The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) welcomed the opportunity to make a submission to Issues paper no 23: Responding to the Problem of Recidivist Drink Drivers (Issues paper) released by the Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI).
Drink driving is one of the main causes of road fatalities and injuries in Australia. Alcohol impairs judgement, reduces coordination, and affects decision-making ability. Between 20 and 30 per cent of drink drivers reoffend and disproportionately contribute to road trauma due to their repeat offending and high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC).
In 2006, the cost to the community of a single fatal car crash was approximately $2.6 million, while the cost of hospitalisations was approximately $266,000 each.
Recidivist drink drinking is not unique to Tasmania and responses that aim to address the issue have been trialled for some time. The effectiveness of any drink driving measures is the perception to drivers that their behaviour will be detected and that they will be sanctioned if they have committed an offence. The HOPE and South Dakota Sobriety 24/7 projects are good examples of this approach working.
The Issues paper, prepared by TLRI, is a comprehensive body of work and thoroughly investigates the issue and responses available. While FARE has chosen to answer the questions from the Issues paper in groups, some questions are outside FARE’s area of expertise and so comment has not be provided for these.
This submission addresses the following areas:
- Evidence of need for a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) court/list
- Pre- or post-sentence options for the DWI court/list
- Eligibility criteria for DWI court/list
- Alcohol use disorders and comorbid conditions
- Alcohol bans
- Impacts on treatment services in Tasmania
- Compliance with conditions and sanctions
- Alcohol monitoring