Police are catching more drink drivers in country Queensland.
Police are catching more drink drivers in country Queensland.

Country drivers more likely to blow over .05

SOCIAL isolation and poor public transport infrastructure is resulting in police catching more drink-drivers in country Queensland.

This is the conclusion Dr Kerry Armstrong came to after analysing random breath-test apprehension data across the state for the past 12 years.

Dr Armstrong, from the Queensland University of Technology's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, said only about 5% of all Queenslanders lived in Far North Queensland, from Cairns to Cape York, and in the Central region, including Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Emerald.

"But they're making up 10% of all drink-driving apprehensions, so they are overrepresented when you're looking based on population," she said.

Her team observed the lowest proportions in two Brisbane metropolitan regions.

Dr Armstrong said WA literature from 1995 showed only 30% of people in rural areas could separate drinking from driving.

She said this compared to 45% of people in urban areas - such as Brisbane and the Sunshine and Gold Coasts - being able to separate the two. Dr Armstrong, who grew up in Rockhampton, said other studies had shown people in rural areas believed the risks they experienced from isolation outweighed the drink-driving risks in their minds.

She said many had engaged in drink-driving previously and not had a problem so they have a "she'll be right" attitude instead of understanding the impairment.

Dr Armstrong said alcohol remained a factor in about 20% of all fatal car crashes.

She said apart from the safety issue, licence loss could affect employment - especially those on mine sites who drove vehicles daily - and further isolate people socially.

Dr Armstrong told APN that communities needed to find ways to support people getting home safely after a drink.