xCelebrateWEBCountry football and netball fans have been reminded that they have a lot to lose as police ramp up drink driving enforcement to coincide with finals fever. With hundreds of thousands of Victorians expected to celebrate local and national football finals this month and next, fans have been reminded to plan a safe way home from any celebrations involving alcohol. TAC road safety manager Liz Waller said anyone considering ignoring that advice should think about the people important to them, with alcohol estimated to be a factor in a quarter of all road deaths.

“Despite the fact that drink driving is now totally socially unacceptable in Victoria, it is still one of the biggest killers on our roads and our research shows that country drivers are more likely to drive while over the limit,” Ms Waller said.

Ms Waller said anyone flouting drink drive laws could expect to be caught, as police prepare for Operation Scoreboard, a drink driving blitz to coincide with footy finals.

“You’re better off being surprised by a roadside breath test than having a police officer surprise your family at home to tell them you’ve been in an accident,” she said.

“We know that Victorians’ social calendars will be particularly busy over the next few months so, if alcohol is going to be involved, it is essential that people plan a safe way home. That should never involve driving.”

The TAC’s Levels campaign will return to the airwaves this month, educating the public about the myths surrounding how many standard drinks people can have while remaining under the legal BAC limit.

“Recently, we’ve seen a high profile case that clearly shows how having just a few drinks can be enough to push you over the limit, even if you feel alright to drive,” Ms Waller said.

“Many factors affect how much a certain amount of alcohol will affect your blood alcohol level, such as tiredness, whether you have eaten and physical size. You can never estimate your BAC so the message has to be: if you drink, don’t drive.”

Ms Waller said driving impairment impacts drivers even with very low BAC levels, increasing their tendency to take risks and reducing their ability to respond to changing road situations.

At a blood-alcohol level of .08, drivers are five times more likely to have a crash than before they started drinking. At 0.12, their crash risk has increased tenfold.