TESTING TIMES: Police conduct random breath tests as magistrate poses controversial question.
TESTING TIMES: Police conduct random breath tests as magistrate poses controversial question. Warren Lynam

'NO WAY': Authorities respond on .05 row

A BUNDABERG magistrate has caught the nation's attention with his call for a review of the .05 per cent blood alcohol limit. But his support for consideration of a higher limit appeared to have little support yesterday.

Magistrate Neil Lavaring remarked on the case of a Victorian man who appeared before him on Monday, charged with driving at .062 per cent.

"He's not far over the limit,” Mr Lavaring said.

"Sometimes I wonder if the limit's a bit low.

"I shouldn't say that, but I don't know why we changed from the old .08 because no-one at that end is really grossly affected, are they?”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey strongly disagreed, as did state LNP leader and Nanango MP Deb Frecklington. And so did the RACQ.

"It has been accepted for a long time that .05 is the reasonable level,” Mr Bailey said,

"I really think this magistrate needs to understand road safety better, because that impairment you get between .05 and .08 causes crashes, causes injuries and causes in some cases fatalities. I think he's out of step with community standards and I think he needs to be better briefed about road safety.

"There's no doubt when we dropped .08 to .05 about three decades ago that it's saved a lot of people from crashes and hospitalisation and we are not changing it, that's for sure,” Mr Bailey said.

Mrs Frecklington agreed.

"If you drink and drive you're a bloody idiot. The LNP doesn't support any increase in the blood alcohol concentration limit,” she said.

RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding said the .05 blood alcohol limit was seen as good practice "and some countries actually consider it too high”.

"It's clear from research that your crash risk spikes if you're driving at .05 and increases sharply from there,” he said.

The RACQ referred to research showing an increased death risk for all drinking drivers, with a slight worsening of the odds above .06 and an increasingly steep rise above .10.

Street survey PAGE 8

Gympie Times

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