Police hope new drink drive disqualification laws, beginning today, will be a “hot stove” deterrent to make drivers think twice about drinking before getting behind the wheel.
Drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more will be served with an instant two-month disqualification notice under sweeping changes announced by police minister Liza Harvey.
Mid West Gascoyne Traffic Enforcement OIC Paul Matthews believes the laws will be an added deterrent, as alleged drink drivers can no longer keep their licences until their court appearance.
“If you touch a hot stove you get that immediate effect and an immediate deterrent not to do it again,” he said.
“In the past people caught drink driving had time to get their lives together and organise themselves.
Maybe that wasn’t such a deterrent as it could have been.
“You’d think now with the hot stove of immediate disqualification it has to form an impact on people that they’ll make the right decision not to drink and drive.”
But Sgt Matthews said police were preparing for a possible spike in vehicle seizures driven by drivers caught under the new 0.08 laws.
“We’re considering the fact that people aren’t going to be prepared to wake up the next day without a driver’s licence and be organised enough to get to and from work,” he said.
Drivers who lose their licences under the on-the spot bans cannot apply for an extraordinary licence.
Mid West Gascoyne traffic police had charged 41 people with drink driving since July 1 this year, with 359 people charged with drink driving since January 1.
Figures released by last week revealed nearly a third of all crashes in 2010 involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.05.
“That’s a very, very high percentage, so people who are drinking are a high priority for us,” Sgt Matthews said.
“People have got to know that they are going to lose their licence on the spot.
“As soon as they blow a positive (0.08) that’s it, their licence is disqualified.
“If they refuse to give us a breath test it’s the same deal.”