New laws targeting drink-driving could see more people disqualified and subject to breath-tests before they drive.
Under the new laws mid-range drink-drivers will be disqualified from driving for at least three months and need to have an alcohol interlock in their vehicle for a year.
A blood alcohol concentration between 0.08 and 0.15 constitutes a mid-range drinking offence and interlocks are breath test devises linked to a vehicle’s ignition that stop it from starting if alcohol is detected.
The move means police could confiscate number plates and or vehicles on the spot.
Western Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie welcomed the new penalties but questioned why people still had to be deterred from drink-driving.
“A couple of weekends ago we did a drink-driving operation across the region and we charged 49 people with PCA (prescribed concentration of alcohol) over two days,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
“That’s just a ridiculous statistic these days.”
There's a fair chance you’re going to get caught but really do we have to be saying that when there’s a fair chance you’re going to have a crash and injure someone or kill someone. They’re just bloody idiots.Western Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie
He said recently there were a number of serious crashes around the region and alcohol was probably a factor in some cases.
“We need those deterrents, but where’s the common sense, where’s the people thinking when they’re obviously drinking to much?” he said.
“They know they’re intoxicated and they’re jumping behind the wheel of the car which just turns into a weapon.
“When will people get the message about drink-driving and the dangers of it?”
He said drink-driving was an ongoing problem they continue to struggle with but they would be out in force over the festive period.
“Sadly people will get hurt, injured and probably killed over Christmas if people don’t pull their heads in and abide by the rules,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
"There's a fair chance you’re going to get caught but really do we have to be saying that when there’s a fair chance you’re going to have a crash and injure someone or kill someone.
“They’re just bloody idiots.”
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said while everyone knew drink-driving was unacceptable now the penalty was swift.
“Fifty-five people lost their lives in alcohol related crashes last year and around 6,000 mid-range first offences,” she said.
Centre for Road Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon said interlocks would allow drivers to get their licence back after serving time off the road, but they must have a zero alcohol limit behind the wheel for a year.
“Vehicle sanctions enable Police to remove high risk drivers from the road on the spot, and send a clear message that there is no excuse,” Mr Carlon said.