For the first time in four decades, the rules around drink driving are changing.
Not in Queensland, mind you; in New South Wales.
But if you live in or commute to Tweed, or anywhere south of the border, be warned: law enforcement has adopted a “no tolerance” policy when it comes to drink drivers.
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Tough new laws have been introduced, effective May 20, which mean that any person caught drink driving in NSW will lose their licence immediately.
This applies to anyone caught over the legal limit – even low-range drink-drivers, who are blowing a reading just a fraction over the limit of 0.05 (or 0 for learner drivers and P-platers).
Not only will they lose their licence then and there, but drivers will also be handed a massive $561 fine.
Which is exactly how it should be, if you ask me…
Because, here’s the thing about drink driving.
It’s actually a criminal act.
People don’t think about it in those terms, but that is the reality. Having a few wines with dinner and then making the decision to get behind the wheel of your car, even if you feel fine, could be a decision that alters the course of your life.
If your alcohol blood reading is over the limit and you’re involved in a car accident – and if someone was to be injured or, God forbid, killed in that accident – you would be looking at serious jail time.
Andrew Constance, NSW Roads Minister, confirmed that the government is targeting everyone from very low-range offenders through to proper drunk drivers with the new policy.
“Anyone caught drink-driving in NSW, at any level, including low-range, can now lose their licence immediately,” he says. “This reform makes it clear if you break the law, you will pay the price. We are taking a zero-tolerance approach to drink and drug driving.”
Those who are found with drugs in their system while they’re behind the wheel will also lose their licence and be slapped with the same fine, provided lab analysis confirms the results.