The Worst 73 Drivers
72% of all alcohol-related deaths on our roads are caused by drivers who have either a prior drink driving conviction or are more than 50% over the current adult legal limit.
Transport minister Steven Joyce released those figures today in support he said of “the government’s approach to managing the drink driving issue.”
The Ministry of Transport figures, show that in 2009 88 deaths - 72% of all alcohol related deaths – were caused by 73 drivers who were either at least 50% over the current drink drive limit or who already had a previous conviction for drink driving.
Of the 88 deaths, 34 were caused by drivers with a previous conviction. 50 of the deaths were caused by drivers who were at least double the current legal limit.
Mr Joyce says legislation before Parliament is designed to help get those high-risk drivers off the road.
Among other things, the legislation will:
- Subject repeat drink drive offenders to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) zero limit for three years after they receive their licence back.
- Provide for a new penalty regime for breaches of the proposed zero drink drive limits.
- Allow courts the option to require repeat or serious drink drive offenders to use alcohol interlocks, after a mandated 90-day disqualification. Interlocks must be used for at least 12 months, and can only be removed where the offender shows a violation-free period of six months (reducing to three months if an approved alcohol assessment is also completed) and offenders will be subject to a zero BAC limit for the three years after the removal of their interlock.
- Double the prison sentence for dangerous driving causing death.
“There is a hard core of drink – drivers who cannot separate their drinking from their driving. The answer is technology like alcohol interlocks which can physically prevent them from driving. The government will not tolerate continued and high-level offending.”
The legislation before Parliament also looks at the damage caused by drivers with a blood alcohol reading of between 0.05 and 0.08, by allowing police to measure the actual harm caused by those drivers.
When passed the legislation will allow police to provide to the Ministry of Transport the details of all drivers involved in fatal or serious injury crashes who have a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 (50 milligrams and 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 250 and 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath).
“It is quite possible the data will support a lower adult limit, but we do need to collect that data first,” says Mr Joyce.
“What these statistics today show is that lowering the adult limit is no silver bullet. The majority of these fatalities are caused by a hard-core of drink drivers who have either been convicted before or who are driving at levels far above the current drink drive limit.”