Commissioner calls for last drinks
MARYBOROUGH MP Chris Foley fears that cutting the legal blood alcohol limit to zero will punish people who are already sensible.
Colin McBride, the owner of the Hideaway Hotel in Tiaro, is concerned that if the limit is reduced to zero it could seriously harm his business.
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson has called for a nationwide discussion about lowering the allowable drink-driving limit to zero after admitting that a high-profile campaign had failed to keep the state’s road toll below 299 this year.
Mr Foley said that punishing those who went out to dinner and had one glass of wine or a beer made no sense. Instead, he said, police should be targeting repeat offenders.
Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen agreed, saying if a person is caught for drink driving they should have to stick to a zero-alcohol limit when driving there-after.
“A lot of drink drivers are repeat offenders. These people should have to have a zero alcohol limit.”
Mr Sorensen said one benefit of enforcing a zero-limit policy would be that it would remove the guessing game that drivers sometimes have to play as to whether or not they are under the limit after a few drinks.
“If a zero-alcohol limit was in place people would have to plan for it when they go out.”
Mr Sorensen said he was also concerned about people driving long distances after drinking, even if under the limit.
“People should avoid drinking and then driving long distances,” he said.
“Alcohol can make you tired.”
Mr Sorensen said that while other factors, such as fatigue and speeding did contribute to the road toll, it was important to remember that alcohol contributed to 25 per cent of crashes.
“It’s quite a high number.”
Mr Foley said that for those who were just looking to enjoy a meal and have one drink before driving home the limit should not change.
As a teetotaller reducing the limit would not affect him personally, Mr Foley said, but he sympathised with law-abiding members of the public.
“I think that a zero limit would discriminate against those who do the right thing.
“It is a heavy-handed approach.”
Mr McBride agreed, saying that because of a lack of affordable public transport to areas like Tiaro a zero limit could have a big impact on his business.
“A lot of people come out here and have dinner and they will have a beer or a glass of wine,” he said.
“The limit is low enough.
“Police have to concentrate on those willingly breaking the law rather than cutting the limit.
“It could virtually ruin business for all country pubs.”