NSW random breath-testing procedures ‘best in Australia’

Date: Mar 30, 2015

NSW is leading the charge in random breath testing in the country, according to a new study funded by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.

Drinking and driving is among the most common causes of car accident injuries and deaths in the country. In 1980, two years before the introduction of breath testing, alcohol was responsible for nearly one-third of crashes on NSW roads. This had dropped to 16 per cent by 2013.

The study, conducted by the University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research, attempted to identify the relationship between accidents where alcohol was a contributing factor and random breath testing.

General Manager at the Centre for Road Safety Marg Prendergast said the results showed NSW is working hard to prevent the number of incidents occurring on the state’s roads.

“With our Plan B advertising campaign, police random breath testing and strong penalties including licence disqualification, fines and now mandatory alcohol interlocks for high range and repeat offenders, the community now understands, and no longer accepts, the risk that drink driving poses,” she stated.

“Police have played a critical role in helping us to change this behaviour through their very strong and proactive approach, conducting around 5 million random breath tests every year.”

Reduction in car accident injuries and deaths

According to Ms Prendergast, Transport for NSW and NSW Police will continue to work together in an effort to reduce injuries and deaths involving vehicles in the state.

Current initiatives include high-visibility policing and targeted roadside enforcement processes. She added that the government is keen to use these measures and others to also tackle drug driving in the future.

NSW Police has also launched recent appeals to warn people of the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving. Over 40,000 motorists have been issued with infringement notices for this offence since the start of last year.

Commander of the NSW Police Force Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said random breath testing has been among the most effective ways to prevent car accidents.

“Since January 1 2014, more than 6.9 million random breath tests have been conducted, and more than 23,300 drivers have been charged with drink driving, a ratio of 1:285,” he stated.

“At the end of last year, there were 309 fatalities on our roads, the lowest since 1924. When you consider increases in population, drivers, and vehicles since then, this is an outstanding achievement.”

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