Drink driving in far north Queensland

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Drink driving in far north Queensland

Postby ddforum » September 9th, 2011, 11:31 am

According to Cairns.com.au (7 September 2011) Cairns has a serious drink-driving problem.
Latest police figures show the city maintains its shameful record as the state’s drink-driving hotspot, despite the State Government spending extra money on increasing the number of traffic officers and providing extra resources such as breathalysers.

A total of 1367 motorists were caught over the limit in the past financial year in the Cairns area. The figures come after a weekend in which 15 people were charged with drink-driving. The worst offender was a 25-year-old Clifton Beach woman who blew 0.266 – more than five times the legal limit.
Cairns MP Desley Boyle, who released the figures yesterday, said the city’s approach to drink-driving needed to change.
"It isn’t a pretty picture for Cairns," Ms Boyle said. "We have a very high alcohol consumption rate. "We like our pubs, our clubs, we like to go for a drink after work but too many people are getting in their cars afterwards."

Last year, brewer Lion Nathan estimated that 40 million litres of beer were drunk between Tully and the Torres Strait each year.

In the latest police figures, Cairns recorded fewer drink-drivers than the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Townsville but was well above other regions on the rate per population, with one drink-driver caught for every 120 people. More than 920 drink-drivers were caught in inner-city suburbs. Across the Far North, about 2500 drink-drivers were charged.

The complete drink-driving figures will be revealed when the Queensland Police Service releases its annual statistical review in November. The high rate angers police, who said almost a quarter of all road crashes involved a driver who had consumed alcohol. Since mid-2009, 10 extra officers have been added to traffic branches in Cairns, Mareeba and Innisfail. Cairns traffic branch officer-in-charge acting Insp Preben Farbaek said motorists were not deterred by more officers.

"We’ve got a culture of drink-driving here in the Far North," he said. "It’s not a history to be proud of with drink-driving being the standard, not the exception."
Acting Insp Farbaek said traffic operations would ramp up, particularly before Christmas. "We target areas where there have been a high rate of drink-drivers, a high rate of drink-drive crashes and a high ratio of licensed premises," he said. More than 146,000 roadside breath-tests were conducted in Cairns in the past financial year.
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