COFFS Harbour barrister Peter Davies has highlighted the need for a statewide drink driving campaign to focus on the rate of alcohol dissipation in the body.
Mr Davies, who has 38 years of courtroom experience representing and prosecuting drink drivers, says there’s a lack of public information about how long it takes the liver to break down alcohol.
And he says provisional drivers are the most ill-informed when it comes to drink driving the morning after a big night out, paying for it dearly in NSW courtrooms.
“There has been a great emphasis on what constitutes standard drinks and how much a person should consume to remain under the prescribed limit,” Mr Davies said.
“However, I have not seen any information to the public about how long it takes alcohol to leave your system.”
Mr Davies says a media campaign could highlight ‘the good rule of thumb’ of allowing one hour for every standard drink consumed, before driving the next day. That means a young woman, weighing 67 kilograms, who has consumed seven drinks should be right to drive seven hours after she had her last drink.
For a provisional driver, Mr Davies suggests a 12-hour rest period after the last drink to ensure a zero blood alcohol reading the next morning.
“I am constantly seeing novice drivers, generally young females, who are caught out even though they felt right to drive after sleeping off a big night out.”
While it’s proven alcohol dissipation is difference between individuals, Mr Davies says the government needs to offer advice on the timeframes of when people will be right to drive, taking into account their age, gender, food consumption, body weight and the type of alcohol they consumed.
He also suggested the RTA’s Traffic Offenders Program, which convicted drink drivers attend at local PCYCs, should be rolled out into schools.
“Drink driving can be what we call in the courts a crime without intent. Those who know they are over the limit and drive get what they deserve, but it’s those who don’t know who need this important information,” he said.