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A QUEENSLAND judge’s suggestion that Australia’s blood-alcohol limit of 0.05 might be “a bit low” has drawn criticism right around the country.
While sentencing a man who blew 0.062 at a roadside test, Bundaberg magistrate Neil Lavaring questioned why the previous drink-driving limit of 0.08 had been changed, the Bundaberg NewsMail reported.
Regardless of the state or territory Australians drive in, their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) needs to be less than 0.05.
But the judge’s suggestion to raise the drink-driving limit has been met with widespread criticism, including from a father whose daughter Sarah was killed in 2012 by a distracted driver.
Peter Frazer, the man behind Safer Roads and Highways (SARAH), told news.com.au he was “very concerned a magistrate was making comments like that”.
“There should absolutely not be any change to the law. I couldn’t imagine a government amending rules to increase the drink driving limit as too many people are already killed or injured as a result of drink driving,” he said.
“Should such a circumstance occur that the government considered it, we would be vehemently opposed to it as we believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to look after each other and not increase those risks.”
Queensland’s peak motoring body RACQ also dismissed the judge’s comments.
RACQ’s Steve Spalding said Australia has been at the forefront when it came to education and enforcement of drink-drivers and there was no evidence current laws should be changed.
“Around the world 0.05 blood alcohol limit is seen as good practice, and some countries actually consider it too high,” Mr Spalding said.
“It’s clear from research that your crash risk spikes if you’re driving at 0.05 and increases sharply from there.
“Alcohol consumption above this limit can reduce your reaction time, your ability to judge distances and your concentration span.
“We strongly urge the Government not to increase the blood alcohol limit.”
According to DrinkWise, the effects from alcohol on driving are felt even when a person’s blood alcohol content is 0.02.
When a driver’s BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08, they are slower at reacting and have a shorter concentration span.
Above 0.08, drivers are five times more likely to have a crash than they would if they were sober.
A Queensland Police spokesman declined to comment on the judge’s suggestion and said police simply enforced the law rather than created or changed them.
The judge’s comments were also slammed on social media, with most commenters instead calling for the BAC to drop to zero, to be in line with the country’s provisional drivers.
One commenter on Facebook said talk of raising the limit was “potentially a slap in the face to loved ones who have lost a family member to a drunk driver”.
This is an interesting take on the law. Book a first aid course at www.canberrafirstaid.com