Drink driving is a major contributor to all road deaths in Victoria. Each year around a quarter of all road deaths are a result of drivers who had a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or higher.
This article will detail some of the offences and penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol in Victoria. Please not that these penalties may vary in other states and territories of Australia.
Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are dependent on a number of factors including the type of licence the driver holds, the blood alcohol content reading a police offer registers at the time of the incident and the number of prior offences and demerit points the driver has. Below is a brief summary of these offences and the penalties they carry.
Zero BAC Licence (professional drivers, P licence, L Permit)
If you are a professional driver (e.g. taxi or bus driver) or hold a provisional licence such as a P or L permit there is a full restriction on drinking and driving. If you are caught with a BAC of less than .05 the penalty carries a fine of $352 and 10 demerit points. As learner and probationary drivers have only a 5 demerit point threshold within the first 12 months this means an automatic 4 month licence suspension.
Full licence (26 years or older)
Full licence holders do not have the same blood alcohol reading restrictions as provisional licence holders and professional drivers and can carry a BAC of up to .05 with no alcohol related offence. A BAC reading of .05 to < .07 will incur 10 demerit points as well as a $422.52 fine.
Regardless of licence type there are a number of offences and penalties that are applied according to the BAC reading. If the BAC of a driver is .07 to <.15 a fine of $422.52 to $598.57 and a cancellation of licence in addition to disqualification for 6-14 months depending on the blood alcohol content.
For serious BAC readings of .15 or for subsequent offences the penalties are more severe. Criminal charges are laid and the offender must attend Magistrates court for the specific penalty.
It is important to be aware of these offences and penalties when planning your journey. If at all possible the best recommendation is to not drink at all before getting behind the wheel of your vehicle. It is just not worth the risk.
You can’t predict what will happen to your vehicle or your person when driving on the road, so it is critical to always have current insurance. In order to drive in Australia it is compulsory to have car insurance and if you’re looking for a well-established insurer, Allianz were recently named ‘Large General Insurance Company of the Year’ at the 2012 Australian Insurance Industry Awards.Comprehensive car insurance – is the best way to protect yourself and others in the event of serious injury.
Although the penalties for drink driving may appear severe they are in place to protect you from more serious consequences such as injury or death.