How Does Australia Discourage Drinking and Driving?

Keeping the roads safe for pedestrians and other drivers should be its own reward, but when it comes to reducing drunk driving, sometimes positive reinforcement can go a long way.

Police in Australia have tested out a program to enter sober drivers into drawings for cash prizes.
Police in Australia have tested out a program to enter sober drivers into drawings for cash prizes.

In a Northern Territory town in Australia, police have been testing a plan to reduce alcohol-impaired driving with a reward program for those who refrain.

The Sober Streets campaign has been trialed in Katherine, a town of approximately 6,000 residents. As part of the campaign, drivers are pulled over at random and given a breath test. Those who pass with a reading of zero are entered into a drawing in which they can win $500 AUD ($347 USD).

The effort appears to be needed in the Northern Territory, where statistics show drivers are 20 times more likely to fail a blood alcohol test than anywhere else in the nation. Jason Newton, a sergeant with the Katherine Police, said the program has been hugely successful, with some drivers intentionally looking for the random stops so that they can have a chance at the money. There has also been talk of developing similar prevention programs throughout the Northern Territory, where approximately half of all driving deaths are linked to alcohol every year.

A tour of the Northern Territory:

  • Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, was named for Charles Darwin before he became famous for his work on evolution.

  • While the Northern Territory covers 20 percent of Australia's landmass, it is home to only about 1 percent of the residents.

  • Since 1970, the Northern Territory has hosted the annual Camel Cup, with a camel race, camel fashion contest, and more.

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Discussion Comments

anon1003502

Stopping people at random, not so much!

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