Drink and Drug Impaired Drivers

During 1998 alcohol was a causal factor in:

  • 16% of fatal crashes (down from 19% in 1997)
  • 15% of serious injury crashes

On Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights alcohol was a factor in 60% of fatal crashes. In 1996 of those drivers/riders admitted to hospital with illegal BAC’s – over 50% were high range, with young driver’s (17-25) having twice the incidence of illegal BAC levels.

Since RBT was introduced (Dec 1982) the proportion of drivers/riders killed with illegal BAC’s reduced from 40% in 1980/81 to 21% in 1996.

 

ALCOHOL FATAL INJURY TOTAL
1996 102 2055 2157
1997 115 1897 2012
1998 91 1939 2030

* RTA Figs

Breath screening

The NSW Police Force has approximately 1,900 alcolmeters deployed in the field for initial breath screening. The Lion SD-2 device is currently in service, with new passive/direct devices being evaluated.

Police may require a driver or front seat passenger instructing a learner to undertake a breath test in the following cases:-

  • stationary RBT and mobile RBT
  • driver involved in a crash front seat passengers instructing a learner driver
  • driver detected committing offences

When a driver has a positive result or refuses to provide a sample, they are placed under arrest and conveyed to the nearest police station or RBT bus for the purpose of undergoing a breath analysis.

Evidential breath analysis

The NSW Police Force has Drager 7110 evidential breath analysis instruments located at 240 locations throughout the State, including RBT.

A person required to undergo an evidential breath analysis, who exceeds the prescribed concentration of alcohol, will be dealt with by a Court in accordance with the following penalties:

 

Reading

Penalty

1st Offence

2nd & subsequent

Risk Factors

Special Range

.02 >

Max fine

$1,100

$2,200

Applies to:-

  • commercial drivers
  • learners
  • provisional
  • persons under 25 with < 3yrs exp
  • unauthorised drivers
Max gaol

N/A

N/A

  • min
  • max
  • automatic

Disqualification

  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 6 months
  • 6 months
  • Unlimited
  • 12 months
Low Range

0.05 >

Max fine

$1,100

$2,200

2 times the risk of having a crash
Max gaol

N/A

N/A

  • min
  • max
  • automatic

Disqualification

  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 6 months
  • 6 months
  • Unlimited
  • 12 months
Mid Range

0.08 >

Max fine

$2,200

$3,300

4 times the risk

Same penalties as

  • DRIVE UNDER INFLUENCE
Max gaol

9 months

12 months

  • min
  • max
  • automatic

Disqualification

  • 6 months
  • Unlimited
  • 12 months
  • 12 months
  • Unlimited
  • 3 years
Lic Suspension

Yes

Yes

High Range

0.15 >

Max fine

$3,300

$5,500

25 times the risk

Includes:-

  • refuse breath analysis
  • hinder/obstruct blood sample
  • willfully alter BAC
Max gaol

18 months

2 years

  • min
  • max
  • automatic

Disqualification

  • 12 months
  • Unlimited
  • 3 years
  • 2 years
  • Unlimited
  • 5 years
Lic Suspension

Yes

Yes

Refuse a drug test; Wilfully alter the amount of a drug in blood/urine Max fine

$3,300

$5,500

Max gaol

18 months

2 years

  • min
  • max
  • automatic

Disqualification

  • 12 months
  • Unlimited
  • 3 years
  • 2 years
  • Unlimited
  • 5 years

 
Blood analysis following accidents

Legislation requires a medical practitioner or accredited registered nurse, attending an accident patient at a hospital, to take a sample of the patient’s blood for analysis. Whilst this only applies to specified road users, it is an offence for the health professional not to take the sample and also for any person to hinder or obstruct the taking of that sample.
 
Drug impaired driving

Police have the power to submit a person to a sobriety assessment, if the police officer has a reasonable belief the person may be under the influence of a drug, because of their manner of driving or occupying the driver’s seat. Subject to meeting legislative requirements, police may arrest that person and convey them to a hospital for the purpose of obtaining samples of blood and urine for analysis.

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