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[VIC] Does Random Breath Testing Really Achive Anything?

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by mjt57, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24866569-2862,00.html

    Thousands escape breath testing

    key points:

    Almost 235,000 drivers in regional Victoria were breath tested in the 12 months to September - 28,000 fewer than for the same period a year earlier.

    And the number tested was 32,000 down on the figure in 2006, police data shows.

    Despite this, the country road toll fell by 36 deaths to 137 last year, while Melbourne's toll rose by eight to 166.

    So, does RBT actually do anything other than to annoy those who don't drink drive?

    There's an article about how Tasmanian police blocked roads leading from a holiday spot down there recently. They apparently stopped and tested EVERY driver. Lots of complaints about people stick in queues for many hours. Police, naturally, offered no apologies.

    Dunno what it achieved, except to probably alienate the general public from the police, especially when they're increasingly being seen as either lazy, corrupt, or over officious where resources could be better used elsewhere.

  2. I think it has its merits as a cautionary device in that it will ward many people from drink driving, rather than a device for inciting punitive actions on someone who is caught.

    It's difficult to measure exactly how beneficial the activity is in harm prevention (unless we were to distinct segregate metrics in relation to directly attributed death due to intoxication).
  3. I came from the UK in 96. At that time, random testing was illegal. A police officer had to observe you doing something that would lead them to believe you'd been drinking. Of course, they still caught lots of people, but the chances of getting caught when you were only a little bit drunk were next to nil.

    Having seen both systems, I prefer the system here. It's a real deterrent to those otherwise law abiding drivers who might be tempted to have a few beers before they drive home. The hard core drinkers won't care, but then they wouldn't anyway and at least there is a real chance they will get caught. But as for closing the exits from a festival, or blocking a freeway, I think that's not such a bright idea.

    MJT, they actually didn't stop everyone. They stopped every car for 20m out of every hour. They tested 1000 drivers, of which 30 failed. That's a MUCH higher percentage than normal.
  4. Well, they still do that here as well. I've been pulled over (for no good reason when I asked the officer mind you) and given an on-the-spot breath test at 9am on a Thursday morning. Just saying that they employ both methods here, except here they need to real observable reason to pull you over.
  5. .. further to which, EVERY time I've been RBT'd in NSW while on the bike, I have been asked to produce my licence; this has never happened in the many more times I've been checked while driving the car.
  6. Not to get too off topic from the RBT side. One can see that the ability for a government agent to randomly stop youi, in effect ask for identification and ensure that you are free to go surmounts to nothing more than the ongoings of a embryonic communist regime guised under your saftey?
  7. I posted recently about Vic Pol setting up an RBT roadblock and shutting down the Westgate freeway @ 2am causing massive delays... EVERY BIKE was being pulled over into the drug and alcohol lane even if the lane was chockas.

    By the way, that article read like a bag of shyte. Another classic case of quoting stats for stats sake, though it was interesting that the lack of RBT in the country resulted in a drop of fatalities... where's MUARC when you need them to draw that causal link!

    What's the road toll like in NT now that they have gone hard on RBT and brought in speed limit on the previously unlimited highway??
  8. Yes, a friend of mine recently had a 50 minute trip extended by over half an hour because the police had set up a RBT station and were pulling over everyone, on a major road.

    I don't think that is in anyway justified, or a reasonable practice. Hundreds and hundreds of road users were inconvenienced for an extended time. Reporting on the news later showed that they had not caught many drink drivers.

    There has to be a better, more acceptable way. That would include better selection of the location for a RBT, given that sometime it can be downright dangerous.
  9. It's been so long since I last saw a RBT I'm seriously beginning to wonder if they even have them outside of Melbourne any more.
    Their approach to drink-driving seems to be the same as with speeding - set up in high traffic areas to catch the maximum number of people possible, even though most are probably only just over the limit. Meanwhile those that are seriously over the limit (like people driving home from the local country pub) continue to drink-drive.
    Of course when they do miss a corner and crash into a tree they usually blame speed as "being a factor" rather than the booze - which of course gives them an excuse to lower the speed limit and/or put up WRBs.
  10. I figure as long as they keep catching people over .05 and some way over, they will keep doing rbt's.

    Doesn't phase me much but I have never been delayed more than a few minutes. I guess if I was delayed half an hour I would be a tad upset.

    But agree with Roderick that some of the locations are stupid. Some I have seen are so obvious that all the drunks just turn off early (with no follow up from other police vehicles). And have also seen them set up where they caused a traffic hazard.
  11. I just read this.

    'More than 900 drink-drivers were caught across the state, a statistic Assistant Commissioner (Traffic and Transit Safety) Ken Lay described as "frightening".'

    When the ALP got back into office one of the things it did, other than to saturate the roads with speed cameras, was to drop the tolerance to exceed .05 to zero. ie. you hit O5 and your wallaby ted.

    Now, with this zero tolerance approach does it mean that they're merely getting more people who are probably quite OK to drive at 05 or even up to 08 as the limit is or was in a lot of states.

    One of the things about statistics about the road toll is that they seem to apply them rather simplistically. It's as if the death rate is an absolute, a benchmark on which to base legislation and enforcement policies.

    The so called "hidden" road toll, those who are hospitalised, either permanently or for recovery is never widely publicised. Sure, you can go to TAC or wherever to get the figures. But that should be the real gauge as to how road safety policies are going.

    Crap driving causes crashes. Luck would play a major part as to whether or not a person survives. Technology is another. But they seem to focus on alcohol and speed as the two main factors in crashes, when clearly they are not.

    I've always let it be known my displeasure about random anythings on our roads. Cops can check via radio or onboard computers and other technology if your bike's registered, as well as the status of the licence of the owner of the bike as the data is linked or cross referenced. But no, they have to pull you over, make you wait ten or so minutes while they jerk off checking the details. Then they let you go.

    They would call this a fishing expedition. Criminal investigations cannot do this. That is, the detectives think that you may be a bad arse, just because you may look scruffy. But they can't simply drag you off the street and into the cop shop for an "interview" without just cause. Same for searching your house. They need to show the magistrate just cause as to why they need a warrant. But when it comes to motoring, anything goes. ie. you're doing 100 km/h on the freeway, vehicle is in good condition and you're not doing anything silly. Copper following decides to pull you over just to see what he can find.

    How fair is that?

    As for the Tassie festival thing, according to this article every driver WAS breath tested.

  12. The day after Boxing Day here in Sydney, police set up an RBT on Mona Vale Rd... JUST around a completely blind-corner.
    There was no time for people to see them and merge into the 2 right-hand lanes, so there was a bloody great queue of cars who had slammed on the brakes, and were then sitting stationary with their blinkers on, trying to merge to get around the parked police cars.

    Absolute idiocy. Whoever chose that spot should have gone down a pay-grade.

    I noticed on the way back a few hours later, they'd left. Perhaps someone saw sense.
    I almost reported them to the RTA.
  13. On the way home I encountered the above RBT and was held up for no more than 5 mins because I was able to lane split.

    The week before they shut down 2 lanes on the bridge and I was mighty pissed (pun intended) when driving past the "roadworks" 15 monkeys standing around and one playing with a bunsen burner toasting some bitumen.

    I had worked from 7am and went through to 11pm and spent an entire hour sitting on the fwy as it was gridlocked.

    I'm all for roadworks to maintain our roads but why must it be commenced at 9pm? so take an extra couple of days to do the work and shut down the lanes later.
    The bridge is a prick as it is the most direct route to the west from the cbd. All these delays and frustrations can be avoided if they at least let the "afternoon shifters" get home first.
  14. i have never seen a rbt in nsw block the whole road, usually they just wave in cars to a bay they have set up , test them and send them on there way then randomly select another bunch of cars to replace the ones they just tested whilst everyone else drives by, is this whole blocking of traffic common elsewhere, it seems a huge inconvenience that is unnecessary.
    Evaluation of the Long Term Impact of a Deterrence-Based Random Breath Testing Program in New South Wales


    this page gives a brief history of rbt's introduction in NSW


    NSW breath-testing history

    December 16, 1968:

    Breath testing began; blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 introduced; drivers could be tested only after an accident or driving offence.

    December 15, 1980:

    Limit dropped to 0.05.

    December 17, 1982:

    Random breath testing trial begins.

    December 10, 1985:

    RBT becomes law.

    Death toll: 1291 in 1981; 524 in 2001.

    Lives saved: The RTA estimates that 4367 lives have been saved in the past 20 years because of the introduction of RBT.

    Statistics: Men represent 86 per cent of all drink drivers involved in fatal accidents.

    Accidents: Crashes occur most frequently between 6pm and midnight and between Thursday and Sunday.
  15. Only if ASIO have previously planted a tracking device.

    Ooops sorry I was further off topic.

    Is this Pro Pilot under a new nic??? :p
  16. Could be.... Stay tuned.
  17. RBT is merely an advertising unit for the police, nothing more

    We didn't catch any drink drivers: Look how effective we are, we've gotten heaps of drink drivers off the roads.

    We caught heaps of drink drivers: Look how effective we are, we've gotten heaps of drink driver off the roads.
  18. Nup, it does more than that. With RBT's, there is a real chance that someone might get caught. In the UK, they can't do RBT's, so they have to observe people driving in a manner that makes them suspicious. Only then can they test them.

    I prefer our system.
  19. Probably to try to catch unlicensed riders who are riding with a car license only.