Sandy Creek resident Wendy Schelbach says new regulations for drink-drivers will hopefully curb the problems in Warwick.
Sandy Creek resident Wendy Schelbach says new regulations for drink-drivers will hopefully curb the problems in Warwick. Emma Channon

Drivers support tough changes

NEW regulations to curb drink-drivers have been met with approval from local motorists.

This month heralded the start of tougher conditions for motorists who choose to drink and drive.

Now, a license will be suspended immediately for motorists who record a mid-range reading of .01-.015. This was brought down from .015.

Southern Downs resident Wendy Schelbach says the new laws would help deter “the problem drinkers”.

“I often feel it’s not the people who go out to licensed venues,” she said.

“It’s the ones who drink at home – they’re the ones that cause the problems.”

Not only that, Mrs Schelbach said it was the younger drivers who were regularly behind the wheel.

“It’s mainly the people aged under 30 years old – it just doesn’t ring home. It’s a very big problem,” she said.

Mrs Schelback concedes it is more difficult living in a rural area such as Warwick, where transport options are fewer.

However, the Sandy Creek resident said there are ways to combat it so motorists aren’t driving while under the influence.

“Some pubs like the Sandy Creek Hotel offer a shuttle bus for patrons which is great,” she said.

“Otherwise it’s a bit more difficult. There are lots of things on but you’ve got to travel to them.

“When it’s just me and my husband only one person can enjoy themselves and it’s not always possible to go in a group.”

The other difficulty she added, was the high cost for taxis – a luxury some may not be able to afford.

Allora teenager Justin Wade agreed it was difficult for young people to get from A to B when there was alcohol involved, but said his age group were more considerate of the risks involved than many would think.

The 17-year-old has been on the roads “for a couple of years” and has just purchased his first car.

He said the drink driving laws were “always at the back” of his mind.

“You go to parties and being young, you shouldn’t have it in your system, but it’s pretty hard to resist (drinking) when your mates having a few,” he said.

“It’s difficult to know the next day if you’re going to be over the limit too.

“I suppose (the regulations) are all necessary to keep us all safe. Some of them are ridiculous though.”

Those he thinks ‘ridiculous’ include having a curfew for learner and P-plated drivers.

He said it was a “real pain” to have no other passengers after 11pm.

“We went to football in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago and it was delayed – we had three mates in the car and usually we’d get back before 11pm but this time we were after,” he said.

“If the curfew was changed to 12am or to include just two people in the car it’d be easier.”

Warwick Police officer in charge Senior Sergeant Stewart Day said he hoped the changes would act as a deterrent to drink drivers.

“Obviously if you’re going to be drinking, arrange alternative transport, or to be on the safe side, don’t drink at all,” he said.

“Hopefully (these regulations) will reduce the number of incidents which has been increasing in recent times.”

Other changes include lengthening the amount of time for police officers to take the alcohol reading from two-three hours, as well as allowing the same police officer to take a second reading at the watch house in certain circumstances.



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