In a move to crack down on the so-called “hip flask defense”, new drink driving laws are being introduced to Parliament this year. Police Minister Michelle Roberts has confirmed the new “what you blow is what you go” laws, saying “Whatever you blow at the booze bus or the police station is what you will be charged with.”
These new laws will eliminate the back calculation process that police currently use to assess a drive-drivers blood-alcohol content. This calculation can mean a lesser penalty, or in some cases, allow offenders to get off entirely.
“There will be no more tricky fiddling with numbers,” Ms Robert said. “Whatever you blow at the booze bus or the police station is what you will be charged with.
“Hopefully this will stop people from playing Russian roulette with the road rules and people’s lives.
“It will close a loophole which has allowed some drink-drivers to manipulate the system and escape conviction or higher penalties.
“It removes the outdated practice of retrospective calculation of blood-alcohol levels and brings WA into line with the rest of Australia.”
WA is the only State that still uses a back calculation method to determine a person’s blood-alcohol level at the time of being stopped by police.
It was coined the hip- flask defence because in the old days it was not uncommon for a person to carry a hip flask with alcohol in their car — to argue that they had taken a swig of alcohol to calm their nerves prior to being breathalysed.
Under the change, the roadside reading will be the one used at their court appearance.
“The safest thing to do if you’re drinking, is to make other plans to get home,” Ms Roberts said.
“It’s a sad reflection on the former government that they failed to abolish this outdated practice, despite the evidence and recommendation to do so.
“I would hope there would be no serious opposition to this in the Parliament when it is introduced early next year.”