South Australian police caught 608 drug drivers and 131 drunk drivers last year for their third or more offence in five years. Now Parliament has passed a law that forces all repeat drink or drug drivers to go straight to rehab.
The purpose of compulsory rehab is to permanently change driver behaviour so they stop reoffending. In the past, repeat offenders sat a drug dependency course and, if they failed, went into rehab. This will no longer apply.
For example, Australian research shows 20-30% of drink drivers reoffend. They also respond less than the general population to drink driving measures. Fortunately, evidence shows rehabilitation programs can improve drink driver attitudes and reduce reoffending:
- Sober Driver Program in NSW found drivers who took part were 44% less likely to reoffend compared with a control group
- Under the Limit program in Qld found lifestyle behaviour did not change much but they were much less likely to report drink driving.
Driving under the Influence (alcohol or drugs)
In SA, the first DUI offence carries a fine of $1100 to $1600, mandatory licence loss for at least 12 months and 6 demerit points.
A further DUI offence carries a fine of $1900 to $2900 or imprisonment for 6 months or less, and loss of licence for at least three years and 6 demerit points.
Note: these already heavy penalties can increase at any time.