Police and Road Safety Minister Rob Johnson today launched a new education campaign targeting drink driving in the lead-up to Christmas, warning motorists that police would be out in force on Western Australian roads.
The launch coincided with this week’s passing of legislation to immediately suspend the licences of anyone caught driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of 0.08 or above, as well as the introduction of laws for tougher penalties for drink and drug drivers.
Mr Johnson said the campaign would use television, radio and outdoor advertising to remind the community that - anywhere, anytime - they could be stopped by WA Police for a breath test.
The Minister said drink driving was a serious road safety issue which contributed to more than 30 per cent of fatal road crashes each year in this State.
“In WA in 2008-09, 21,855 drivers tested by police were found to exceed the lawful alcohol limit,” he said.
“Consuming alcohol prior to driving impairs driving ability and increases the risk of crashing, which has too often resulted in death or serious injury on our roads.
“Alcohol affects decision-making, reaction times, speed and distance judgements, concentration, and alertness. It can also give a driver a false sense of confidence, resulting in other risk-taking behaviour.
“Crash statistics show intoxicated drivers involved in fatal crashes are three times more likely to have been speeding or not wearing a seatbelt, compared to sober drivers.
“It’s alarming to see that males aged 25 to 39 years are the most likely to be killed or seriously injured in a drink driving-related crash, closely followed by males aged 17 to 24. It’s also concerning females aged 17 to 24 are prominent in these figures.
“We need to educate and remind our younger generations of the consequences associated with drinking alcohol and driving, in order to reduce these unacceptable statistics.”
The campaign, entitled ‘You Deserve It,’ shows a range of popular occasions where alcohol is consumed - after work, a backyard barbecue and a dinner outing. In each case, one of the people drinking in the scene is later breath-tested by WA Police.
“As I’ve said time and time again, drivers need to take responsibility for their own actions. If you plan to drink, plan not to drive,” Mr Johnson said.
“Nominate a skipper before going out, take a taxi or public transport, ask a friend or relative who has not been drinking to pick you up, or arrange to spend the night.
“People must stop and think about the consequences of drink driving and how they could not only kill or seriously injure themselves and their passengers, but also other innocent road users.”
The $690,000 State-wide media campaign, which is funded from the Road Trauma Trust Fund, will start tomorrow and will continue until late January 2011.
Minister's office - 9222 9211