Henry Carus + Associates | Injury Lawyers


Costly Consequences

A Study of Drink Driving in the Melbourne Metropolitan Area

Costly Consequences

Drivers have a choice: They can get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol, or they can choose a safer alternative. Unfortunately, as our analysis of government crash data from 2012 through November 2016 reveals, too many drivers in Melbourne make the wrong decision.

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Percentage of total crashes each year involving alcohol

Between 2012 and 2015, alcohol use contributed to 1,089 of the 40,186 total crashes reported in Melbourne, or 2.7 percent of the total crashes each year. The alcohol-related crash rate was as high as 3.1 percent in 2012. However, only 2.2 percent of the crashes in 2016 (through November) were alcohol-related – the lowest yearly percentage in our study period.

Distraction Border


Percentage of total traffic deaths each year involving alcohol

Between 2012 and 2015, alcohol contributed to 25 of the 455 total traffic fatalities in Melbourne, or 5.5 percent of the total each year. The highest annual rate was recorded in 2012 (7.8 percent). The lowest rate was 4.3 percent in 2015. In 2016, the rate stood at 5.8 percent through November.

Melbourne Traffic Accident Data

We analyzed traffic accident data from 2012 through November 2016 as provided by VicRoads, the statutory corporation which serves as the road and traffic authority for Victoria. Each number you see on this map represents the number of accidents reported within that cluster during the selected year. As you click on each number, you can see specifically where each reported accident occurred.

How Does Alcohol Impair Drivers?

We cannot prevent all road accidents. Drivers are not flawless. They will continue to make mistakes while operating motor vehicles. However, we can take steps to prevent one specific type of accident: Drink driving.

Education is crucial. Drivers need to know that driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 or higher is an offence that can lead to fines, incarceration and loss of one’s driver’s licence. Yet, even driving with a lower amount of alcohol in one’s system can still be highly dangerous.

The government-sponsored safety initiative, Towards Zero, notes how alcohol increases the risk of a road accident because it impairs a driver’s:

Perception Perception
Vision Vision
Concentration Concentration
Reaction Time Reaction Time
Drowsiness Drowsiness

Hopefully, as more drivers understand the significant safety risks which they pose to themselves and others when they drink and drive, the fewer drink driving accidents we will see on our roads.

Drink Driving Statistics


Our analysis of VicRoads crash data shows an encouraging trend: While the total number of crashes has increased in Melbourne, the number of alcohol-related crashes has actually been on the decline.

  • Between 2012 and 2015, the total number of crashes reported in Melbourne rose by 4.1 percent. Each year, in fact, the number went up slightly from the year before.
  • During that same time period, 2012 to 2015, the number of reported alcohol-related crashes in Melbourne fell by 10.2 percent.

Keep in mind:

When crashes involve alcohol, they tend to be deadlier. Our data indicates that 1.1 percent of non-alcohol-related crashes result in fatalities, while 2.3 percent of alcohol-related accidents result in deaths.

Alternatives to Drink Driving

Understanding the costly consequences of drink driving is not enough. It is important for drivers throughout Melbourne and surrounding suburbs to also know about the many alternatives available to them. We can make better choices, including:

  • Using a Designated Driver

  • Calling a Friend or Family Member

  • Using Public Transport

  • Dialing Up a Ride Service

Please realize that walking home after consuming alcohol is not a safe alternative. The effect of alcohol on your motor control, perception and judgment can make walking while impaired nearly as dangerous as drink driving.