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PRC in the News

from the November 24, 2008 edition of the Sydney Daily Telegraph

Australia lags behind world on zero tolerance for drink driving

Australia –AUSTRALIA is lagging behind much of the world when it comes to drink driving laws, with countries enforcing zero tolerance reporting a dramatic drop in road deaths.

One Sydney P-plater is lucky to be alive after crashing his car yesterday following a high-speed police chase.

Authorities were horrified to find the suspended driver in his 20s unconscious - not from the crash but due to being highly intoxicated.

It comes as The Daily Telegraph continues to campaign for tougher laws on P-platers and drink driving.

Is zero tolerance the only way to reduce drink-driving? Join the debate below

Croatia, Hungary and the Czech Republic all have zero blood alcohol limits, while Australia's is 0.05 for unrestricted drivers.

US-based Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation consultant Kathy Stewart said Japan had experienced a 38 per cent drop in alcohol-related traffic deaths per billion kilometres travelled since it lowered its limit to almost zero four years.

When Sweden lowered its limit from .05 to .02, there were drops in drink driving and related crashes.

While it isn't possible to compare death rates between countries because of differing measuring methods and accuracy, research shows a zero tolerance approach has worked.

Ms Stewart said during the 1980s there were impressive declines in drinking and driving in much of the industrialised world.

"These declines did not continue in the early part of the 1990s," she said.

"In the last few years, some countries, such as France and Germany, continued to reduce drinking and driving while in other countries like Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the US, there has been stagnation and in some cases small increases or even a large increase in the proportion of alcohol related fatalities," she said.

The Daily Telegraph is campaigning for zero tolerance to drink driving.

In yesterday's accident, the driver was behind the wheel of his father's car, despite being one of 52,000 P-platers who had lost their licence since last July.

Is zero tolerance the only way to cut drink-driving?