, that this new amendment to the drink driving laws helps to deter people from making a poor decision. The ideal amount 0.00, but we all know that is just to draconian, but if people keep drinking, driving and killing themselves and other innocent road users, it may end up coming to that.

        • +1 vote

          I hesitate to say this, but you make some reasonable comments.

          I too hope our road toll is reduced. If you drink and drive, you’re a bloody idiot. I guess time will tell if this initiative reduces the road toll. I fear that if it doesn’t, the instinct will be to make tougher laws rather than work on our embedded cultural issues around drinking.

        • +3 votes

          I know I’m not over 0.049 by not drinking and driving. If I drink, I don’t drive.

          On the night I don't either. I'm an avid public transport / uber / taxi user. I'm talking about the next day when you feel sober, not hungover and perfectly fit and healthy.

          I've blown 0.051 after consuming 375ml of wine (4 standard drinks) over 2 hours with a full 3 course meal and a 90 minute break before driving. I'm fit, healthy and weigh 80kg. Under any guidelines I should have been well under. I didn't feel the slightest bit inebriated (would have given keys to partner if I had). After some discussion with the police officer he sent me on my way as he believed I was on my way down. I was very lucky and I don't think luck should come into it.

          •  

            @brad1-8tsi: isn't it 2 in your first hour, then one every hour after + 1 hour of no drinking before driving? In that case you were 30 mins short of the total amount of time which explains it.

            •  

              @Kill Joy: It is not science, it's a rule of thumb so it depends on the country. Some say one drink in the first hour. Some say a minimum of an extra hour wait per drink + four hours.

              It is an excellent tool to change cultural attitudes to curb high range drunk driving. It is a poor tool to reduce low range drunk driving.

  • +8 votes

    Ive never seen a bus driver get pulled over for an RBT and they sometimes drive like drunks

  • +3 votes

    so they say .05 is the limit, then why is it illegal to be .05… and call it special low range..

    its the same as saying 100k/h is the speed limit and then fining people for doing 100k/h

    you may be tested and be ok and then 20 min later for example your level increases and then your over…

    ps also if you want a beer, then get Carlton zero or the other similar products.

    •  

      Doesn’t really break down low, mid or high range

      • -1 vote

        I went through a few links, no disclosure on how they attribute fatalities to different factors.

        • +1 vote

          There have basically been two factors (and two factors alone) that have reduced the road toll consistently over the past 50-odd years … (1) RBT and (2) manufacturers' car safety features from the three point seatbelt all the way up to all the modern technology used in new cars today.

    •  

      Complied mess that can be viewed in many ways, leaves a lot of questions and can easily be interpreted wrongly.

      To me I think a lot of death have to old cars that today would be 1 star safety rating.

      Stats who fatigue is worse than drink driving.

      • +2 votes

        It feels like a knee jerk response to a rising road toll. And, it was fantastic publicity. I’m such a cynic.

        • +2 votes

          It always it, speed cameras everywhere but road toll still rises. So this is the next knee jerk reaction. Its stupid and doesn't solve the actual problem,

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