Last orders for drink-drivers
Tough rules: Judge wants repeat drink-drivers treated harshly. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

A judge has suggested the worst repeat drink-drivers should be subjected to laws such as those for dangerous sex offenders - locking them up indefinitely or releasing them under strict supervision.

District Court judge Christopher Stevenson said "an innocent member of the public would be alive" if repeat drink-driver Troy Anthony Nelson had not received a suspended jail term only five months before a crash that killed truck driver William Percival in October.

Nelson, 48, had 15 drink- driving convictions and was banned from driving for life at the time of the crash at Wooramel, north of Geraldton.

His blood-alcohol reading was 0.186 and he had been drinking while driving before the crash. At the time he was on a 12-month suspended sentence for driving under the influence and having no authority to drive at the time.

"It's almost a case where there should be something analogous to the dangerous sex offenders legislation," Judge Stevenson said. "He should not have his liberty in the community because he has demonstrated over long periods … that he drinks and when he drinks, he drives.

"It was just a matter of time until he killed somebody."

Dangerous sex offenders who pose an unacceptable risk can be kept in jail indefinitely or monitored under a supervision order after they have finished their sentence.

Shadow road safety minister Michelle Roberts said drink- driving laws like those for dangerous sex offenders were worth considering.

She backed the idea of repeat drink-drivers deemed an unacceptable risk being kept in custody after their sentence until "they can demonstrate they have their problem under control".

WA Police Union president George Tilbury believed such a move went too far but supported alcohol interlocks on repeat offenders' cars.

Police Minister Liza Harvey said data indicated repeat drink-driving remained a serious problem and the Government would soon introduce legislation for mandatory alcohol interlocks.

Ian Anderson, whose cyclist son Tim was killed by a drunk driver, said repeat drink-drivers should lose their licences.

Judge Stevenson jailed Nelson for eight years without parole.

The West Australian

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