A LOCAL magistrate says he is sick of having to deal with drink drivers, who don’t seem to get the message that their actions are putting lives at risk.
“Having a driver’s licence is a privilege, not a right. Don’t risk it – and don’t risk your own and other people’s lives,” Magistrate Shane McAnulty said.
“There is a culture that seems to have accepted that it is okay to have a few drinks and get in the car and drive home.
“It is not okay – that culture has to stop; it is a huge problem, and it is putting lives at risk.”
Mr McAnulty said while he understood people like to have a couple of beers to relax, he condemned those who would get behind the wheel with alcohol in their blood.
“Nobody seems to think of the consequences,” he said.
“You have a night out with mates and a few drinks and on the way home you clean up a person.
“People don’t think it’s something that would ever happen to them – until it’s too late.”
If in doubt, walk home
Mr McAnulty said the lack of public transport would encourage people to drink and drive.
"If you can't get a cab, walk - you're not walking to the end of the Earth; you can walk around the town in 30 minutes."
The magistrate said there were also courtesy buses available to and from most pubs, in a bid to keep patrons - and other road users - safe.
More education needed
Mr McAnulty said the especially young people would not understand the consequences drink driving could have - including seriously injuring or even killing themselves, their mates or innocent strangers.
"Young people don't seem to see the bigger picture: the pain they can cause with their actions, but also the fact that they can be sent to jail for a long time," he said.
"They don't consider that someone will have to tell a family that their young child has been killed.
"Our kids never expect things to go wrong - but they really need to see the reality of their actions."
The magistrate - said the successful traffic offenders program - which offenders get referred to by courts - should be run in schools in a bid to educate the younger generation before they get their licence.
"Unfortunately, the powers that be believe there is not enough money in the budget to bring the program to schools," he said.
Be a good mate
Mr McAnulty said while he was not trying to be "the fun police", he urged everyone to enjoy themselves responsibly and look out for each other.
"In small communities reality hits home when a mate gets injured or killed in a crash," he said.
"When you're out at the pub and see a mate have a few drinks before getting in the car - take responsibility and pull him up. If you're sober, give him a lift home. Or get him a cab.
"Don't let your mates drive when they've had a few drinks."