Opinion: WA’s drink driving culture doesn’t pass the pub test

The push to make WA’s roads safer and reduce fatalities is an ongoing issue for the authorities, with the safety message set to ramp up as we approach the Christmas period.

Working in the media, you can almost become immune to crashes and deaths on our roads, with the reports of yet-another tragedy coming through on an almost daily basis.

While there are countless factors that contribute to deaths on our roads, driving while under the influence of alcohol is one that is entirely avoidable.

The pertinence of this issue is shown in data collated by the Mandurah Mail – 64 people appeared at our magistrates court facing driving charges in September alone.

Having lived in both the UK and Australia during my adult life, my view is that it is more “socially acceptable” to have a drink and then drive here than back in my Northern Irish homeland.

I was reminded of this when my parents visited Mandurah recently, as they screwed up their faces after I ordered a beer with dinner on an evening out – despite being the designated driver.

I was doing nothing illegal, but to them it didn’t pass the pub test – pardon the pun.

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While the legal limit is set at 0.05% blood alcohol concentration for full licence holders in Australia, should this be zero? Would changing the culture reduce fatalities?

It is socially acceptable to have one drink and still drive – but how many of those 64 people at Mandurah Magistrates Court went to a pub or restaurant with that mentality, only to later find themselves apprehended over the limit?

One drink can lead to a person pushing their luck and regretting it later.

While the chances of being involved in an accident on the road are slim, they are undoubtedly increased when alcohol is added.

There are so many contributing factors that impact your blood alcohol concentration, with one standard drink having a different influence on a person one day to the next.

I don’t want to preach and I like a drink the same as anyone else, but ahead of a busy social calendar around the festive season, sticking to water as the designated driver seems appropriate – it just isn’t worth the risk.

Gareth McKnight is editor of the Mandurah Mail.