Facts

Drink driving is a factor in about one in every five crashes in NSW where someone loses their life. Of the drink drivers who are killed, 97 per cent are men and 64 per cent are under the age of 40.

You don’t have to be drunk to be affected by alcohol. You might feel normal but no one drives well after drinking alcohol.

Novice drivers with any level of alcohol in their blood are at a much higher risk of crashing. This is why Learner and Provisional licence holders are restricted to a zero alcohol limit.

Getting back to zero (sobering up), takes a long time. No amount of coffee, food, physical activity or sleep will speed up the process. There is no formula for this process as it relies on many physical factors.

In NSW, Police have the power to:

  • Stop drivers at random to test for alcohol
  • Arrest drivers who have an illegal BAC level
  • Arrest drivers they believe are impaired by drugs including alcohol, and conduct a blood and urine test
  • Require a driver to undergo a sobriety test in certain circumstances

Since the introduction of Random Breath Test (RBT) in 1982, fatal crashes involving alcohol have dropped from around 40 per cent of all fatalities to the current level of 19 per cent.

Last year police conducted more than 4.5 million breath tests in NSW.

Speeding is the biggest killer on NSW roads with speed being a factor in about 40% of all fatalities. Each year around 700,000 speeding offences are recorded across NSW.

Speed related crashes in NSW are predominantly a male problem. Of all drivers involved in fatal speed-related crashes:

  • 82% were male
  • 40% were males under 30
  • 26% were males aged 30-49

Speeding increases your chance of having a crash, as well as increasing the risk of serious injury or death if you do crash.

For pedestrians, the risks are even greater. A person hit by a car travelling at 40km/h has a 25% chance of being killed. Increase the speed to 60km/h and the crash becomes barely survivable, with the pedestrian having an 85% chance of being killed.

Driver fatigue is a major contributor to the road toll (after speeding and drink driving). Fatigue accounts for around 15% of all road deaths in NSW. Driver fatigue is particularly dangerous as it affects everyone, no matter how experienced a driver you are.

Research has shown fatigue can be as dangerous as speeding or drink driving. For example, getting behind the wheel after 17 hours without sleep has the same effect on a person’s driving as having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.05%^.

Seat belts save lives. Since the introduction of seatbelts in NSW in 1971 there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of motor vehicle occupants killed and injured each year.

The non-use of seatbelts remains one of the four behavioural factors associated with road trauma and the non-use of seatbelts is also a major cause of injury and death amongst Aboriginal people in NSW.*

Driving whilst using a mobile phone can cause both physical and cognitive distraction and it doesn’t matter whether it is hand held or ‘hands free’.

Specifically, using a mobile phone whilst driving can:

  • Increase your reaction time by between 20 and 60%
  • Significantly impair a driver’s visual search patterns, ability to maintain speed and position on the road and ability to be aware of other traffic and to judge safe gaps

Mobile phones demand some of the concentration needed for driving. When two things require equal concentration; one will suffer. When the two things are driving and talking on a mobile phone, its inevitably the driving that suffers.

Run off the road and rear end crashes are the most common types of crashes associated with mobile phone use.