By MARY MANN P-PLATE drivers get a bad rap when it comes to drink-driving, but more and more middle-aged men and women are getting behind the wheel after drinking too much.

A prime example is a 37-year-old Alstonville woman caught last weekend almost five times over the limit.

Police say it is mainly happening along the coast, and that incidents of high-range drink-driving are up, too.

The steady increase over the past 18 months has disturbed police, who are calling for drivers to 'get their acts together' and think more about the consequences.

"Middle-aged drivers in particular should know better," crime prevention officer Senior Constable Michael Hogan said.

Richmond Local Area Command police arrested 21 people for drink-driving last weekend, many aged over 30.

One of the worst incidents was the 37-year-old Alstonville woman with a reading of 0.24, which is almost five times the legal limit and equivalent to 12 standard drinks.

Snr Const Hogan said the older drink-drivers were setting a bad example for younger generations.

"Whether they just aren't seeing the risk or are becoming complacent, it is not good enough," he said.

"There a lot of ramifications to drink-driving, for example you could lose your licence, get seriously injured, or if you have an accident you could end up in jail."

On last weekend's list of drink-driving arrests were also a 29-year-old Suffolk Park man who was caught with an alcohol reading of 0.16, and a 31-year-old unlicensed Lismore man who was arrested with a reading of 0.15. The man allegedly drove his 1994 Holden in a dangerous manner and as he turned into Taylor Avenue off Rous Road at Goonellabah, the car slid from left to right and he overtook a school bus which had children getting out of it.

Highway patrol supervisor Sergeant Jodie Hamilton said the results were disturbing.

"It is hard to believe, after all the drink-driving advertising, that motorists continue to treat drink-driving laws with complacency," she said.

Police are targeting alcohol and speed-related offences in the ongoing Operation RAID (Reduce Alcohol Impaired Driving).

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