Drunk driver’s ‘insane’ reading amid road toll concern


ASTONISHED police officers couldn't believe what they were seeing when a Melbourne driver was caught driving while six times over the legal limit.

Victoria Police say the Burwood woman, 48, was stopped in Blackburn last night when Nunawading Highway Patrol members were conducting breath tests at a site on Chapel Street.

She returned an evidentiary breath test reading of .313 per cent - putting her six times over legal blood alcohol limit.

The woman agreed she was an "idiot" and her license was immediately suspended for 12 months and her vehicle impounded.

Her reading was labelled as "insane" by Victoria Police Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton today.

"I don't know how much alcohol you'd have to consume to get to that level but to think that you would get into a car, that is so irresponsible," Mr Patton said on 3AW.

"That's an insane reading isn't it, really."

Mr Patton urged drivers to take care on the roads because the holiday period was one of the riskiest for drivers.

The reading comes as the death toll on Australia's roads over the Christmas period climbs to shocking levels.

In Victoria, the state's road toll stands at 254 for 2017 after six people were killed from December 24 to 27. Since December 15, 12 people have lost their lives on Victorian roads.

However, New South Wales has the worst figure in Australia - with 388 fatalities on its roads in 2017 to the period ending December 27.

Queensland's toll remains at 242 people for the year.

Western Australia has recorded 153 deaths on its roads this year, Northern Territory, 30 and South Australia, 98. In Tasmania, there have been 24 deaths on the roads this year so far.

A Victoria Police spokesman said the impound of the woman's car formed part of Operation Roadwise, a statewide campaign aimed at reducing road trauma and improving road user behaviour.

It will run throughout the high-risk summer period until January 7.

"During this time there will be an increased focus by police on the main causes of fatalities and serious injuries which include: excessive speed, driver distraction, seatbelt noncompliance, fatigue and drink and drug drivers," he said.

"The operation involves a response from all available personnel including; local road policing units, general duties, other operational policing units and centralised resources from Road Policing Command."

NSW and Victoria Police have also issued a joint warning today, telling motorists to take care on country roads.

So far this year, 150 people have lost their lives on Victorian country roads, compared to 104 in metropolitan Melbourne while in NSW, 285 people have died on regional roads compared with 103 in metropolitan areas.

Superintendent John Fitzpatrick, of Victoria's Road Policing Command, said drivers must realise there are risks when driving on country roads and acknowledge they have a role to play in making sure they get to their destinations safety.

"Speed, concentration, preparedness and tiredness should all be considerations when taking to our country roads," Superintendent Fitzpatrick said in a statement.

"Long stretches of road, comfortable cars and cruise control can lead to complacency; motorists and riders must not only be mindful of their actions on the road but aware and ready to react in response to other road users' mistakes."

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