Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca police Inspector backs 0.05 reduction

Echuca police Inspector Paul Margetts has backed calls to drop the blood alcohol limit to 0.02.

TRENT HORNEMAN July 14, 2014 3:31am

Echuca police Inspector Paul Margetts.

Echuca police Inspector Paul Margetts has backed a Victoria Police discussion to have the blood alcohol limit dropped to 0.02.

Senior Victoria Police officers met in Melbourne on Wednesday and discussed the potential to lower the legal blood alcohol limit.

Insp. Margetts said it was about time the community had the discussion about drink driving.

‘‘I definitely support the concept, there is a clear benefit in terms of road safety and the impact alcohol has on your reaction and response times,’’ he said.

Insp. Margetts said the discussion was a natural progression.

‘‘We are now in the second generation of 0.05 and 0.02 for P platers,’’ he said.

Insp. Margetts said he would even support a zero blood alcohol policy for all drivers.

‘‘If you are working, most workplaces have a zero alcohol policy,’’ he said.

‘‘If you work in a mine or drive a truck you must be 0.00.

‘‘I certainly wouldn’t have a beer with my fish and chips on a Friday night before I went out on patrol.

‘‘Places like gun clubs have a strict zero alcohol policy when competing.’’

Insp. Margetts said community tolerance towards drink-driving was changing.

‘‘You only have to look at the penalties for drink drivers,’’ he said.

‘‘If you are caught multiple times, then jail is almost a mandatory position.’’

Insp. Margetts said while some people made mistakes, he was particularly disappointed with the rate of repeat drink drivers.

‘‘I don’t have stats on hand, but I would say that it happens more often than I would like,’’ he said.

‘‘If you are alcohol-affected while operating machinery and injure or kill someone at work, then the employee and the employer face some massive penalties.

‘‘It needs to be the same for our roads.’’

Echuca Regional Health acting emergency department nurse unit manager Jade Jones said she ‘‘absolutely agreed’’ that it was a good idea to lower the blood alcohol limit.

‘‘When (patients) come into the emergency department, their reading is generally a lot higher than 0.05,’’ she said.

While some car accident victims were transferred directly to Melbourne for treatment, she said it remained important to ensure the safety of medical staff when dealing with alcohol-related incidents.

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