Driving with beer bottle in hand

DRIVING while more than four times the limit, one hand perched on the steering wheel and the other curled around a beer would prove to be quite the feat on most roads.

But one 56-year-old woman last month decided she would attempt the task while driving through the roadworks at Cunningham's Gap.

Mount Tamborine woman Grace Abel appeared in Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday charged with drink driving and drinking liquor while driving.

The court heard Abel was pulled over by police on April 18 at 1.30pm after a roadworks traffic controller at the Gap noticed she was driving erratically, crossing double lines and taking out traffic cones.

The traffic controller contacted police with concerns about Abel's driving and the court heard when police intercepted her vehicle Abel was holding a Toohey's stubbie.

Abel – who has a history of similar offences in New South Wales – told police she had consumed three stubbies while driving and returned a BAC reading of 0.226.

Attempting to offer an explanation for her actions, Abel told the court she had two tyres blow out during the journey and following that she decided to consume alcohol, something she said she hadn't done since 2006.

Abel admitted to the court she had a problem with alcohol and said she had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to combat the issue.

Magistrate Anne Thacker condemned Abel's decision to drive with an extremely high blood-alcohol level, saying it was a real safety concern.

“That's a terribly high reading and it's a dangerous reading,” she said.

Abel appeared in court unrepresented and when Magistrate Anne Thacker asked her if there was anything else she should take into consideration before ruling, Abel replied, “No your honour, I'm guilty”.

Magistrate Thacker told Abel she had a serious problem with alcohol and said her actions presented a danger not only to herself but to others around her.

“The traffic controller was so alarmed by what he saw he called police and they too were alarmed,” she said.

Magistrate Thacker recommended Abel consider selling her car in the wake of the driving ban but pointed out she had a long time to decide what to do.

Abel was fined $1500 and was disqualified from driving for two years.



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