Comments on changes to low range drink driving procedure
Let me assure you there is no excuse for drink driving.
Let me also say as humans we make mistakes and this is certainly true of people charged with low drink driving. Low range starts at 0.05 and this low end is not inhabited by the heavy drinker on a bender rather it is the province of the good driver who had one extra when he was already on the limit, or mixed his drinks in a round or slept over to sleep it off, woke up feeling a bit dusty but thought enough time had passed to be legal.
He/she will have a reasonable record and a good job that requires a licence. There will be good references that were embarrassing to request, brim full of observed contrition with strong assurances it will never happen again.
These drivers appear before the Court, complete driver’s education, suffer a lecture from the Magistrate and if lucky may leave without suffering a penalty but having learnt a valuable lesson.
Apprehended from now on they suffer an immediate suspension of licence for three months and a $561 fine. There is no longer rehabilitation, only penalty, a penalty that must be appealed if the driver seeks to protect the licence.
The penalty now becomes the new benchmark. A benchmark the Court must be persuaded to undermine if it is to grant clemency to the appellant.
How long will it take to get before a court and will there be the court fee for lodging the application?
Presumably the licence will be retained during the appeal process, if not what would be the point if it takes 6 weeks for the appeal to be heard by the court? By then the damage will have already been done.
At the higher ranges of drink driving how much will penalties be increased when low range means three months off the road and a $561 fine? Why should any clemency be given if none is available at the lowest scale?
Drink driving does increase risk of death, injury and accident but a humane, flexible system can cope with life’s mistakes, teach a lesson and still reduce the road toll.