It’s not OK to drive home after a few drinks
LOCAL police are warning motorists not to drink and drive after a “significant” rise in positive random breath tests in the Toodyay townsite area.
“Generally, you can have two standard drinks in the first hour and another in the second hour to stay under the 0.05 per cent legal limit but that depends on your body weight, fitness, gender and whether you have eaten any food,” Sgt Flaherty said.
“Also, the alcohol reading in your body continues to rise for another two hours after your last drink and then falls for a further two hours back to the same level it was when you had your last drink.Read more
“If you drink too much alcohol the previous night and drive to work early next morning, you can still be over the legal limit, which police see quite often.”
Sgt Flaherty said increased drink-driving had prompted police to switch to unmarked cars, including vehicles based elsewhere, for random breath testing.
“Don’t be fooled if you see police vehicles parked at the back of the station and think it’s OK to drive home after a few drinks,” Sgt Flaherty said.
Recent roadside testing included blood alcohol readings higher than 0.08 per cent and 0.15, which is the more serious charge of ‘Driving Under the Influence’ (DUI).
“Anything over 0.08 causes your driver’s licence to be immediately suspended – on the spot – and instant disqualification from driving,” Sgt Flaherty said.
“That means you have to find some other way to get home and organise a friend or a tow truck to move your vehicle.
“You will also have to find some other way to get to court in Northam where a magistrate will decide the length of your suspension and size of fine, depending on the reading.
“For instance, a reading of 0.149 (just under DUI) will result in a heavier penalty than 0.081.
“Also, if you’re tested over the limit after being involved in a car accident – even if it’s not your fault – insurance won’t cover any damage or injuries, which could cost you thousands of dollars.
“Our message is simple – don’t drink and drive.”
Missing man found
A 61-YEAR-OLD missing man was found safe last month after an extensive night-time search involving a police helicopter from Jandakot and 15 officers from Toodyay and surrounding areas.
The man was reported missing from his home on a Sunday after going for a walk at about 11.30am on a large Julimar property.
Police were called mid afternoon after the man’s partner and friends were unable to find him and raised the alarm.
A search was coordinated by Toodyay Sen. Const. Kevan French, assisted by police from Gingin, Wundowie, Northam and York, and the Police Emergency Operations Unit based in Midland.
The search was joined by a police helicopter equipped with a heat-seeking infra-red sensor and powerful searchlight.
The man was located at about 10pm about 400m from his house after he had collapsed.
“He was cold but conscious,” Toodyay police chief Sgt Dave Flaherty said.
“Rescuers wrapped him in blankets and gave him a warm drink and warm food, and he was able to walk back to the house.
“An ambulance then took him to Northam Hospital for tests.”
Cowboy truckies beware
LOCAL police are patrolling all the way to Red Hill in the City of Swan to help keep unroadworthy trucks off Toodyay Road.
“We’ve been working with Main Roads WA vehicle inspectors recently to issue a number of work orders,” Sgt Flaherty said.
“Mostly it’s the smaller operators and we have far more police cars on the road now.
“The aim is to ensure local roads stay safe by stopping unroadworthy trucks before they get to Toodyay.”
The road safety campaign was highlighted in June when a prime mover towing a heavy trailer full of rubbish broke down and blocked Toodyay Road traffic for five hours before being towed away after being issued with a police work order.
Mental health saps resources
DEALING with people affected by mental health illnesses has been adding pressure to local police work.
“It’s a huge drain on our resources,” Sgt Flaherty said.
“Some people can’t help their issues, but mostly it’s illegal drugs use such as cannabis and crystal meth that causes a chemical imbalance in the brain and brings on these issues.
“Every community – including Toodyay – has an undercurrent of drug use, and your local police are always interested in information that can help stop this.
“Please call in and see us or ring Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
“Mental health issues can make people anxious, depressed, paranoid and delusional, many times resulting in threatening or violent behaviour that puts themselves and others at risk.
“Sadly we see and deal with this all the time.
“Police are not trained to be health professionals and we often get called as a last resort to intervene in potentially dangerous situations when earlier intervention can be far more effective and less disruptive.
“It’s fairly common for affected people to hear voices or see things that aren’t there and after a period of time it alters their behaviour in unpredictable ways.
“Many times people don’t realise that they are unwell.
“People we deal with come from all walks of life – all ages, genders and a variety of employed and unemployed people.”
Sgt Flaherty said that as part of his training he participated in an exercise in which the participants wore small earpieces that kept repeating sinister messages while they tried to do everyday tasks such as shopping.
“It was unnerving and helped us to realise what these people are experiencing, which in turn helped us deal with these issues better,” he said.
Sgt Flaherty said that professional mental health help is not readily available in Toodyay, especially after hours.
The last resort was for police to become involved which entailed transporting patients to Midland.
This left fewer resources available locally for normal police work.
Sgt Flaherty said country people needing mental health emergency help should call Rurallink on 1800 552 002 in the first instance, or police general inquiries 131 444.