With the Melbourne Cup run and won for another year, it’s a safe bet that punters around Australia will have lost more than they won on the big race. And here’s another safe bet – if you drink and drive in Victoria eventually roadside alcohol testing will catch you.
Alcohol testing positive rates up, in Victoria and Queensland
A few weeks ago we brought you the troubling news that in Queensland, the number of people testing positive during roadside alcohol testing has been going up. Clearly, the war on people who drink and drive in that state isn’t over. Neither, it seems, is the war in Victoria.
Across the roads on the Melbourne Cup long weekend, Victoria Police conducted a roadside blitz it called Operation Furlong. The blitz primarily focussed on speeding, impaired driving and distraction. More than 5000 offences were detected over five days across the entire state.
One of the biggest concerns for Victoria Police was the number of drivers who failed alcohol testing. One in 295 motorists were detected for drink driving across the state during Operation Furlong. While that number doesn’t seem significant, when compared to the AFL Grand Final long weekend where one in 536 motorists were detected drink driving, the strike rate was very poor.
187 motorists were also caught in roadside drug testing in Victoria, during the blitz.
Of even more concern, and perhaps an indication that people are taking more risks on the roads, the number of deaths on the roads in Victoria is also up. While writing this post, the number of deaths for 2022 stands at 210, 26 up on this time last year.
Historically, alcohol is a major contributor to road deaths and serious injuries in Victoria. According to Vic Roads, each year, around 17 per cent of drivers killed on Victorian roads in accidents have a blood alcohol level of 0.05 or more.
Number of alcohol testing positives a concern
Acting Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Justin Goldsmith, the increase in the number of people failing alcohol testing is a concern.
“As we approach the festive time of the year, we know social events synonymous with alcohol and drug consumption become more frequent. With so many alternative transport options available, there is absolutely no excuse for drink and drug driving.
“We will be focusing our efforts on widespread alcohol and drug testing as we head towards the end of the year, so you can be confident you will be tested and caught, even if you’re only a little bit over the limit.
Here is a summary of some of the offences detected during Operation Furlong in Victoria:
- There were 2086 speeding offences
- 232 mobile phone offences
- 224 people failed alcohol testing, from 66,172 preliminary breath tests
- 187 people failed drug testing, from 2,662 tests conducted
- There were 136 seatbelt offences
It’s a sure bet that if you don’t drink and drive, the chances of you becoming a roadside statistic is significantly decreased. Credit Tourism Victoria https://bit.ly/3TZHQOT and TAC – images modified.