SHAMEFUL: Random breath testing unit in Lismore, where 124 drivers were charged with drink-driving between November 2012 and October 2013.
SHAMEFUL: Random breath testing unit in Lismore, where 124 drivers were charged with drink-driving between November 2012 and October 2013. The Northern Star

Byron Bay tops the state again for boozy drivers

BYRON Bay has cemented its shameful reputation as the town with the most drink-drivers in NSW according to police statistics released under freedom of information.

For the past 12 years Byron Bay has featured at, or near the top, of drink-driving numbers across NSW, according to NSW Police statistics.

Between November 2012 and October 2013, 284 people at Byron Bay were issued court attendance notices for drink-driving, smashing the closest NSW suburb, Coffs Harbour, with 212 people charged, by 72.

Of other Northern Rivers localities, Lismore was a distant second to Byron Bay with 124 drink-drivers charged, followed by Ballina with 84, Casino with 56, and Lennox Head with 40 drink-drivers charged over the same period.

Across the Northern Rivers, 852 people were charged with drink-driving in the 12 months to October 2013.

The best-behaved towns on the Northern Rivers included Bexhill, Eltham, Federal, Knockrow, Dunoon and Skennars Head, all with only one drink-driving charge.

Statewide, Orange followed Coffs Harbour with 166 charges in the same period, and then came Port Macquarie with 145 and Queanbeyan with 143.

Highway patrol supervisor for Tweed Byron and Richmond police commands, Sergeant Chad George said for more than a decade, the number of people caught drink-driving at Byron Bay had been at the top of figures statewide, but he couldn't nail down the reason why.

He said the figures reflected the number of people, both locals and tourists, charged for drink-driving at Byron.

"It's hard to say why people drink and drive; it may be the culture of Byron Bay, the lack of public transport, or just that people think it will happen to them," he said.

"You risk losing your licence, and fines, as well as risking injuring yourself or someone else.

"People need to think about a Plan B, to get them home safely if they are planning to drink."

Number of people charged with drink-driving from each locality between November 2012 and October 2013:

  • Ballina - 84
  • Brunswick Heads - 20
  • Byron Bay - 284
  • Casino - 56
  • Coraki - 8
  • Evans Head - 12
  • Ewingsdale - 18
  • Goonellabah - 34
  • Kyogle - 18
  • Lennox Head - 40
  • Lismore - 124
  • Mullumbimby - 27
  • Nimbin - 12
  • Woodburn - 7

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