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Newcastle sixth worst LGA in state for drink driving offences

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Newcastle is among the state’s list of LGAs with the highest recorded numbers of motorists caught drink driving.

While Central Coast topped the table with 919, the former steel city registered 402 to claim third spot in regional NSW.

It comes as the NRMA released its Bust the Boozers report, ahead of the festive season.

In greater Sydney, Sydney CBD (579), Blacktown (567), the Northern Beaches (455), Penrith (339) and Canterbury-Bankstown (249) rounded out the top five.

Newcastle, sixth overall in NSW, trailed the Tweed Shire (430) regionally but sat ahead of Byron Shire (389) and Wollongong (377).

It’s an alarming statistic, given the number of drink driving campaigns, which have taken place in recent years.

The NRMA launched an e-petition in November on the NSW Parliamentary website calling for an increase in Random Breath Testing (RBTs).

To date, more than 23,270 signatures have been gathered.

RBTs conducted in NSW remain more than 35% below pre-pandemic levels.  

“There have been 70 more deaths since this time last year, which represents a 27% increase to the road toll,” NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said.

“So, we are again reminding drivers to keep the car at home if you’re attending work Christmas parties and other social gatherings and plan on drinking.

“We want the public to play its part while at the same time re-iterating our call to the NSW Government to significantly increase the number of RBTs across the state. 

“We need a particular focus on regional communities where road fatalities are significantly higher and the temptation to drink and drive can be greater due to a lack of alternative transport options, especially late at night.” 

Bust the Boozers outlines that the Austroads best practice model is for at least 1.1 RBT per licence holder per year.

On this year’s figures, this equates to more than 7.3 million tests across NSW. 

“We know seeing RBTs on the road is the ultimate deterrent to drink driving,” Mr Khoury said.

“The more drivers see them set up on the side of the road-testing drivers the more likely they are to not risk drink driving.

“In Western Australia, where the highest number of tests were conducted per licence holder in 2022, the rate of detection was the lowest of all states and territories.

“In the ACT where the lowest number of tests were conducted per licence holder, one in 42 drivers blew over the limit.”

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