Queensland Considering Lowering Drink-Driving Limit To .02

Mike Stevens | Mar 15, 2010

THE QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT is considering lowering the state's legal blood alcohol limit for motorists to .02, according to a discussion paper released on the weekend, titled Drink Driving in Queensland.

Premier Anna Bligh said that the law would have a stronger effect if it was introduced at a national level.

"The paper canvasses dropping the blood alcohol limit lower than .05," Ms Bligh said. "I believe this is something that would need to be done nationally."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has offered some support for the move, but said that it is an issue which should be discussed by the states.

"I've always been deeply concerned about the impact of alcohol on the road toll," Mr Rudd told the ABC.

"On the details of that though, can I say this is best deliberated on between the transport ministers of Australia - State and Federal - together with the Health Ministers."

A lower national limit appears unlikely however, with top politicians in South Australia and the Northern Territory indicating that neither state will look to follow Queensland's lead without stronger evidence of the benefits of a lower limit.

Two countries to have already established a .02 blood-alcohol limit are Norway and Sweden. Both nations have the lowest road toll rates in the world.

Statistics in the discussion paper show that Queensland's move in 1985 to cut the legal limit from .08 to .05 saw the number of road deaths cut by 11 percent.

A driver with a blood alcohol content of .15 is 22 times more likely to be involved in a crash.

The paper acknowledges that if the limit is dropped below .05, motorists may be unable to determine on their own if they are legally able to drive, with one standard drink being enough to put some over the limit.

"A general alcohol limit of less than .05 may require people to abstain from drinking any alcohol on social occasions – for some people this may be only one standard drink – before driving," the paper says.

The Queensland Government will put the question to the people before making a decision on whether to introduce the lower limit into law. The discussion paper will be made available to the public at www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au.

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Filed under: Safety, road safety, queensland, anna bligh, drink driving, drink drivers, qld, road toll, News, blood alcohol limit, bac

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  • ACEight says,
    6 years ago
    1 like
    How about a Ban on old drivers?, young drivers?, drivers with more than 1 fender bender? drivers that like rock music? driving in the rain? speed limit at 50 km?.......people are going to die on the road, that's how it goes. Risk is a part of life.

    People go to dinner and have 2 drinks, drive home and don't kill anyone. The figure of .15 BAC resulting in 22 times more likely to be in an accident is true, but what would the results of comparing .05 to .02? I'm guessing very low.
  • MotoWebbi says,
    6 years ago
    How about this:-
    You get caught .02 - .05 and the police issue a "go directly home" notice with the condition that, if you kill someone on the way you WILL be charged with manslaughter. Nobody is saying you're pissed, but you may be impaired. This gives you the opportunity to ascertain, whilst you're sober enough to do so, whether you want to take that risk. If you're just around the corner from home, you might chance it...but if not, you can leave the car there and make other arrangements.
  • Nightshader says,
    6 years ago
    I'm all for this.

    It should be simple... If you plan to drink don't drive.
    No more people going whoops I forgot what drink I was up to. Sorry officer.
    Alcohol is a mind altering drug. How would you feed if someone you love was killed by someone whose BAC was 0.04 you couldn’t help but think what if. You don’t need to drink to enjoy yourself, take turns as a designated driver, get a friend to drop you off, take a taxi instead or walk.
  • MJ
    MJ says,
    6 years ago
    1 like
    This is silly.
    I think you will find, "Drink drivers involved in accidents" are way over .05
    So now they will be way way over .02
    Where is the difference except penalising the average person who might like ONE beer
    before home.
    And YES your average male can stop after one beer.
    Them that can't will end over .05 anyway.

    And comparing us to Norway and Sweden is a joke.
    I think you will also find they have real roads in those countries.
  • says,
    6 years ago
    this is such bs why would they want to lower it even more than it already is seriously they must have ther heads up there ***s
  • Corporal_clegg says,
    6 years ago
    The crash risk Vs BAC curve is very flat between 0.02 and 0.05, therefore there is no good reason to change the current laws. This would serve only to increase infringement notices without an increase in safety. This is bad policy and should be opposed.
  • Nightshader says,
    6 years ago
    Even with no increased crash risk between 0.02 and 0.05 I’m guessing there would still be a benefit in reducing the BAC limit. If nothing else at all it would reinforce that if you drink you shouldn’t drive.

    Maybe changing the law isn’t the way to go. The real issue here is societal behaviour and acceptance of drinking and driving. Until people change their beliefs that drinking and driving is acceptable and/or there is a small probability of getting caught then there will still be those who believe they are fine and believe they can get home without getting caught.

    So increased fines and increased police presence would fix the problem but hey wouldn’t it be nice if people didn’t drink and drive not because of the fear of getting caught but because it’s not acceptable to drink and drive.
  • Kieran says,
    6 years ago
    Nightshader is absolutely right in that drink-driving is a social attitude problem. I used to live on-campus at uni, and got the shock of my life in my first week there. A bunch of guys who'd been drinking at college decided they wanted to go to a nightclub. At first, one said, "nah, taxi costs too much", but then another said, "we'll take my car. I can drink and drive. I've done it heaps of times," THIS IS THE PROBLEM, people who are already drunk, and have had their inhibitions impaired by the alcohol. I actually offered to drive them, but retreated to my dorm when they got aggressive about me "saying they weren't good enough to drink-drive".

    Furthermore, Simon has a point with the 0.02-0.05% BAC region - these are responsible drivers who don't pose a significant risk to other road users. How often do you hear of someone being involved in a fatal accident who was
  • Corporal_clegg says,
    6 years ago
    I disagree with the comments by Nightshader. The sort of person who drinks and drives and creates a high risk to the community is the recidivist DUI driver. They tend to have BAC much higher than 0.02 or 0.05%. Changing the law here will not stop this sort of driver from drinking and driving! It will merely serve to criminalise generally good, safe law-abiding citizens.

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