CAMPASPE’S top traffic cop has welcomed tough new drunk driving laws. The new rules, which came into effect last month, will mean drivers who blow between 0.05 and 0.069 will lose their licence for at least three months and be forced to have an interlock device fitted for six months after getting back on the road.
Sergeant Paul Nicoll of Campaspe Highway Patrol said the legislation was designed to reduce the road toll.
‘‘Evidence is that alcohol and/or drugs continue to be a factor in drivers and riders killed and injured on Victorian roads,’’ he said.
‘‘About 3000 full licence drivers are caught each year with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.05 and 0.07 and more than 3000 drivers were issued infringements for failing roadside drug tests last year.
‘‘For Campaspe we have a percentage of that and I would estimate that we average about 15 to 20 drug tests a month and six or so drink drivers per month.’’
Although Sgt Nicoll would not comment on whether the laws should go even further and ban all drink driving, he urged people not to drive if they had any alcohol in their system.
‘‘I’m not a scientist or medical expert but my understanding is research has shown any alcohol consumption impairs driving,’’ he said.
When asked if the Victorian Government would consider banning drivers from drinking at all, Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said ‘‘we will do some further studies on that’’.
Under the new laws, people caught behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs will also have to complete a behavioural program.
First-time drug drivers will lose their licence for six months, up from three, and repeat offenders will be off the road for 12 months.