RBTs ... coming up to the one million mark for tests.

RBTs ... coming up to the one million mark for tests. Photo: Sylvia Liber

More than 30 years ago NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay was dead against the introduction of random breath testing.

Now he admits he probably would be dead if he had continued to drink and drive.

Mr Gay on Tuesday told reporters the silly season had begun and police have set the ambitious task of conducting more than 1 million random breath tests this summer.

Duncan Gay ... admits to drink driving history.

Duncan Gay ... supporting random breath testing. Photo: Steven Siewert

"In 1982 I was one of those guys more interested in going to rugby training for a couple of hours, then going round the bar for a couple more hours afterwards," he said.

"There was a feeling in the community that if you had a couple of drinks you would drive better. We were stupid, absolutely stupid.

"If it wasn't for the RBT a lot of my friends and perhaps even myself wouldn't be here today," he said.

Police Minister Michael Gallacher was a serving police officer when the RBT was first introduced and clearly remembers the backlash from clubs, pubs and drinkers.

"There was a furore, it was seen as an attack on working class men; local clubs banned those MPs that supported it," he said.

But Mr Gallacher said RBT was a success that had saved an estimated 7000 lives in NSW.

"There were so many myths at the time, people believed you could use garlic, use breath mints, lozenges, people thought they could mask it," he said. "People thought they could beat them [RBTs] back in the '80s, but despite its simplicity they were incapable of being beaten. And of course the technology has only improved."

Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said road fatalities had dramatically dropped from 1253 in 1982 to 364 last year.

"You can't argue with the stats, less people are being killed on the roads due to alcohol," he said.

Mr Murdoch said that in the 1980s one in two road fatalities were alcohol related; now the figure is one in five. But he is disappointed drivers continued to ignore the message.

"If you drink you don't drive. While some boofheads clearly try that, the message is very clear. We will reduce the road toll even more, that's our goal.

"Sadly some people won't see Christmas, we're trying to reduce that," he said.

Last year NSW police conducted 4.5 million random breath tests and over the coming months police will conduction 1 million tests alone that will also include random drug testing.

"We are serious about preventing road-related deaths," he said.

To mark the 30th anniversary of RBTs being introduced the police highway patrol unit have named this summer's campaign Operation Paciullo, to honour former MP George Paciullo who passed away last month and was the driving force behind Parliament approving their introduction three decades ago.