By Andrew Starke

The Queensland Government is considering strict new laws to tackle drink driving which include lowering the blood alcohol limit for drivers from 0.05 to 0.02.

Premier Anna Bligh and Transport Minister Rachel Nolan have released the Drink Driving in Queensland Discussion Paper and asked business and the public to comment on a range of measures.

The 0.02 limit would bring Australia in line with Norway and Sweden, two countries that record amongst the lowest number of deaths on roads in the world.

“This week we announced the roll out of the alcohol interlockers scheme for high risk drink drivers and this discussion paper is the next step in our tough drink driving strategy,” said Bligh.

“In 2009, there were 71 fatalities involving alcohol on our roads, which equated to 21.5 percent of the entire road toll in Queensland.

“The papers canvasses dropping the blood alcohol limit lower than 0.05. I believe this is something that would need to be done nationally but I am interested in hearing Queenslander’s views,” she added.

A general example of the proposed change is that a person who could legally drive home after three glasses of wine consumed in an hour would no longer be able to do so.

However, an exact measure would need to take into account a particular wine’s alcohol content and the size of the person involved (amongst other factors).

Other options presented for discussion in the plan include:

  • Immediate license suspension for drink driving offenders with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 (which would be down from 0.15.)
  • Impoundment of vehicles for drink drivers who commit two or more drink driving offences of any kind.
  • Longer impoundment times for vehicles when drivers are charged with drink driving offences (currently 48 hours) to either seven or 28 days.
  • Work license reforms to make it tougher to get work licenses. The option of abolishing restricted licenses (work licenses) in Queensland entirely is also included in the paper.
  • A compulsory blood testing requirement for drivers who attend hospital for examination or treatment as a result of a motor vehicle crash.
  • Extending the time limit for requiring a specimen (blood or breath) for analysis for a drink driving charge from two to three hours to assist officers in remote locations.
  • Remove the current 48 hour leave period for open license holders to produce their license to stop people providing false identity at the time of police interception.

The discussion paper and survey can be viewed by clicking here.

Community consultation on the discussion paper closes at 9am on May 17, 2010.


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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