This paper looks at the notable high incidence of drink driving among patrons attending late night licensed venues on the NSW Central Coast which led to research aimed at determining why this was occurring. This study also examined options to find a solution to the problem, such as considering the transport alternatives that were available in the area and the need to provide suitable education to modify the behaviour of the target group.
The initial research identified a significant lack of late night transport services available. Additional research indicated that although the majority of the patrons had the right attitude towards drink driving, they were often not prepared to follow this through with the desired behaviour due to a lack of other transport options. This led to the development of a late night transport alternative to be known as the Night Owl Bus service.
This project took an integrated approach to the issue working in conjunction with other agencies/projects including the NSW Police, NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and media outlets.
The Night Owl Bus steering committee, comprising State and Local Government representatives as well as participation from local business and the community, was involved in the development of the routes and services.
There was a need to educate the patrons, not only on the dangers associated with drink driving but to also make them aware of the Night Owl Bus service. Enforcement was also enhanced to give maximum exposure in order to change behaviour. The Night Owl Bus service now provides patrons of licensed venues with a genuine alternative to drink driving.