CARRS-Q Professor Mary Sheehan would like the Under the Limit program mandatory.
CARRS-Q Professor Mary Sheehan would like the Under the Limit program mandatory. Erika Fish- QUT Marketing And Communications

Few referred to drink program

A QUEENSLAND professor who launched a statewide, drink-driving prevention program fears the wheels are falling off the project in the Rockhampton region where it began.

The Under The Limit drink-driving program, which is administered through the courts, was co-developed by Emeritus Professor Mary Sheehan from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) at QUT.

Professor Sheehan has expressed surprise after three men faced an extra six months on probation because the Under the Limit program was not offered.

The men had been referred to the program through the Yeppoon Magistrates Court and were placed on 12 months probation.

But they returned this month and each told the court they had paid the program's $750 fee, or the minimum of $520 - but the course was never delivered.

They were given the option of an extra six months' probation to complete it, or to leave without a refund.

In frustration, one man said he worked six days a week and couldn't cope having to attend the program of 11-weekly, 1½ hour sessions, or tell his boss he was on another six months probation.

The other two agreed to be placed on an extra probation.

Prof Sheehan said the issue the program faced was low referrals, with just 98 in the central region even though nearly 3000 met the criteria.

While the program did not run in 2009, Prof Sheehan said it was held once in Yeppoon and twice in Rockhampton in 2011, and started on February 1 this year in Yeppoon.

"I would like to see it mandatory," she said.



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