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Drink drivers set to ‘cop a hiding’

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Police figures show drink- driving offences have decreased during the two-year pandemic.Random breath tests are also down, sources say.“We just don’t have the resourcing to do it,” one officer said.Police are expected to stand down from the border when the state reaches 90 per cent double vaccination.It will mean the return of officers from the Rapid Action Patrol and Road Policing Unit to normal duties.“I think people will cop a hiding come early January because police will be off the borders, and road policing will be back. After two years away they’ll smash them,” another source said. In pre-pandemic 2019, there were 3227 motorists slugged for drink-driving offences. In 2020, it was 2120. In 2021 there had been 1545 up to November. Random breath tests (RBT) are still netting drivers and police are expected to be out in force over the new year festivities period. However, police were unable to say how many RBTs had been performed on the Coast during the pandemic, and how that compared to pre-Covid. Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said there were more than 1000 officers on the Gold Coast and the district was able to draw on resources from other areas. “We are unable to provide centrally verified RBT and drink-driving statistics (but in) Queensland’s response to Covid-19 we have seen changes in people’s behaviours due to myriad factors including lockdowns, restrictions, compliance with CHO (chief health officer) directions to name a few. “Throughout the pandemic Gold Coast police have continued to ensure community safety by setting up targeted RBTs and dedicated road safety operations such as Tango Vinyl which have cumulatively seen hundreds of traffic infringement notices issued for offences such as a speeding, drink and drug-driving and hooning. “We have also seen brief periods of police restrictions on large-scale RBT operations in support of Covid-19 safety precautions for our officers. NED-3269 Gold Coast Download Newsletter Banner“I standby the hard work of my police in balancing this important issue against the challenging and changing operational environment experienced throughout Covid-19, including the manning of border check points across the region.” He said police could not be on every corner and urged road users to make every decision count when behind the wheel.“Sixteen lives have been lost (on Coast roads in 2021), an incalculable loss for those loved ones left behind. While that’s seven fewer lives than last year, more must be done to curb this trend,” Supt Wildman said. NED-2822-GCB-APP



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