The extent of WA's drink-driving problem has been revealed by figures that show almost 14,000 convictions were recorded in the Magistrate's Court last year.
An investigation by The West Australian has shown that drink- drivers are a strain on the judicial system, with drink-driving representing one in nine convictions in the court last year.
Drink-driving cases have also accounted for about 9 per cent of all convictions in the Magistrate's Court in the first 10 months of this year. More than 2500 convictions were recorded for driving with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.15, the highest threshold recognised by the law.
Office of Road Safety research shows that driving with such a high BAC made drivers 25 times more likely to be in a crash.
Figures provided by the Dep-artment of the Attorney-General showed 160 of the most serious drink-driving convictions led to jail terms last year.
They also revealed 8152 convictions for driving with a BAC above 0.08, which increased sevenfold a driver's chances of being involved in a crash.
There were 2383 convictions for people driving with a BAC of 0.05 or above last year, compared with 659 convictions for exceeding 0.02.
There were 187 drink-driving convictions last year against motorists - including novice, bus and taxi drivers and extraordinary licence holders - who exceeded a zero blood alcohol limit.
The figures come after a three-week investigation by _The West Australian _into drink-driving cases in the Magistrate's Court.
It found that in half the cases covered, the mandatory minimum penalty was imposed.
Despite the high numbers, there is evidence that West Australians are changing their attitude to drink-driving, with the figures showing a reduction in the number of drink-driving convictions in the past five years.
The number of convictions recorded by the Magistrate's Court in 2008 was 19,721, which included 4359 for high-range drink-driving where a driver's blood alcohol reading was 0.15 or above.
There was a 29 per cent decline in the next five years, with 13,923 convictions last year for drink-driving offences in the Magistrate's Court.
The figures, which may include multiple convictions against a single driver, do not take into account charges that are laid in crashes where people are injured or killed by drink-drivers.
Those cases, which include the death of Nate Dunbar, killed by a drink-driver in January, result in more serious charges that attract tougher penalties.
Police Minister Liza Harvey encouraged all West Australians to Make the Pledge for Nate and urged people not to drive drunk.
"No family wants to have a loved one missing on Christmas Day because of a drunk driver," she said.
Double demerits begin on Friday until January 5.