Bendigo police warn footy fans to take care

POLICE are urging motorists to be mindful of the potential for residual alcohol in their systems as a result of football finals celebrations.

The call coincides with the launch of an emotional Transport Accident Commission campaign highlighting the tragic consequences of drink-driving.

The “Bloody Idiot” campaign hit TV screens last weekend and portrays the effect on friends and family of a crash involving drink-driving. 

Despite research showing that Victorians rank drink driving as the most socially unacceptable behaviour, it remains one of the biggest killers on the roads.

About a quarter of all fatal crashes in Victoria involve a driver or rider with an illegal blood alcohol concentration of .05 or more. And almost 80 per cent of drink-drivers killed are male, with the majority aged 21 to 39 years.

Senior Sergeant Paul Gardiner from the Bendigo highway patrol said police across central Victoria would not only focus on behaviour and traffic in and around footy fields, but also celebrations after games at hotels and private homes. 

“What drivers also need to be aware of is any residual alcohol in their system,” he said.

“For instance, two people were detected in the early hours of last Sunday morning driving over the legal limit. Both had been out the previous evening, gone home for a sleep then drove their cars the next morning. 

“They recorded breath alcohol readings of .130 and .099. Drivers need to be aware that it may take many hours – in some cases 12 to 18 hours – for their alcohol readings to reduce below the legal limit.” Senior Sergeant Gardiner said P-plate drivers needed to be extra cautious as they had to have a zero alcohol reading. 

“If you are unsure, get someone else to drive you or take a taxi,” he said.

Tips for staying under .05 include: being mindful individual bottles and cans often contain more than one standard drink; avoid letting other people top up your glass; don’t mix drinks and try alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

If people are taking prescription drugs they should check with their doctor to ensure that it is safe to mix them with alcohol. 

TAC road safety manager Samantha Cockfield said print, online and mobile billboard advertisements would support the new “Bloody Idiot” campaign with messages tailored to get the attention of football fans.She said the TAC and Victoria Police were working together to prevent road trauma.

“We ask Victorian families and friends heading to games in Melbourne or their local footy finals to be mindful of the TAC message,” Ms Cockfield said.

“We know this is an exciting time for local clubs and towns as they prepare for the business end of the season and we ask all of you to plan your trips to and from the local footy ground before you leave home.

“Catch a lift with a designated driver who isn’t drinking alcohol, or if you are going to drive, stay away from alcohol – it’s that simple.”