Harsh penalties work

Each student was aged 17 and they were astounded by the regular Perth news items about drunk-drivers.

They explained: ‘Nobody drinks and drives in Norway.’

We asked why and they both claimed that any driver in Norway who tested positive to a police alcohol-breath test was taken away there and then to an alcoholic rehab farm for 90 days and the vehicle they were driving towed away.

The drivers don’t get to where they were driving and the vehicles, irrespective of ownership, are impounded for those 90 days.

I telephoned Norway’s Canberra Embassy and sought confirmation of the students’ claim. The embassy official spokesman advised me that: ‘The penalties for driving in Norway while under the influence of alcohol are extremely severe.’

I recall media reported figures about Perth police random breath tests showing about 20 drivers of every 1,000 tested, to be drunk.

I also recollect media reports that 25 per cent of WA drivers involved in road deaths are drunk.

The unfunny response to that can be: ‘Well, that proves 75 per cent of road deaths are caused by sober drivers!’

Not quite. It’s the 25 per cent of WA road deaths that are caused by two per cent of drivers – the ones who are drunk.

If we get them off our roads, the WA road death toll should fall by 25 per cent.

Paul Clune, Roleystone