Australia’s Queensland state cracks down on drink-drivers
SYDNEY: The Australian state of Queensland announced on Thursday that the government is about to launch a range of strict laws to make it much harder for intoxicated motorists to take to the roads.
Under present rules in Queensland, people who have been sentenced for driving while having high blood-alcohol levels must prove their sobriety every time they get behind their steering wheels. To ensure they do this, authorities install breath-analysing devices in the drink-drivers’ cars.
From September 10, such devices will also be installed in the cars of drivers convicted of ‘mid-range’ alcohol offences. This would include those found to have a blood-alcohol concentration higher than 0.10 percent but not more than 0.15 percent.
With drink-driving accounting for about 25 percent of lives lost on Queensland roads, the state’s Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the new laws were essential.
“Last year, 62 people died on Queensland roads because of drink-drivers,” Bailey said. “These aren’t just numbers — these are all people whose lives have been cut short, and who have left families and friends behind.”
“We know mid-range drink-drivers account for more than a quarter of all drink-driving offenders and have a crash risk 20 times greater than someone who hasn’t had a drink.”
Bailey said other new rules included requiring all drink-driving offenders to complete an education intervention program before they could reapply for their driver’s licence.
“Education is also a key focus of the new laws,” he said. “For the first time, all drink-driving offenders will need to complete intervention or education programs before they return to driving.”
Repeat offenders will also have to complete a more intensive program to help them change their behaviour.
The Queensland government is also rolling out mobile and fixed cameras to catch drivers illegally using their mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts.
“In the first month of this rollout, almost 1400 drivers were snapped not wearing a seatbelt,” Bailey said. “People who are not wearing seat belts continue to be a serious problem with 43 dying on our roads last year.” (Xinhua)
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