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25 Facts About Drink Driving QLD

As part of our commitment to safer roads we’ve created a series of graphics to help illustrate the dangers of drink driving.

If you’ve come across this page though looking for a Drink Driving lawyer or you’ve got a charge for Drink Driving or Drug Driving in QLD quickly head over to our Online Enquiry Page to see your options, don’t worry it’s Free!

HBL FACT 3

According to a 2010 Drinkwise Australia study, approximately 40% of Australians the amount of alcohol they can consume during a single session without risking short-term harm, increasing their likelihood to be involved in a car accident. The people surveyed believe women can drink five standard drinks before placing themselves at risk, and seven standard drinks for men (2010 study).

Australian regulations state that a standard drink equates to 10 grams of alcohol, or the equivalent of 12.5ml of pure alcohol.

In very general terms, this is how much alcohol the body can process in an hour. However, because drinks come in different sizes and strengths, and people come in different shapes, sizes, genders, levels of tiredness, and weights among other factors, the amount of alcohol you can process in any given time period is not an exact science.

HBL FACT 3

You may not realise it, but every drink you have hinders your ability to drive safely on the roads. You need coordination, reflexes, concentration and good judgment to make safe driving decisions, all of which are increasingly inhibited with every drink you consume.

Those holding learner, probationary or provisional driver’s licences must not have any alcohol in their system, while full driver’s licence holders are entitled to have a blood alcohol reading of no more than 0.05. However, from the moment you have your first drink your driving will be effected.

  • 02 – 0.05 – Your ability to see or locate moving lights correctly, and judge distances decreases, you’re more likely to take risks and your ability to respond to some stimuli is reduced.
  • 05 – You’re twice as likely to have a car accident.
  • 05 – 0.08 – Slower reactions, shorter concentration span, and your ability to judge distances is much worse.
  • 08 – You are seven times more likely to have a car accident.
  • 08 – 0.12 – ‘Euphoria’ has set in and you think you are performing better than you actually are. You’re reckless and you have impaired peripheral vision and perception of obstacles. You are 10 times more likely to have a car accident.

HBL FACT 3

The Driving in Queensland discussion paper released by the Queensland Government in 2010 showed that the Queensland Police Service conducted three million breath tests during the 2007-08 financial year. The fallout saw over 32,000 drink driving offences by motorists on Queensland roads, representing an offence rate of around 1%.

Of those caught drink driving, 73.1% were either first time offenders, or had no previous drink driving charge in the previous five years. The remaining offenders had at least one prior drink driving conviction in the previous five years.

Just over 80% of first time drink driving offenders caught, registered a blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of equal to or less than 0.149. But a staggering one in five first time offenders caught were found guilty of a high level offence, with a BAC of 0.15 or over, or driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to supply a breath specimen.

If you have a learners, probationary or provisional driver licence, you must not have any alcohol in your system when driving on Queensland roads. If you have a full driver licence, your blood alcohol reading must be no more than 0.05. The penalties for breaking drink-driving laws can be a fine and loss of demerit points, loss of licence for a specified period of time, or imprisonment in the most extreme cases.

Even if you are not driving at the time, if you are considered to be in charge of the vehicle and you register a BAC in excess of the legal limit, the penalties will be the same as if you were driving.

HBL FACT 4

The higher your blood alcohol level, the more likely you are to be involved in a traffic accident. At 0.05 you are twice as likely to have a car accident, at 0.08 you are five times more likely, and at 0.12 you are 10 times more likely.

In Queensland, 30% of all fatal car crashes have a driver affected by alcohol or drugs. This is despite there being a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit in Australia for three decades.

 Why does drinking and drug use cause fatal accidents? Your ability to make reasonable judgments becomes impaired, your reaction time slows down, you will find it difficult to multitask, you can be easily distracted.

HBL FACT 5

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a measurement of how much alcohol is in your system at any given time. If you hold a full driver licence in Queensland, you are entitled to have a BAC not exceeding 0.05. If you hold a learner, provisional or probationary licence, you must not have any alcohol in your system at any time if you are in control of a motor vehicle.

A standard drink in Australia is considered to be a beverage containing 10g of alcohol. As a general guide only, men should not drink any more than two standard drinks in the first hour, and one every hour after that to stay under the 0.05 limit. Women should have no more than one standard drink per hour.

However there are many factors that can influence the effects alcohol can have on an individual, such as their shape and size, gender, tiredness and weight. All of these factors will have an effect on how quickly the body process alcohol at any given moment and as such you should err on the side of caution.

HBL FACT 6

There is a possibility that any insurance you have will become null and void should you be involved in an accident while driving over the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit, especially if you are negligent driving is the cause of the accident. Depending on your insurer and the contract you have with them, this could mean a loss of liability coverage for any other drivers involved, and loss of coverage for your own damages or injuries.

If your insurer does not have an exclusion clause for DUI accidents, you can most certainly expect your insurance provider to cancel your policy with them as soon as possible, or dramatically increase your premiums if you wish to stay with them.

WorkCover is another form of compulsory insurance taken out by Australian businesses to cover employees that are injured physically or mentally on the worksite. If you are injured while driving under the influence of alcohol, once again there is a very real possibility you won’t be covered.

Loss of insurance can have a devastating effect on you and your family. The financial implications can substantially impact on quality of life, particularly if there has been significant property damage caused, or temporary or permanent disability that requires expensive medical treatment.

ignorance-of-drink-driving-at-work

If you drink and drive at work, managers, supervisors and fellow workers could face prosecution as well if they knew you’d been drinking and didn’t act. Your actions could not only have an enormous impact on your own life, but also the lives of your work colleagues.

There are two obvious instances where you could have alcohol in your system at work:

1. You have drunk an alcoholic beverage at some stage during the hours you are present at your place of employment. For example, if you work from 9am – 5pm, you may have had a couple of drinks over lunch before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle to fulfil certain tasks of your employment.

2. You have drunk a large quantity of alcohol the night before, and arrived at work the following day with a blood alcohol reading in excess of the legal limit. There are many factors that affect how your body metabolises alcohol in your system, and every person is different. Strategies for quickly decreasing your blood alcohol level may make you feel better, such as drinking coffee and having a cold shower, but your body will metabolise alcohol at its own rate regardless of these tactics.

If you drive under the influence of alcohol while at your place of employment, the consequences could be far more dire than ‘just’ losing your licence and being issued with a heavy fine. There is the potential loss of any insurance cover or WorkCover, the worker’s compensation insurance you would be entitled to should you suffer a physical or mental injury at work. You and any other colleagues who were either under the influence of alcohol, or knew you were under the influence of alcohol and did nothing to prevent you from driving, could also be prosecuted for breaching the Workplace Health and Safety Act.

pedestrians-killed-on-the-road-were-over-the-0-05-blood-alcohol-limit

It’s important to organise a place to stay, or transport home, if you plan on having a big night out. Walking home when intoxicated greatly increases the risk of being struck by motorists, causing serious injuries, or in extreme cases, death.

Over 30% of pedestrians killed on the road have a blood alcohol reading above 0.05, while over 20% have a reading over 0.15.

Alcohol is a depressant, slowing down your ability to react and make sensible decisions that you would have made when sober. Your brain function slows down, judgement is impaired, risk taking behaviour increases, balance is compromised and you can feel far more sleepy than usual. The combination of these effects greatly increases the chances of accidents occurring, particularly if left alone.

While there are statistics to support pedestrians of most ages and both sexes that are killed under the influence of alcohol, young men make up the vast majority of deaths. Unsurprisingly these deaths more often than not occur during peak drinking times from Thursday night until Sunday morning.

If you have been involved in an accident where a pedestrian has been injured or killed, call Hollows Boonen Lawyers immediately!

road fatalities in Queensland involve motorists

Of all the numerous ways people can get themselves into difficulties on the road, leading to accidents that may cause death, driving under the influence of alcohol plays an enormous part.

A driver with a blood alcohol reading of 0.05 is twice as likely to have a car accident, at 0.08 the likelihood is five times greater, at 0.12 it’s 10 times more likely, while at 0.15 the likelihood of being involved in an accident is a staggering 25 times greater than at zero.
Of the 269 fatalities on Queensland roads in 2011, speeding caused 17.8% of fatalities, and even fewer were caused by fatigue and not wearing a seatbelt. Statistically speaking, driving under the influence of alcohol played the greatest role in deaths on Queensland roads.
There are numerous reasons why driving under influence of alcohol increases the likelihood of being involved in fatal accidents on Queensland roads:

  • Blurred vision
  • Lack of coordination
  • False sense of confidence
  • Increase in risk taking behaviours
  • Reduced concentration
  • Slower reflexes

All of these effects, and many more, increase the chances of you having an accident on Queensland roads if you’ve been drinking.

driving over the limit socially unacceptable

Most of us consider driving under the influence of alcohol as a socially unacceptable thing to do, and the number of random breath tests on Queensland roads stretch well into the hundreds of thousands. However, as can be seen from the incredibly high number of fatal car accidents caused by drink driving, many people are not getting the message.

Almost a third of driving fatalities on Queensland roads is a direct result of alcohol, with the likelihood of having an accident increasing substantially with every drink you have.

Stigmatisation of drink driving is a direct result of harsh penalties administered by the authorities to those who are caught driving under the influence, education campaigns featuring powerful messages via numerous channels such as the media and education systems, and our peers spreading the message by word of mouth that drink driving is not ok.

The best way to keep people you know from getting behind the wheel of a car if they’ve had too many drinks is by being proactive. Having a cold shower, drinking strong coffee, and getting some fresh air is not going to help their blood alcohol levels. Instead, these strategies could prevent someone from causing an accident, or worse still, a fatality on Queensland roads:

  • Before you go out organise a designated driver or someone to collect you and your friends after you’ve had a few drinks.
  • Be strong when someone declares they’re going to drive home, you could save their life or that of someone else.
  • Drive them home if you are not over the legal driving limit.
  • Call them a taxi.
  • Invite them to spend the night at your house.
  • Confiscate their keys.

The important message is you must not give in and allow a clearly intoxicated person to get behind the wheel of a car.

breath tests-drink driving

Every state’s police force implements their own random breath testing (RBT) strategy. For example, in Western Australia, the police force target specific times and locations, while in Queensland the police force adopt a saturation approach, randomly pulling people over at varying times and locations.

Since 1998, Queensland’s RBT policy has allowed police to conduct random tests on drivers and riders at any time, even if they haven’t been displaying any signs of erratic driver behaviour. This has resulted in an 11% decrease in the number of drink driving hospitalisations and fatalities. The high levels of RBT visibility, both in the mass media through advertising strategies, and on the roads with stationary deployment of booze buses and mobile random testing, has resulted in 73% of people admitting that random breath testing deters them from drink driving.

The Queensland system has proven to be incredibly successful. From January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2011 there were just over 35 million random breath tests conducted in Queensland. Of that incredibly high number, there were 248,173 drivers who recorded blood alcohol levels above the legal limit at a rate of 0.7%. Queensland’s RBT program has a target of three million tests every year, or one test for every licenced driver.

While the RBT policy has successfully decreased the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol, successfully reducing the injury and death toll, there are still those who choose to run the gauntlet and drive after consuming alcohol.

Legal blood/breath alcohol limit

The amount of alcohol you are allowed to have in your system depends on the type of licence you hold.

● 0.00 (no alcohol in the system) – learner, provisional, probationary and restricted licence holders.

● 0.05 – open licence drivers

● 0.00 – those in charge of a truck or any vehicle weighing over 4.5t; bus that can carry more than 12 adults; articulated motor vehicle; vehicle carrying a placard or dangerous goods, public transport vehicle (taxi, limousine, etc.); tow truck, pilot vehicle or escort vehicle escorting an oversize vehicle; a vehicle being used to give driver training; a specially constructed vehicle such as a tractor.

Potential penalties for drink driving offences

Should you be caught driving with a blood alcohol reading over the legal limit, you could receive one or more of the following penalties:

● Monetary fine

● Community service order

● Probation order

● Intensive corrections order

● Wholly or partially suspended license

● Term of imprisonment

blood alcohol level of 0.15

With every drink you have, your ability to remain in control of your vehicle diminishes. Any amount of alcohol in your system will have an impact on the many factors that enable you to drive safely.

The statistics are frightening and unless we carry a breath-testing unit with us we have no way of knowing what our blood alcohol levels are. We often underestimate the influence our alcohol consumption has had on our ability to function. Most people who are caught drink-driving register a blood alcohol reading of between 0.05-0.08, having driven in the belief they were under the legal 0.05 limit.

There is no magic formula to determine your blood alcohol level at any given moment. As a general rule, men should limit their consumption to two standard drinks in the first hour, then one standard drink every hour after that. Women should only consume one standard drink per hour to remain under the legal limit. However, there are many factors that influence the effect alcohol has on an individual as:

● body shape, size and weight

● gender

● level of tiredness

All of these factors and many others will have an effect on how quickly the body processes alcohol at any given moment.

To be safe, the best advice we can offer is to leave the car at home if you are going to drink and do not follow standard guidelines. It doesn’t take much to exceed the legal blood alcohol level, and the consequences of getting caught can be catastrophic. Losing your licence and receiving hefty fines can have a profound effect on your life and that of your family, so it’s wise to avoid any chance of this happening to you.

Alcohol is depresant

When you drink alcohol, the activity in your central nervous system, including your brain, slows down. This impacts your ability to function, particularly when you’re behind the wheel. Any amount of alcohol in your system will cause:

  • Impaired vision
  • Slower reaction times
  • Concentration lapses
  • Tiredness
  • Sensory impairment
  • Overconfidence
  • Difficulty to multitask
  • Impaired distance and speed judgment
  • Aggressive behaviour

These are just a few of the reactions your body will have to alcohol, and the degree of impact will be dependent on how much alcohol is in your system.

 

repeat drink driver

Getting caught drink driving will result in a court appearance, and the penalty can include a fine, loss of licence and, in extreme cases, imprisonment. A Magistrate will decide the severity of your punishment, with your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and driving history taken into account.

First time drink drivers

If you are caught drink driving for the first time, you can expect one of the following punishments:

BAC        Disqualification                                   Maximum   fine Maximum   imprisonment 
0.00-0.05
learner, probationary or provisional drivers, and those with particular motor vehicles
3-9 months $1,540 3 months
0.05-under 0.10 1-9 months $1,540 3 months
0.10-under 0.15 3-12 months $2,200 6 months
0.15 and over Minimum of 6 months $3,080 9 months

From the moment your BAC has been confirmed, your licence will be immediately suspended. If your BAC is less than 0.10, your licence will be suspended for 24 hours. However, your licence will be immediately suspended until a Magistrate determines your punishment, if you:

  • recorded a BAC under 0.10 while
  • you have a drink driving charge pending, or
  • you were the holder of a section 79E order and your replacement licence is subject to an X4 condition
  • recorded a BAC of 0.10 and over,
  • didn’t provide a specimen of breath or blood upon request, or
  • were charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence.

Repeat drink drivers

If you have been caught drink driving, and it isn’t your first time, you can expect to be dealt with more harshly by the Magistrate. Punishment may include:

  • having your car impounded if your BAC is 0.15 or over, or you didn’t provide a breath or blood specimen,
  •  licence disqualification for up to two years,
  • a fine of up to $7,068, or
  • a term of imprisonment.

37% of drivers admit to having driven over the legal limit

In Queensland 89% of people consider driving over the legal limit to be socially unacceptable behaviour. However, despite these societal norms and repeated warnings from Government agencies and emergency services about the dangers of drink driving, more than one-third of drivers admitted to knowingly driving over the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit at some stage in their lives.

That is a staggering number of people who are willing to drive after a few too many drinks just so they can get their car home. This is either due to ignorance of the dangers of drink driving, or a willingness to engage in risky driving behaviour.

Safe drink driving?

There is no such thing as safe drink driving. From the moment you consume alcohol your judgment, coordination and reflexes are all impaired to varying degrees. While the legal BAC limit is 0.05 for a fully (open) licenced driver, any amount of alcohol consumed will affect everybody differently according to a wide variety of factors.

As you drink alcohol your BAC continues to rise, even for a period of time after your last drink. As your BAC rises, you are more and more likely to be involved in a car accident, than if you had no alcohol in your system.

0.05 – Twice as likely
0.08 – Five times more likely
0.12 – Ten times more likely
0.15 – Twenty five times more likely

As a general rule, to stay under the 0.05 BAC limit, men should consume no more than two (2) standard drinks within the first hour, and one (1) standard drink p

9% of drivers believe it’s OK to drive over the limit, as long as they feel capable

Despite Australian law stating that fully (open) licenced drivers can not have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.05, and learner and provisional drivers can not have any alcohol in their system at all, a staggering 9% of drivers still think it’s OK to drive over the limit as long as they feel capable.

To break that down even further, eight percent of drivers over 24 years of age thought it was OK, while a mind blowing 13 percent of people under 24 thought driving over the legal limit was OK as long as they felt capable.

This mindset among many drivers, particularly younger drivers, highlights a clear misunderstanding about the effects of alcohol on the body. From the moment a person consumes their first drink, the alcohol starts to change the way the body functions due to its affect on the central nervous system, including your brain.

How does alcohol affect the body?

 BAC LEVEL  AFFECT OF ALCOHOL ON THE BODY
 Up to 0.05
  •  Judging distances becomes impaired
  • Tracking of moving targets inhibited
  • More likely to take risks
  • Response time to some stimuli increases
  • Reduced coordination
0.05 – 0.08
  • Ability to judge distances decreases further
  • Reactions slow down
  • Concentration decreases
  • Find it more difficult to process information
0.08-0.12
  • Overconfidence in your own ability
  • Peripheral vision impaired
  • Driving becomes reckless
  • Perception of obstacles is impaired
0.12-0.15
  • Muscle control considerably impaired
  • Major loss of balance
  • Blurred vision
  • Anxiety and restlessness sets in
  • Attention is severely impacted
0.15-0.20
  • Dazed, confused and disoriented
  • Nauseous
  • Blackouts are common

 

people are avoiding random breath tests

people are worried about their alcohol level the day after

Despite feeling fine the morning after a night of heavy drinking, apart from the obligatory hangover, many people are caught driving over the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit. Almost half of all people who collect their car the next day are worried they will have a BAC reading over 0.05, yet still collect their cars anyway. A combination of not knowing how many standard drinks have been consumed, and how quickly your body processes alcohol, can lead to people drink driving without even knowing it.

If you’ve done the right thing and used alternate transport to get home the previous night, you still need to be sure you’re under 0.05 (or 0.00 for provisional and restricted licence drivers) before going to collect your car the next day. Your body will process alcohol in its own time, and old wives tales such as drinking coffee, cold showers and fresh air have no effect on your BAC levels. So thoughts of getting a few hours sleep followed by a greasy breakfast should have no influence over whether you go and collect your car or not.

How much can I drink and stay under 0.05?

There is no exact way of determining how much alcohol you have in your system at any given time without using a properly calibrated breath-testing device. As a general rule, men can drink two standard drinks in the first hour, followed by one drink per hour to stay under 0.05, while women should consume no more than one standard drink per hour. However, there are many factors that can affect the way your body metabolises alcohol, such as:

– Age
– Gender
– Size
– The speed of your metabolism
– Stress levels
– Weight and body composition
– Recent food consumption

Another general rule to ensure you’re right to drive your car home is to wait for one hour for every standard drink consumed once you’ve finished, plus another hour. But again, everyone processes alcohol differently, so it’s imperative you’ve given yourself enough time to sober up, and you’re absolutely sure you’ll be under the limit, before driving your car home the following day.

For example, if you drink eight cans of full strength beer (11.2 standard drinks), and your last drink was at midnight, you shouldn’t drive your car until at least midday the following day. Given many people would collect their car before that, the amount of drivers on the road on any given Saturday or Sunday morning over the legal BAC limit is potentially very high.

Hollows Boonen Lawyers advise that you should not follow guidelines or try to count drinks when driving.

 

men are in 90% of fatal accidents

The likelihood of being involved in a fatal accident increases dramatically with every drink you consume before getting behind the wheel of a car.

  • Up to 0.05 – Twice as likely
  • 0.08 – Five times more likely
  • 0.12 – 10 times more likely
  • 0.15 – 25 times more likely

As you can see, it doesn’t take much before you put yourself in danger if you choose to get behind the wheel of a car after consuming alcohol. We recommend you do not follow standard guidelines when consuming alcohol and driving.

Men are much more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident

What is particularly remarkable about fatal car accidents where drink driving is involved, is the enormous discrepancy between sexes. Men are the drivers in 90% of all drink-driving related fatal road accidents. That is a staggering statistic, and it clearly shows men are not getting the message. While Australia’s Laws punish drink drivers heavily, including fines, loss of licence and imprisonment in severe cases, it’s the potential of death, while drink driving that should be the real deterrent.

The clear and obvious plan, if you’re going to be drinking any amount of alcohol at all, is to leave the car at home. There are so many factors that contribute to your BAC, such as body composition, stress levels, height, weight and age, that you really can’t be certain what your percentage is at any given moment. While you may feel ok to drive, the reality is every drink you have is affecting your central nervous system. After just one standard drink your ability to judge distances is impaired, coordination is reduced and you’re more likely to take risks. With every additional drink you become a real danger to yourself and everyone else on the road.

90% of accidents take place in rural areas

Drink driving is a serious offence and should never be taken lightly. Harsh penalties can have an enormous impact on your life, and the lives of those closest to you such as your spouse and children. Heavy penalties such as disqualification of your licence, large fines, and in extreme cases imprisonment, act as a deterrent to a certain degree. However, there are still many people who run the drink-driving gauntlet, despite the inherent dangers and legal ramifications.

Where do most drink driving related accidents happen?

Despite two thirds of the Australian population living in large cities, it’s rural areas that are hotspots for drink driving accidents. Incredibly 90% of all drunk driving accidents take place on rural roads. A small fraction of that number can be attributed to tourists and visitors unfamiliar with the roads, but the vast majority of drunk driving accidents involve local residents.

Studies show that the rate of serious vehicle accidents where alcohol is involved increases as the level of remoteness increases. Because the very nature of rural traffic and road conditions is vastly different to urban areas, the risks are greater. Characteristics of rural road crashes include:

  • Higher speeds
  • Longer travelling distances
  • A wide range of road conditions, including unsealed dirt roads
  • Higher concentration of larger, heavy vehicles such as trucks and agricultural vehicles

Driving in city conditions, where vehicles are travelling much slower, decreases the chances of being involved in a fatal accident. On rural and remote roads the story is much different. A combination of high speeds, longer driving time and poor road conditions, with blurred vision, slower reaction speeds, and riskier driving behaviour, is a recipe for disaster and should be avoided at all costs.

young people - fatal accidents

Drink driving statistics can be quite confronting at times, and often they are hard to believe. But when it comes to deaths as a direct result of driving under the influence of alcohol, particularly among young people, the reality of this kind of behaviour hits home.

To think that a third of drunk drivers involved in fatal car accidents are aged between 17-24 years of age. That is a staggering statistic and goes to show too many young people are dying on our roads when their lives have really only just begun, when it could have been so easily prevented.

What can be done to reduce the rate of young people dying?

While education is the key to teaching people the dangers of drink driving, particularly school aged children, the message is simply not getting through for many people in this vulnerable category of drivers. It’s the duty of all responsible adults in the lives of young people to take on the role of educator. This includes parents, teachers, older relatives and friends who must point out and highlight the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Statistically and logically speaking, the more alcohol you have in your system, the more likely you are to be in an accident, no matter how old you are.

  • 0.05: Twice as likely – judging distances becomes impaired, increase in risky behaviour, response time increases, and coordination is reduced
  • 0.08: Five times more likely – further impairment of ability to judge distances, reactions slow down, and poor concentration.
  • 0.12: 10 times more likely – Overinflated confidence in your ability to drive, peripheral vision impaired, and reckless driving behaviour.
  • 0.15: 25 times more likely – Poor muscle control, limited balance, vision blurred and anxiety sets in.

As you drink your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) begins to rise, but what people may not realise is once you’ve stopped, your BAC will continue to rise for a period of time while your body processes the alcohol in your system. So while you may think you’re ok to drive, chances are you aren’t.

 

30% fatal accidents take place on weekends

Australians love their weekends. After a hard week at work a lot of people like to unwind and blow off steam with a few drinks. Friday and Saturday nights are obviously the main times when people like to catch up with friends and enjoy a few drinks. Thursday nights are also popular, possibly because we just can’t wait for the weekend to arrive so we start a night early.

Most people are responsible when they know they’re going out to have a few drinks. Rather than drive and risk being caught or getting involved in a car accident, they make the necessary plans to get home safely without needing their car. This includes:

  • Organising a designated driver
  • Using a taxi
  • Staying at someone else’s house until they’re right to drive the following day.

There is also the option of attempting to control your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by counting how many standard drinks you’ve had in a set period of time. For men that means two standard drinks in the first hour, then one standard drink per hour after that; and for women it is one standard drink per hour. However this is not a foolproof system, and the only way you can be sure you’re under the limit is to refrain from drinking completely.

Between 9pm and 3am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night is a danger time for drivers on the road. Despite these 18 hours accounting for just under 11% of the total hours in a week, 30% of fatal accidents that happen during these time periods involve drunk drivers.

blood alcohol level - 2 hrs more

People have many theories about how to sober up faster than normal after having a few alcoholic drinks. Some of the more common methods include cold showers, fresh air, coffee and greasy food. Of course none of these have any basis in fact, and the truth is there is nothing you can do to speed up sobriety. The liver will process the alcohol in your blood stream at a rate of approximately one standard drink per hour, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Generally speaking your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) will continue to rise for approximately two hours after your last drink, which could have serious ramifications for you if you get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Should you be pulled over by a police officer and blow over the legal BAC, there will be a delay until you get tested officially either back at the Police station or roadside mobile station. Following your failed roadside test, Police should perform the more accurate second test. This delay could see your BAC either increase or decrease (depending on when you consumed the alcohol) and this will be the level at which you’re charged.

 

only time has effect on BAC

To understand why old wives tales are nonsense when it comes to how quickly we ‘sober up’ after drinking, it’s important to understand how the liver processes alcohol. Drinking coffee, running on a treadmill, sleeping or eating have absolutely zero effect on how quickly your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) goes down after drinking.

When you drink alcohol, it enters your stomach and small intestine, where small blood vessels absorb and transport the alcohol to your bloodstream. It’s the liver’s job to metabolise alcohol, breaking it down into a series of substances with the help of specific enzymes. Eventually it is broken down into carbon dioxide and water and is excreted in your urine. When alcohol is in your system, all other liver functions cease in order to deal with it. As such no other activities will influence the liver’s ability to break down the alcohol, only time and patients will help.

Alcohol that isn’t being metabolised at any given moment remains in the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body, making its way to your brain, heart and central nervous system among other destinations. The liver can metabolise approximately one standard drink per hour. People often wake the following day and drive straight away, unaware they’re still over the legal BAC limit because they haven’t given their liver enough time to metabolise the amount of standard drinks they had the night before.

four people are killed and 90 are seriously injured every day on Australia's roads.

Many of the car accidents that occur on Australian roads are completely preventable, with drink driving one of the major causes. While there have been enormous strides taken to reduce the number of serious and fatal accidents, there is still a lot of work to be done. Various state and federal authorities have done a great job since the 1970’s of changing attitudes and behaviours to drink driving. Community expectations have shifted from a previously normal practice, to what is now considered unacceptable behaviour and deserving of severe punishment.

According to the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, every day there is on average four people killed and 90 seriously injured. Of those fatalities, just over a quarter are killed in an accident involving a drunk driver. Fatal and serious car accidents can have a devastating impact on so many levels. Socially, family and friends can be left traumatised by the loss of a loved one, particularly when the accident could so easily have been prevented. Financially, the Australian economy takes an enormous hit, with estimates suggesting the annual cost of road crashes to the Australian taxpayer stands at more than $27 billion.

Every state, including Queensland, has introduced many measures to combat drunk driving. Decreasing the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels, harsher penalties for breaking drink-driving laws, and an increase in roadside testing are just a few that have considerably reduced the number of drunk drivers on the road. However, there is still a small percentage of motorists who take unnecessary risks, both to themselves and other users of Australian roads.

 

What to do If I’m Caught?

If you have been caught driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol it’s important you call the team at Hollows Boonen Lawyers to discuss your options immediately.

Your first call and consultation is free of charge, and you can contact us on 1800 465 569 or 0411 881 030 any time of the day or night. Or just fill in our Enquiry Form and get back a fast response!

Not only can we assist with your DUI charges and the impact of any potential fines, loss of demerit points, or loss of licence, but we can also assist in other areas such as applying for Work Licences and Hardship Orders. For added peace of mind, we have a 100% success rate when applying for Work Licences.

Brisbane

Level 10 239 George Street
Brisbane CBD QLD 4000


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Gold Coast

Suite 30610, Southport Central 3 9 Lawson Street Southport QLD 4215


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Sunshine Coast

8 Pikki St
Maroochydore QLD 4558


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Traffic & Criminal Lawyers Brisbane and Gold Coast | Hollows Boonen