Alcohol testing catches many

Roadside alcohol testing’s list of shame seems to have no end, as police catch people driving over the limit every day of every week. Credit Kristopher Allison

What’s worse than a driver who crashed his car with a blood alcohol level nearly six times over the 0.05 limit? How about a P-plater who failed alcohol testing when caught behind the wheel of a car missing a front wheel? An off-duty police officer who failed an alcohol test? A learner driver who stole a car while intoxicated? Or a 77-year-old man caught driving over the limit and speeding?

They’re just a few notable incidents in the past week or so around the nation that would leave many of us shaking our heads.

Alcohol testing shame file

The alcohol testing shame file begins in the ACT when police attended the scene of a collision. While the collision was only minor, the male driver was requested to provide a breath analysis test which allegedly provided a reading of 0.280, nearly six times over the limit.

In Adelaide, meanwhile, police stopped a driver when they received reports of a car being driven with only three wheels on the car. Police apprehended the P-plate male driver and he underwent alcohol testing. The alleged reading of 0.191 went some way towards explaining why the driver was driving a car with only three wheels!

Then there’s the story of the off-duty police officer in Melbourne, who was intercepted at an alcohol and drug testing site. The leading senior constable allegedly blew 0.107. While this isn’t as high as the two incidents highlighted above, given the person’s position as a police officer you could argue that the incident is worse.

Back to Adelaide, where a teenager allegedly stole a car. While this is an all-too-common story, what makes this worse is the girl was on her learner’s licence and intoxicated at the time. Alcohol testing recorded an alleged reading of 0.123.

Moving to Hobart, a 77-year old man has been charged with drink driving and speeding. He was caught allegedly driving through a 60 km/h zone at 92 km/h. He also underwent alcohol testing and allegedly recorded 0.125.

As Inspector Andrew Keane summed up so well in a Tasmania Police medial release, “No one can drive safely if they are under the influence of alcohol, let alone adding speeding into the mix, and this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Alcohol testing fails the tip of the iceberg

Of course, these incidents are only the tip of the iceberg. Every week on Australian roads, many drivers put themselves and others at risk by driving while over the legal limit. Some get away with it, some get caught and others less lucky get hurt of kill themselves or others.

In NSW recently, police targeted drug and alcohol driving offences as well as general compliance in what they termed Operation Fume. The two-day traffic operation in Sydney’s south-west caught 79 people over the legal alcohol limit. Just over 25,000 breath tests were conducted.

Police also conduced 672 roadside drug tests during the operation, with 38 positive results.

Operation Fume commander, Inspector Gregory Donaldson, said operations such as these were conducted to ensure the safety of all road users.

“Despite motorists being fully aware that NSW Police regularly target alcohol and drug-impaired drivers through these types of operations, it is very disturbing how many people are still caught committing offences of this nature,” said Insp Donaldson in a police media release.

“It’s well-documented that alcohol is one of the major causes of crashes on our roads, yet a concerning number of drivers still choose to drink and drive, putting the lives of other motorists at risk.

“The message is simple: don’t drive if you’ve been drinking,” Insp Donaldson said.


Roadside alcohol testing’s list of shame seems to have no end, as police catch people driving over the limit every day of every week. Credit Kristopher Allison

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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