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Do nothin’: drink-driving

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, November 1st, 2010 - 60 comments
Categories: alcohol, transport - Tags:

The latest drink-drive crash has reignited the debate over the legal blood/alcohol level. It’s clear from John Key’s excuse-making on Breakfast this morning that the Nats have no intention of reducing the limit from 0.8 to 0.5. The argument against a reduction is that most drink-drivers have accidents when they are well over 0.8 but that misses the point.

By the time you’re over 0.5 your judgement and motor skills are already becoming impaired. Crucially,the experts say that this is the point where people start to behave more irresponsibly and drink more. If people know they can drink up to the 0.8 level, they’re more likely to become irresponsible and drink more then drive at a dangerous level of intoxication. Tell people that they are not permitted to drink beyond 0.5 if they want to drive and they will have to confine themselves to a lower level of intoxication that is less likely to end up drinking to a more dangerous level.

Setting the legal blood/alcohol level for driving is not just about putting a line in the sand and saying ‘above this level, driving is too dangerous’ it’s also about reducing the likelihood of drinkers grossly exceeding this limit and then driving.

Last week Whale or the Penguin did a post with a highly selective group of countries that showed the country with the highest permissible blood/alcohol level (25% higher than ours), Sweden, also had the lowest road fatality rate (50% below ours). That’s obviously not the kind of data that either is going to spend the time to assemble themselves, so it came from the Nats, which reinforces the fact that National doesn’t want to lower the rate.

But why does Sweden have such low road fatalities?
– like the other Scandinavian countries, they control their populations’ love of the booze through very high taxation.
– Investment in safer roads. In particular, they make extensive use of wire median barriers, like we have on the Kapiti Coast and a few other places. These barriers make head-on crashes, the most deadly type of crash, virtually impossible. There are actually more accidents because of the barriers but they are far less likely to be serious because vehicles bounce of the barriers rather than crossing the centre line.

If they don’t want to lower the drink-drive level, maybe the Nats should look at what Sweden has done successfully to curtail drink driving and accidents. Sin tax on booze and investment in safer roading technology – can you see the Nats doing that? Nah, me neither. They’re going to do what they always do: nothing.

60 comments on “Do nothin’: drink-driving ”

  1. Alcohol Industry 1, Humanity 0

  2. Bill 2

    Putting this in a slightly different context, if a machine operator drinks, then not only is alcohol consumption looked at, but the broader safety mechanisms of the machine involved. (Safety shields, kill switches, running speeds etc)

    But cars just get more and more bloody dangerous as manufacturers sell us on so-called ‘higher’ performance. The fact that the operators are wrapped up in a ‘safety zone’ of air bags and crush zones ironically adds to the danger.

    I’m not excusing drink driving in any way, but genuinely safer machines ( ie ones that don’t require air bags etc to save lives in a crash) would mitigate some of the damage they inflict.

    I’m sure the market will sort it out, eh?

    edit would deliberately ‘hazardous’ automobiles that required far more awareness on the part of the operator and that didn’t offer them a ‘get out of hospital’ free card via hi-tech crash impact mitigators help matters? Just a thought.

  3. Tigger 3

    Actually they are doing something – they’re protecting their mates in the alcohol industry.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      And specifically Jonkey who has shares in the wine industry through his “blind” trust.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Someone has got to get a handle on how to manage repeat drink drive offenders i.e. take them and keep them off the road; they are the small group who do the most harm. Will lowering limits affect their behaviour? I’d say prob not, go ahead and do that and but much more will be required.

  5. Horse 5

    but they are far less likely to be serious because vehicles bounce of the barriers rather than crossing the centre line

    Unless you’re on a motorbike, in which case you lose limbs or die. We call them “cheesecutters” for a reason. WRB don’t do the job they’re claimed to do (stop head-on crashes) and are lethal to motorcyclists, which is why they’ve been banned in Norway and the Netherlands.

    More info here

  6. zimmer 6

    [sorry you’re currently banned. — r0b]

  7. James Stephenson 7

    I think you’re ignoring the major difference between NZ and Sweden – the actual skill level of the driving population.

    This comes from both the degree of difficulty to obtain a licence and the seriousness with which the Swedes approach their driving. They are one of the only countries that require you to pass a “skid course” and I’d bet their theory test is somewhat harder than our “scratch & win”.

    Lower alcohol and speed limits are addressing the symptoms. We need to address the cause which is that our drivers aren’t skilled enough and don’t take the whole thing seriously enough to make the right decisions.

  8. Carol 8

    I think a lot of the debate around drink driving focuses on our drinking culture, but fails to really critique our “car” culture. It’s cars that add the most lethal element to the mix. It’s a very dangerous technology to have as the basis of the transport system for citizens and other residents.

    Anti-spam CARS – what is this technology a mind-reader?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      $4/L petrol should sort out that car culture pretty quick: the cost-demand curve will do all the work for us.

      Oh yeah, massively increasing licensing costs for all vehicles with engines >2.0L or with turbos/superchargers will also help. (A more European approach)

      • Craig Glen Eden 8.1.1

        Its not cars or the size of the engines that kill people its impaired drivers and poor decision making. Not everyone can live in a city and use public transport so lets stop the argument that public transport is the answer to this social ill. While I am supportive of public transport NZers have to change our attitude to drinking and driving and this Government is doing nothing to address that issue. Alcohol is our problem not cars or Motor bikes or cyclists, Alcohol!

        Just another small point to get a full license these days is way tougher than when I got mine 24 years ago.So lets not make out that its sooo easy for young ones to get in a car and go driving because its not and its expensive to get a license and lots of less well of and lower educated people/workers need to be able to get a license and drive to earn a living.

        Tigger is right in my view the Tories are protecting their money supply again.

        • Carol

          The “car culture” issue is broader than just about having access to public transport. It lies behind the (largely right wing) resistance to public transport in urban areas, but it also lies behind attitudes to driving everywhere. It’s linked to issues of identity, individualism and hypocritical or contradictory attitudes that glamourise ‘boy racers’ at the same time as demonising them.

      • ianmac 8.1.2

        Pity that the Nats cancelled the few cents petrol tax which would maybe have made cars less popular and created a fund for light rail?

        • Lanthanide

          No, they didn’t cancel it. What they did is said that individual regions cannot raise their own fuel tax (up to 10 cents). Instead the government has raised the tax nationally and chooses where to spend the money itself.

          On Oct 1st the price of petrol went up by 7 cents, IIRC 4 cents was from GST and 3 cents was from the increase in the excise tax as I noted above.

          Personally I would like to see petrol costing about $2.20/L at the moment, based on the oil price (then again I spend about $80 on petrol every 3 weeks or so). Adding extra tax to decrease demand will also allow the government to move to counteract the impact from oil price spikes – for example if the price of petrol goes up by 20 cents overnight due to market forces, drop the tax by 10 cents to help cushion the blow.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3

        Properly set up turbo-chargers can improve efficiency this seems to be especially true of diesel engines. The inefficiency comes from having a lead foot.

  9. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 9

    The latest drink-drive crash has reignited the debate over the legal blood/alcohol level.

    Not sure why. The guy in this particular case was twice the legal limit. For it to have been in any way relevant to the question, he would have needed to have been between 0.5 and 0.8.

    • SHG 9.1

      +5 Insightful

      • Zorr 9.1.1

        “By the time you’re over 0.5 your judgement and motor skills are already becoming impaired. Crucially,the experts say that this is the point where people start to behave more irresponsibly and drink more.”

        -100 reading skills

        • SHG

          I dispute that it causes one’s judgement to become impaired. In all the evidence in all the refereed academic publications I’ve seen – and that’s a lot – there isn’t anything to suggest that alcohol itself impairs judgement.

          Alcohol induces feelings of mild euphoria in small doses, impairs coordination and motor control in mild doses, and impairs respiration and other essential physiological processes in large doses. That’s what alcohol does to your body. End of story.

          The way one ACTS while drunk is an entirely learned response. In other words, if you’re a dickhead after using alcohol, it’s because you either think that “being a dickhead” is what you’re supposed to do when pissed, or you think that “being a dickhead” is something you can get away with while pissed. Alcohol qua alcohol does not CAUSE you to be a dickhead.

          If “drinking more and getting behind the wheel of a car” is what you do when you’re pissed, that’s probably because “drinking more and getting behind the wheel of a car” is something that you have learned, at a formative stage, is acceptable behaviour. Addressing that as the issue is something that will require much harder questions about alcohol’s role in NZ society. Reducing it to “this percentage in blood good, that percentage bad” is pointless.

          • Colonial Viper

            Not arguing that any of the points you raise are incorrect per se, but also not sure that the academics have any great practical ideas on things which can be done to make any difference either.

            Alcohol qua alcohol does not CAUSE you to be a dickhead.

            But what if I said alcohol is ASSOCIATED with people being dickheads. Would that now be an agreeable statement?

            I propose it is at least one that everyone has seen in action with their own eyes, multiple times.

            • SHG

              Your statement seems uncontroversial to me – but the problem is a social one rather than a physiological one. If NZers have learned that doing fucking stupid things while drunk is acceptable, then no amount of quibbling about blood-alcohol percentages will fix it.

  10. Lanthanide 10

    Nitpick – the proposal is dropping the rate from the present 0.08 to 0.05, not 0.8 to 0.5.

  11. Frederick 11

    OleOlebiscuitBarrell – you are incorrect, according to my Dominion Post he was actually three times over the limit.

    But your point is well made. Whether the limit was 0.08 to 0.05 would not have made any difference whatsoever to preventing this fatality so why this is being used as a case for lowering the limit is completely beyond me.

    • Craig Glen Eden 11.1

      Read the article / post Frederick.Second Para Line two

      “By the time you’re over 0.5 your judgement and motor skills are already becoming impaired. Crucially,the experts say that this is the point where people start to behave more irresponsibly and drink more”.

      Did you read the article or……………………………?

  12. Setting the legal blood/alcohol level for driving is not just about putting a line in the sand and saying ‘above this level, driving is too dangerous’ it’s also about reducing the likelihood of drinkers grossly exceeding this limit and then driving.

    For that to work, you’d need very minimal penalties for low-level offences. Someone just over the limit might even get a warning (if it was their first offence) and would know in future how many drinks they could safely have (and of course would not be allowed to continue driving that evening). But no, our punitive culture prevails and we take away the licence (and often the livelihood) of anyone caught.

    Obviously if you’ve drunk a lot of booze you’re impaired. But people right on the limit have no empirical way of knowing they’re there. And apparently the breath alcohol level rises over time after your last drink, so when you leave you may be under but by the time you encounter the RBT you’re over. Pretty arbitrary.

    Of course the wowsers will say “well don’t drink anything then”. But why should people who want to do the right thing and have a few drinks with friends but drive home safely be banned from do doing? Others will say “catch a taxi”, conveniently forgetting that this is a luxury well beyond most people and likely to eclipse the cost of the rest of their night out by an exponential amount.

    Which is why I prefer sobriety tests, not abritrary breath alcohol limits. If an initial screen (could still be a breath alcohol test, so we don’t waste the technology) suggests you’ve been drinking, you’re put on a machine that tests reaction times and other driving skills – a simulator, in other words.

  13. Meanwhile an article in the latest Lancet says alcohol is “more dangerous than crack cocaine and heroin” “when considering their wider social effects”.

    But that study concludes:

    …countries should target problem drinkers, not the vast majority of people who indulge in a drink or two. He said governments should consider more education programs and raising the price of alcohol so it wasn’t as widely available.

    So pretty much the Swedish model, which seems eminently sensible (though the problem I have with many alcohol takes is they penalise my bottle of good wine (unlikely to be bought to abuse) as harshly as a six pack of RTDs).

    • B 13.1

      Riiiiiiight. Because of course its only poor losers who buy cheap booze to get drunk. Maybe we could legislate a tax break- to take into consideration the better judgement of those who are morally superior enough to afford ‘good wine’.

      • No, idiots buy cheap booze to get drunk. Poor idiots, rich idiots, white idiots, brown idiots. If I want to get maggoted and spend my night groping people, spewing and possibly bashing passers-by I’m not going to invest in six bottles of Martinborough Pinot at $30 a pop I’m going to buy a six pack of the strongest RTD lolly water I can find.

        Ergo, to reduce binge drinking and the ill effects it produces, any tax should be aimed at those forms of alcohol which are commonly drunk in excess. As was the “alcopops” tax in Australia. And as no less a source than The Lancet recommends.

        Nothing to do with moral superiority. The only people who ought to take offence at my original comment are the inherently stupid.

        Oh look, one has.

        • felix

          “If I want to get maggoted and spend my night groping people, spewing and possibly bashing passers-by I’m not going to invest in six bottles of Martinborough Pinot at $30 a pop I’m going to buy a six pack of the strongest RTD lolly water I can find.”

          That’s a truly weird comment Rex. I’m still parsing it so I’ll keep my mouth shut for now, except to say that the groping, spewing, and bashing aren’t compulsory.

          • RedLogix


            the groping, spewing, and bashing aren’t compulsory.

            The had an old saying in the Navy (and likely elsewhere) that you never really knew what really made a man tick until you was him ‘maggoted’.

            Having read so much from you felix, I’d be willing to guess you’d very fine company to drink with. But not so the guys living next door. Get them pissed and they’re shit magnets….everytime.

            Now you tell me why the difference and between us we’ll have solved the problem. Sincererly.

            • felix

              Practice, practice, practice 😉

              But seriously, one observation I’d make is that if your whole life revolves around drinking/other drugs then you’re far more likely to be a shit-magnet when you drink than someone who has to fit their drinking into an active and rounded lifestyle. The devil makes work and all that.

            • Rex Widerstrom

              I’d hazard a guess and say you don’t drink to get drunk. Some people do, either as an end in itself or to excuse (or so they think) the groping, spewing and bashing. Like RL says, if we knew why we wouldn’t have a problem.

              I’m not sure what Felix finds “weird” about my asserting this… of course I wasn’t implying everyone who buys alcohol (or even everyone who buys RTDs) do so with this as a goal.

              A very good friend of mine will start the night having two drinks to my one and as the night draws on the ratio increases (partly because I slow down but partly because he speeds up). I go out to have a drink with him and other friends, and – much as I resent it – to make sure he gets home safely… though even with me keeping an eye on him he often manages to get into (minor) trouble.

              While he might say he joins us for the pleasure of our company he’s basically joining us as an excuse to get maggoted. He’s not the only person I know who’s like that… I well recall another, whom I told to wait at the top of the steps while I got the car, simply falling forward and being too drunk to even put his hands out.

              Of course these things aren’t compulsory for everyone. But sadly they are for a few – those friends would never agree to my suggestion that we share a nice bottle of wine… they want the budget to buy as much alcohol by volume as possible 🙁

              • felix

                I get the point you’re making (even if I don’t agree with the underlying assumptions) but what do you hope to achieve by making people pay more for this cheap booze?

                I’m guessing you think that people will buy less of it. And some will, but who? Not the friends you’ve just told us about. Nah, you’re talking about punishing the responsible for the sins of the idiot.

                Which is exactly what you’ve been bemoaning elsewhere in the thread re: breath/alcohol limits.

        • Colonial Viper

          Although I know a number of well off alcoholics who think that the best way to get through their 60 standard drinks per week quota is with expensive booze.

          OK, these people aren’t likely to commit violent crime, start a police chase or throw up on the foot path, but their alcoholism is still a very major impact on both them and society around them

  14. SHG 14

    If people know they can drink up to the 0.8 level, they’re more likely to become irresponsible and drink more then drive at a dangerous level of intoxication

    This claim presupposes that people who are drinking know exactly what their blood alcohol levels are at any given time.

    • Vicky32 14.1

      But they know when they are shickered, surely? My father used to drive drunk.. we kids didn’t even realise but my mother did…
      However when the ex did it as well, he was just nasty!
      I have sympathy for my father because he was really a victim of PTSD, and he never (more by luck and harsh enforcement back in those days) harmed anyone. The ex is another matter, he’s just a selfish stupid bar-steward!

  15. RedLogix 15

    All this arguing over a ‘limit’ is a self-deluding nonsense.

    The only way to get a change in behaviour is to insist that ANY amount of alcohol and driving is not acceptable. No if’s or maybe’s….if you are going to drive, you don’t drink. Period.

    If you are stopped and tested, then an increasing regime of fines based on blood alcohol level kicks in, culminating in automatic and permanent loss of license on the third offense.

    If you are caught driving drunk again while disqualified, then it’s a ‘reckless endangerment’ charge with a five year sentence.

    If you maim or kill someone with ANY blood alcohol level over 0.05, then it’s an attempted or actual manslaughter charge with a minimum 10 year non-parole period.

    Introduce these penalties progressively over 5-10 years with a major parallel investment in rehabilitation and treatment.

    Draconian yes. But appeal to reason and persuasion has demonstrably failed.

    • Vicky32 15.1

      I agree! (Although I think not a lot of people will…)

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      And prey tell, why should people be blood alcohol limited only when they are driving? Surely under your proposed regime if they commit violent crime or property damage while under the influence, penalties should be ratcheted up as well?

      And why have such harsh punishments when the Government continues to allow cheap alcohol to be so easily available to all who seek it?

      • RedLogix 15.2.1

        Logically you are right CV, but I believe you have to start somewhere. Change does not arrive all fully formed and perfect overnight.

        Once someone starts drinking, the more they drink the more likely they are to make bad decisions. The correct time for them to make the decision is BEFORE they drink. Drink OR drive….you cannot choose both.

        And why have such harsh punishments when the Government continues to allow cheap alcohol to be so easily available to all who seek it?

        Yes again true. This leads the discussion into the deeper reasons WHY people use drugs. Primarily it’s to antidote chronically painful emotions like fear, anxiety, anger and grief. Because of injustice and inequality most humans suffer lives of ‘quiet desperation’ hoping that they get through without the pain overwhelming them. That directly leads to fundamental moral and political questions.

        But the status quo is not good enough, because ‘vehicular homicides’ like the one at Te Horo are predictably routine. There will another one just as awful within weeks. Pretending it won’t and doing nothing simply condemns more innocents. I know I’m treading perilously close to an ‘ends justifies the means’ line here, but equally, big problems sometime demand determined solutions.

      • SHG 15.2.2

        Surely under your proposed regime if they commit violent crime or property damage while under the influence, penalties should be ratcheted up as well?

        Right now the opposite is the case: if one commits violent crime or property damage while under the influence, the penalties are often reduced. Because the offender wasn’t in control of his actions, or didn’t know what he was doing, or some dumb shit that means nothing. See previous discussion about cultural attitudes to drinking. People commit crimes when drunk because they’ve learned that the penalties are less severe.

    • Substitute “tiredness” for “alcohol” in your second sentence and you’d have an equally valid argument.

      Actually, substitute a lot of things that might have the effect of not making you sit up straight with 100% of your attention on the road at all times and you’d have a point.

      For instance “ANY amount of screaming kids and driving is not acceptable” makes sense too.

      People are capable of acting responsibily and making rational decisions, and have a right to be permitted to do so. Save your draconian nanny statism for those who can’t or won’t.

      • RedLogix 15.3.1


        Are you arguing that just because doing something about ‘vehicular homicide’ that is perfectly extensive and consistent (ie covers all cases) is difficult, that we should do nothing?

        Nah…as with all change you start with the low hanging fruit. Alcohol incapcitated drivers routinely and predictably kill people…time we pulled our collective head out of our collective arse and did something about it. When we’ve shown some signs of fixing that, then maybe we can figure a way of dealing with idiots who carry on driving when they’re about to fall asleep.

        Or for example, we dealt with child slavery first; we got around to eight hour days and four weeks annual leave somewhat later.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Alcohol incapcitated drivers routinely and predictably kill people

          I agree. But the key word is “incapacitated”. You’re conflating “people who have consumed any amount of alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel” with “people incapacitated by alcohol”.

          It’s a pity that police statistics say “X cars were stopped, and Y were found to be over the limit”. What I want to know is “and Z were found to have had consumed some alcohol but not enough to put them over the limit” because I’ve been stopped any number of times and blown less than .05 (which it already is over here).

          I would posit that, while your statement stands up to scrutiny, if you changed it to say “people who have consumed any alcohol at all routinely kill people” the statistics wouldn’t support you.

  16. B 16

    What a load of privileged paternalism. Yeah lets take alcohol away from the poor as well shall we? After all only the rich are truly responsible enough to be trusted with it.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      I agree. While cheap alcohol exacerbates the problem greatly, raising the price has exactly the effect you point to.

      Besides raise the price too much and people just make it for themselves.

      Edit: Reading Rex’s comment above, I’ve changed my mind….he’s right.

      • Thanks RL. I should make clear that I’m all for the draconan approach when someone is caught well over the limit, especially if it’s a second or subsequent offence.

        I’d like to see prison become commonplace, as it is overseas, for instance. And intervention, as you say, to help those who are drinking becasue of some underlying problem to tackle their addiction – contact with the criminal justice system is an ideal time to tip someone over the edge into wanting to do something about their problems.

        • RedLogix


          We’ve crossed comments a little. I agree with your comment here making the distinction between cheap booze for getting muntered on, and alcohol that’s intended and priced for social enjoyment.

          But expecting drunk people to make rational and responsible decisions is bollocks. It’s like telling nicotine addicted people that they can ‘quit’ by just cutting down to one or two packets a day. Doesn’t work, there is no half-way house.

          In order to change behaviour the line has to be drawn at either drink OR drive…never both.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            But I’m not expecting drunk people to make rational decisions RL, I’m expecting sober people to make rational decisions not to get drunk… whilst still enjoying a modicum of alcohol with dinner at a restaurant for instance… something a total prohibition of breath alcohol would ban.

            Then we take the sober people who didn’t make a rational decision and put the rest of us at risk and make their actions have some pretty serious consequences. I’m sure there’s a miniscule handful of people who’ve driven drunk for the very first time and killed or maimed someone but the vast majority are recidivists. A true zero tolerance approach (backed with rehabilitation) would deal with them without penalising those of us capable of acting rationally.

          • SHG

            In order to change behaviour the line has to be drawn at either drink OR drive…never both

            Will never happen. And rightly so, that would be bloody stupid.

            • RedLogix

              So you are content with the status quo then? A steady stream of entirely predictable killings being the price you are happy to pay for your bloody stupid addiction to alcohol?

              I’m expecting sober people to make rational decisions not to get drunk… whilst still enjoying a modicum of alcohol with dinner at a restaurant for instance… something a total prohibition of breath alcohol would ban.

              That’s more or less the deal you’ve had for decades. Hasn’t worked…. idiots use it as an excuse and routinely kill people. The privilege of being able to determine for yourself whether you have drunk too much gets abused. Time to revoke the privilege…tough.

            • Vicky32

              “Will never happen. And rightly so, that would be bloody stupid.”
              I think it should happen! Why do you think it’s bloody stupid?

        • Vicky32

          Years ago, I saw a great example of that same thing working successfully! My friend Carol had a friend I’ll call Ken, who one horrendous weekend went off on a tear, got completely bladdered and hit a fine crime spree.
          Being poor and working class, he ended up being sent to Rotoroa Island, where he got straightened out. Really!
          Granted not everyone sentenced to compulsory treatment is a success story, but Ken was. At the time (early 80s) his life was a disaster. The next time I saw him, 10 years later, he was doing wel, with a wife, children and an alternative lifestyle* that suited him perfectly – and no problems with drugs or alcohol! When I think of what could have become of him, I thank God (as does he) for what seemed at the time to be a complete disaster (his being sentenced to Rotoroa…)
          *Note he did not become a middle class self-satisfied yuppie! 🙂

  17. Herodotus 17

    decreasing the level is only one aspect of the decusion. There as mentioned by others a well thoughtout progressive penality/fine/imprisonment regime, then there is the alignment of penalities with other offenses. As with red Logic (or was that the Act policy 😉 haha had to take a swipe)suggestion that makes somesense of a progressive “3 stikes” type of system.
    Yet are we trying to change behaviour or just make us feel good by ever stronger penalties to those that breach? Then if those in selected employment e.g. police, Mp’s are caught do they get stiffer penalties?
    10 or so years ago the drink drinving was viewed as anti social behaviour and many would in my circles stop mates from D/D. This anti social attitude has reverted back to if caugh bad luck mate scenario, why the change in attitude?
    If there is a law change I would hope that there would be real education and the level of alcohol intake that would be within the 0.05 level conveyed with time periods and food intake. Otherwise we are passing a law to catch the unwitted, as many would not have an understanding of what consumption is within the proposed levels.
    And on a side for me to make it far safer for the ladies to socialise in town and get home, it is daunting enough for a few males to have a night out with safety of nos.

    • 10 or so years ago the drink drinving was viewed as anti social behaviour and many would in my circles stop mates from D/D. This anti social attitude has reverted back to if caugh bad luck mate scenario, why the change in attitude?

      Declining respect for the police due to the exponential rise in their unacceptable behaviour and their incessant harrassment of otherwise law-biding citizens for minor traffic matters. A reaction against the increasing totalitarian streak in politicians and police officers.

      Treat people reasonably and most will behave reasonably… and censure those who don’t. Treat everyone like criminals and we’ll fee like the underdogs and find sympathy for the real criminals. Well done, successive governments.

  18. Frederick 18

    Craig Glen Eden
    Yep read the article word for word.
    My point is that whether the limit was 0.05 or 0.08 it is exceptionally unlikely that this would have made any difference to a driver who caused this accident. With people like him whether the limit be it zero, 0.02 or whatever makes no difference – they will drive absolutely pissed out of their brains.
    Therefore I am perplexed as to why the media are using this as an example for lowering the limit. If he was 0.06 I could see some point but three times over the limit – can’t see the relevance.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      Frankly I’ve seen no initiatives proposed in the media which will make the slightest dent in repeat drink drive offending/driving while disqualified numbers, nor in the numbers of people driving and killing at 0.12, 0.16, 0.24, 0.32 levels of alcohol.

      Passing new legislation is relatively easy, but actually sorting out the above seems beyond everyones ken. Yet that is where the road toll damage is being done and it seems to me that people are actively avoiding confronting that.

      By all means then lower the limit from 0.08 to 0.05, or even 0.04. You’ll save a couple or five lives a year, maybe. But it probably won’t be significant in the statistics because (IMO) the bulk of alcohol related road deaths are not related to any effective dynamics between a law at 0.08 and a law at 0.05.

  19. The guy in the Otaki crash was 3 times the legal limit. Making the limit lower wouldn’t have done a thing. Putting people in jail for longer is part of a wider agenda afoot to make private prisons into a growing and profitable business investment.

    I used to work in prisons. Bottom line? If you want more criminals, build more prisons. They are a University for Crime and a key recruiting environment for gangs.

  20. Peter 20

    There is no mystery that John Key is reluctant to go for 0.5. The National party has a huge rural constituency and rurals favour 0.8. That’s politics. The real mystery is why over nine years Labour with a largely supportive urban constituency did nothing. Harry Duynhoven tried but got nowhere with the Labour cabinet. Before sneering at Key, Labour supporters should reflect on that.

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  • Speech to the New Zealand Medical Association General Practitioners' Conference, Rotorua
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