Alcohol testing figures in NSW showing worrying trend

NSW is another state to show a worrying trend in alcohol testing failure rates. Credit Yutacar

There’s a worrying trend occurring across some states of Australia, with the rates of people failing roadside alcohol testing going up. A trend that is perhaps even more worrying when you consider that festive season work events and parties are in full swing.

NSW alcohol testing fails rise

The latest state to release figures that show an increased rate of roadside alcohol testing failures is NSW. According to an article in the Newcastle Herald, one in every 200 drivers tested in 2021 for alcohol failed the test. This compares to one in every 333 drivers in 2019.

The worrying increase of alcohol testing failure rates has occurred at the same time that 47 people lost their lives on NSW roads in alcohol related crashes. Most of these occurred on country roads, with 38 of the 47 alcohol-related fatalities occurring in regional areas.

Another concern is that during these same periods, the number of tests more than halved. Around six million roadside alcohol tests were conducted in NSW in 2019, compared with 2.8 million in 2021.

Of course, COVID-19 lockdowns were a major contributor to the reduced figures in 2021. However, the NRMA says we should now be scaling up tests across NSW to serve as a deterrent to people who believed they could drink and drive and not get caught.

In a press release, the NRMA has called on random breath testing across NSW to rise to 1.1 tests per licence holder, which equates to more than seven million RBTs each year.

“Road deaths from drink driving are up, the percentage of people returning a positive test are up and the number of RBTs being conducted across the state have plummeted – these statistics are all heading in the wrong direction and that must change now,” NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury.

“The NRMA wants to see more resources dedicated to the work of the NSW Highway Patrols and RBTs and that needs to start now – we are well into the festive season and too many people are drink driving on our roads because they don’t think they’ll get caught,” Mr Khoury said.

Alcohol testing failure rates in NSW a national trend?

As we alluded to in the opening paragraph, NSW is not the only state to show a worrying trend in alcohol testing fails. As reported by Integrity Sampling, Victorian and Queensland has also recently reported periods where the number of alcohol testing positive rates have been higher than normal.

With Festive Season work and other social events in full swing, will we see more people fail alcohol testing, or worse, kill themselves and others?

Just last week, Channel 9 reported an incident that occurred in the Melbourne suburb of Werribee. It involved a 28-year-old woman who crashed into a parked car on the way home from work drinks. Subsequent alcohol testing showed the female driver was at .288 blood alcohol level, which shockingly is more than six times over the limit.

For employers, it’s a good reminder to educate your employees of the dangers of alcohol and drugs while driving and take other steps to protect your business from the scourge of alcohol. For all drivers, it’s a good reminder that if you are going to be drinking, arrange alternative transport.

Safety is always important, but particularly at this time of year.

NSW is another state to show a worrying trend in alcohol testing failure rates.


NSW is another state to show a worrying trend in alcohol testing failure rates. Credit Yutacar

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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