Breath Tests Effective In Cutting Road Toll, But Not Everywhere: Study Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Aug, 30 2013 | 9 Comments

A study has concluded that Random Breath Testing (RBT) can have a direct impact on reducing alcohol-related road trauma in Australia, but only some states are seeing positive results.

Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory all showed that a greater number of RBTs resulted in fewer alcohol-related collisions.

South Australia, the ACT and Tasmania bucked the trend however, with a greater number of RBTs in these states having less of an impact.

"What the study tells us is there is no Australian-model when it comes to specific characteristics of drink drivers, testing and alcohol-related crashes," said Dr Lyndel Bates of Queensland University of Technology's Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety.

"It also shows that it is important when developing policy around RBT operations, it needs to be state-specific rather than a blanket policy that covers the whole of Australia."

Dr Bates said the difference in results was due to the perceived risk of being detected; people were less likely to drink and drive in Queensland, WA, the NT, NSW and Victoria for fear of being caught.

The results of other studies have shown that when it comes to RBTs, the programs used in Australia are successful when compared with other countries.

In an additional study, Australians living in regional areas were found to be more likely to drink and drive than those living in large cities.

Up to one in 83 people tested in rural areas of Queensland were over the legal blood-alcohol limit, while in the city the number is as low as one in 149.

A more relaxed attitude to drink-driving and a lack of public transport were thought to contribute to the results.

The results of these studies, and others, were discussed as part of the 20th International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety; a four-day road safety conference in Brisbane this week.

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