Tough new drink drive laws
THE Queensland Government's crackdown on drink drivers continued today with tough reforms announced to drink driving penalties and enforcement.
On the same day that alcohol interlocks became mandatory for serious drink driving offenders, Premier Anna Bligh and Transport Minister Rachel Nolan released the report Drink Driving in Queensland, The Next Steps.
The report is the State Government's response to the Drink Driving in Queensland discussion paper and contains three major reforms, to take effect from mid 2011:
- Police will be able to immediately suspend drivers with a Blood Alcohol Limit of 0.10, down from the current limit of 0.15
- Arresting or detaining officers will be able to perform an evidentiary breath analysis themselves, without the presence of a second officer as is currently required.
- Extension of the time limit for officers to get an evidentiary secondary blood or breath test from two to three hours.
"These reforms will make it easier for police to prosecute drink drivers," Ms Bligh said.
"Lowering the threshold for immediate suspension will protect the public by not allowing offenders who pose a risk to drive legally until their court date.
"It will also potentially prevent a repeat offence while the immediate suspension is in effect.
"Tough action is warranted because more than 700 people have tragically lost their lives on Queensland roads in crashes involving drink drivers in the last nine years."
Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said the measures would free up police officers to perform other duties and make it faster for regional police to identify and arrest drink drivers.
"Queensland police are now using one of the most technologically advanced breath analysing instruments - which is fully automated and undertakes self calibration and testing prior to each use," she said.
"A second officer is no longer required to corroborate evidence that the instrument was used correctly and this change brings us into line with other states.
"Extending the time limit for police to perform a secondary blood or breath test would provide those police required to cover greater distances in regional areas another hour in which to perform the test.
"This will also bring Queensland's drink driving legislation in line with current drug driving laws, which allow a three-hour time limit in which to test drivers for the presence of various drugs."
The Drink driving in Queensland discussion paper was released for online consultation on 14 March 2010 and more than 1000 responses were received.