Hoons and road rage top the list
TOWNSVILLE residents are continuing to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
An alarming 10 per cent of respondents to a Townsville Bulletin readers survey admitted to driving when they knew they had consumed too much alcohol.
Hooning and road rage incidents were the other road issues most concerning to almost 1100 respondents to the annual December survey.
Northern Region Traffic Coo r d i n a t o r I n s p e c t o r B r i a n Richardson said police had no delusions about the drink driving issue.
‘‘We are not naive, we know there are those who, due to lifestyle habits or whatever, will consistently go to the pub and have a few drinks, then get behind the wheel,’’ Insp Richardson said.
But he warned it was only a matter of time before drink drivers were caught.
‘‘We are fairly random where we set up and with the amount of RBTs we have been conducting, it is only a matter of time.’’
A huge 66 per cent of 1085 respondents said they had witnessed a hooning incident in Townsville.
However only 20 per cent of those reported it to police.
Insp Richardson said hooning was an ongoing problem in Townsville, particularly around The Strand, and outer suburbs including Kirwan, Annandale and the Upper Ross.
He urged residents to report hooning offences as they occurred.
‘‘People might think we are too busy and won’t investigate, but take that registration number down. We will put it on our file, it may be used for further intelligence if these people are repeat offenders.’’
Insp Richardson said police officers must catch the hoons in the act to charge them under anti-hooning laws, which was no easy task.
And 34 per cent of respondents said they had been involved in a road rage incident.
While Insp Richardson admitted road rage was a problem countrywide, he said it was rare for a road rage incident to escalate into a physical altercation in Townsville.
‘‘It is usually spur of the moment with a bit of verbal abuse or fist waving, when drivers get a bit hot under the collar for a short moment.
‘‘Usually it comes back to the fact someone has done the wrong thing and nearly caused a collision.
‘‘Particularly on multi-lane roads or coming off roundabouts, where people may not indicate or cut others off.
‘‘With the increase in traffic on the roads it will result in more instances of road rage.
‘‘A lot of the time a driver will have good reason to be upset, but they should take a deep breath, calm down and put it down to experience.’’
In September, Premier Peter Beattie said he would look at establishing a road-rage hotline if reelected.
Police Minister Judy Spence said the Government was also considering setting up a hoon hotline.