Drink-drivers will lose their license as Australian police take a 'zero-tolerance policy'
Despite the risks of drink driving being well-known, it is a risk many people continue to take. In the US, 29 people lose their lives every day as a result of drink driving, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
To put that into context, that's one drink driving death every 50 minutes.
This is the statement delivered by transport authorities this morning:
Now, the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has adopted a "zero-tolerance policy" to drink driving, stripping drink drivers of their licenses immediately.
The new policy will come into effect on May 20 and include an on-the-spot suspension and $561 fine, even if the driver is in the low range consumption category and has never been caught driving under the influence before.
Roads Minister Andrew Constance said in a statement today:
"This means anyone caught drink-driving in NSW, at any level, including low-range, can now lose their license immediately."
This change is part of the Road Safety Plan 2021, which was established to reduce the number of drink-related casualties on NSW's roads.
Drivers caught driving under the influence of illegal substances, typically detected with Mobile Drug Testing (MBT), will be subject to similar penalties.
In an interview with Daily Mail Australia, a spokeswoman said that under the current system, on-the-spot suspensions for low range drink drivers do not exist and all drivers caught under the influence have to appear in court before action could be taken:
"High-range drink drivers were given an automatic suspension, while mid-range were at the discretion of police, and low-range weren't at all.
"But now everyone will have their license automatically suspended on the spot.
"They are trying to free up the courts a little bit, in terms of low-range PCAs, by saying everyone will now have their license suspended."
In 2016, 1,795 people lost their lives as a result of drink driving on NSW, according to the NSW Government.