Our readers agree there is no room on the road for drink drivers.
Our readers agree there is no room on the road for drink drivers. Brett Wortman

Your reaction to drink drivers

NOBODY has the slightest sympathy for drink drivers.

Emails flowed in the wake of last weekend’s rant – as one correspondent colourfully described the column – against these parasites in society.

Two of the writers delivered stunning testimony to the agonies families experience when loved ones are torn away without the opportunity to say goodbye.

As I usually find, the toughest stories are delivered personally.

One of these came from an old friend – a retired police officer – who chilled me to the bone by retelling a story I knew well.

“Christine and her friends were out at the beach all night and I don’t know how many times I’d warned them about drinking and driving back to town,” he said.

The night of the accident, three kids died and two others are still living with the horror.

As the car approached a T-junction, the drunken driver forgot the corner and ploughed through the intersection to collide with a tree in a paddock on the other side.

“When I got there, I thought Christine was in the car and nearly tore my hands off trying to get to the kids.”

His daughter wasn’t inside – she’d stayed to sleep on the beach – but all who know the story live with the aftermath.

Another writer questioned the place of alcohol in society and its frequent abuse – a story likely to feature in coming weeks.

While he made very good points, my diatribes against drink driving aren’t directed against those who responsibly enjoy a tipple.

But it is directed straight between the eyes at those who irresponsibly get a skinful on board, turn the key in the ignition and then become the same lethal equivalent as a suicide bomber.

“The community must enforce the attitude change to drink driving,” the ex-policeman said.

“Treat these mongrels the same as you would child molesters or drug pushers.

“Make them social outcasts unless they change their ways.”

JK wrote:

Greg, you are so right that we need bigger penalties.

Two and a half years ago my girlfriend and I watched a man who was so drunk he couldn’t stand, put his child into his 4WD after falling over and knocking the child over.

We wondered if we should call the police but decided not to get involved.

Less than half a kilometre down the road he veered off it, hit us both as we walked on the pavement and shunted a parked car into another one.

I broke my back, split my liver and had many other injuries.

He zoomed off without stopping to see if he had killed us.

His girlfriend (who was in the car) dobbed him in.

He was charged with driving without due care and attention, a generic DUI (they couldn’t breathalyse him on the day, so despite the police getting CCTV of him falling down the steps of the pub on the way out they couldn’t put a high range on him) and failing to stop after an accident.

He got a $370 fine and a year’s driving ban and good behaviour bond.

My life will never be the same.

I was self-employed and lost my business.

I’m off work again with back pain at the moment (unpaid as I haven’t got enough sick leave to cover the time off I need each year).

I have post-traumatic stress.

To date I haven’t received a cent in compensation.

The insurance company (name supplied) refuse to pay for treatment despite my doctor referring me – that way it will come out of any compensation I finally do get – because Medicare claim back your medical expenses.

You may also be interested to know that NSW has a law that if you are not 10 per cent permanently disabled in a motor vehicle accident (and that’s measured by a totally arbitrary scale they invented – despite recurring and constant pain for over two years I am assessed at seven per cent) then you are not eligible for any pain and suffering compensation.

Good luck with your campaign.

Everyone supports it apart from a few low-life morons.

Bev writes:

I am with you all the way for the penalties for drink driving.

I have lots of names for them but did not see any of them in print.

Could I suggest they not only apply to drink drivers but to other crimes in our shire, where crime is an every day occurrence?

Keep up the fight against these grubs.

GD writes:

Anyone caught driving while under the influence should have the plates removed from the car they are using and returned after their suspension is over.

Anyone caught driving a car while they have a suspended licence, that car shall have its plates removed and returned when that person gets their licence back.

No matter who owns the car, its licence plate is gone.

People who do not have their driving licence still might drive – fines don’t seem to work alone – but loss of vehicle is real punishment.

If they are caught a second time, confiscation of vehicle – to be crushed or sold by the police, who keep the sale price.

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