Top End's entrenched 'Jethro & Cletus' drink driving culture shows NT drivers five times more likely to drink drive than Victorians
One in 14 Northern Territory drivers fails a roadside breath test. One in 50 fails the roadside breath test and then also the subsequent full breath analysis, according to official NT breath test statistics for 2013.
One in 263 breath tests in Victoria results in a drink-driving offence. Conclusion?
NT drivers are:
* 5x more likely to drink drive than Victorians
* 4x more likely to drink drive than in NSW
* 3x more likely to drink drive than in Qld
(One in 208 drivers randomly breath tested is over the limit in NSW. The figure for Queensland is one in every 147. Source: here.)
The Northern Territory should hang its head in shame for being the one place in Australia where drink driving is still culturally endemic. Five times more common than Victoria. Four times more common than NSW. Three times more common than Queensland. Nobody in their right mind can argue the toss over this. It's completely unacceptable - even for Jim-Bob and Ellie-May, growing up on Walton Mountain. NT Chief Minister Adam Giles agrees.
To put this another way, the result suggests you're five times more likely to get killed by a drunk driver in the NT than in Victoria. NT roads are more dangerous than many third-world countries. Full report here. Or see which countries here. It's disgraceful.
Cue the banjo, redneck, Top End hillbillies...
"If these people ... are interested in what is happening on our roads, want to be serious, they want to start talking about people who drink, and drive and don't wear seat belts. They are the two things that kill people, not speed. You can go through any statistics between 2001 and today, and you will see [it is] drink-driving and no seat belts that kill people. If you want to see a serious change on our roads get people to stop drink-driving." NT Chief Minister Adam Giles.
Nobody has the right to drink and drive - not even in Australia's wild, wild west (the NT; it's a metaphor, rednecks). Road trauma costs this country - you and me - $27 billion - and innocent lives are destroyed. It's not just drunks killing themselves (that would be, if not brilliant, then at least acceptable).
Local Top End expert says the NT does not share the more populated states' cultural shift away from drink driving.
Peter D'Abbs says while other states have changed the culture on drink driving over the past several decades, the NT has not. Mr D'Abbs claims the 2013 NT RBT results are evidence of the NT's pervasive heavy drinking culture:
"Those figures would suggest that it hasn't taken hold here in the Northern Territory. Almost that nothing happens in the NT without alcohol." Peter D'Abbs, Menzies School of Health Research.
The problem isn't regulation because the NT has some of the toughest alcohol-related legislation in the country: compulsory drink-driving programs for most offenders, plus alcohol permits and strict restrictions in many indigenous areas.
Conclusion? The problem's not 'regulation'; it's the other 'R' word: Redneck.
Jethro & Cletus, the comments section below awaits you. Remember, the pen is not traditionally held in the 'hammer' grip. Just saying. Go nuts...