44 drink drivers flood courts

THE Fraser Coast's appalling drink-driving record was again on show yesterday as 44 drivers fronted up to the Wednesday traffic court hearings to answer charges involving failed breathalyser tests.

The embarrassing fact is that despite continual pleas from the courts and police, drivers continue to get behind the wheel drunk.

In Hervey Bay 29 drink-driving offenders were listed to appear before the court yesterday, while in Maryborough 15 people were listed to appear in court on similar charges.

Hervey Bay Magistrate Graeme Tatnell is sick of saying the same words every second Wednesday.

“There is no way you can estimate your alcohol concentration,” he said.

“Don't drink and drive. It's that simple.”

The 13th person to be convicted in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court yesterday for drink-driving had a long history of getting behind the wheel drunk.

Lawrence Francis Jones started at the tender age of 17 and yesterday, at the age of 34, he racked up his ninth drink-driving conviction.

He blew .242 when he was pulled over for a roadside breath test on September 12.

His shocking record was put before the court in the prosecution's bid to have Jones locked up.

In 2006 he blew .228.

In 2002 he blew .223.

In 2000 he blew .229 and .185.

Before that he had a low-range drink-driving conviction in 1996, two high-range concentration convictions in 1992 and a low-range reading in 1992.

Mr Tatnell quoted case law in which a Court of Appeal Judge said repeat drink-drivers should be treated mercilessly and serve time in prison to deter them from re-offending.

But Jones was given another opportunity. He was sentenced to six months jail but released immediately on parole.

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