End drink-driving shame

ENOUGH is enough!

For seven long years we have watched the Northern Rivers region repeatedly shamed as the area with the most drink-drivers in NSW.

As a percentage of our population, the drink-driving rate in the Richmond-Tweed region is more than double the NSW average, with 2007 figures showing more than 860 people in every 100,000 on the Northern Rivers were caught drink-driving, compared with only 377 for the State.

Byron is the epicentre of this tragedy. That shire accounted for 478 drink-driving arrests, a figure that translates to a statistic of 1547 people per 100,000 head of population.

However, across the region, only Kyogle manages to slip under the State average, and then only just. Lismore, the Richmond Valley and Tweed Shire all have drink-driving rates approaching double the state average, and Ballina remains well above it.

While the Richmond Local Area Command has fared somewhat better - 730 people were charged with drink-driving in our area last year, compared with 1066 in the Tweed/Byron region - it is time for some drastic action.

The Northern Star and Tweed Daily News believe it is time the community rose up to end these damning statistics and the dangerous behaviour they reflect. The newspapers are joining forces to help stamp out the problem and make sure the region does not get the appalling title again.

We will be naming and shaming.

We will continue to run stories highlighting the dangers of drink-driving and the effect it can have on people's lives, and we will print the full name of every drink-driver to be convicted through our courts.

And we will keep running the names of those drink-drivers in the hope that the shame it brings will prevent others from doing the same.

Richmond Local Area commander, Superintendent Bruce Lyons, speaking as someone who has witnessed the horror of road fatalities, fully supported the newspapers' efforts to improve road safety.

“When we get behind the wheel of a car, we are in charge of a lethal weapon and we need to respect that,” he said.

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