Drink driving to distractions: tackling road safety issues
Drink driving, drug driving, drowsiness, speeding and distractions all drastically increase our risk of crashing. With the Towards Zero Action Plan, we’re finding new ways to reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads.
Impaired driving and speeding contribute to crashes
In the past five years:
- Drink driving (19%), speeding (29%) and drowsy driving (20%) all contributed to crashes where someone was killed
- About 41% of all drivers and motorcyclists killed had drugs (both legal and illegal) in their system
- Using a mobile phone while driving can increase the chances of being in a crash by up to four times.
Yet people still admit to doing them
Putting drink driving in perspective, 99.7% of drivers and riders tested aren’t over their legal BAC limit; however almost one in five (19%) drivers and riders killed in the past five years had a BAC greater than 0.05.
According to the TAC Road Safety Monitor, most licence holders either don't use a phone while driving (42%) or only use their phone hands free (41%). However, one in six (16%) licence holders still use a mobile phone without hands free while driving. In the same survey, 9% of people said they regularly drove while drowsy.
Close to half (47%) of all drivers drive above the speed limit at least some of the time regardless of the speed limit, yet evidence shows that if everyone reduced their travel speed by 5 km/h, up to 95 lives could be saved and 1300 serious injuries prevented in one year in Victoria.
How we're targeting these issues
As part of the Towards Zero Action Plan, we will see:
- Ten new purpose-built booze and drug buses take to the roads
- Double the number of drivers drug tested to 100,000 tests a year
- Trials of ‘alco-gates’ - alcohol sensors linked to exit boom gates within a car park - to prevent people driving when they are over the limit
- Drink drivers having to drive vehicles with alcohol interlocks - which stop a driver from starting the vehicle if they have been drinking - when relicensed
- Better assessments and screening for alcohol problems and behaviour change programs
- An investigation into the possibility of a zero blood alcohol limit for repeat offenders for life
- An exploration of tests that detect drivers who are tired, and technology and apps that can help reduce distractions (such as Road Mode) and give drivers speed alerts
- Education to help people understand how vulnerable the human body is to impact forces generated by vehicles travelling at speed and separate drinking from driving
- Drivers and riders proactively advised about new speed zones and why changes were made
- More safety cameras to deter speeding and reduce crashes in busy areas
- Infrastructure to slow down traffic, particularly around cyclists and pedestrians, like roundabouts, gateways at shopping centres and raised platforms.