0.08 to 0.05 to 0.02?

December 6th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

MacDoctor highlights this HoS story:

The Australian Transport Council this week released a discussion document calling for the national alcohol limit to be reduced to 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Some states, such as Victoria, already have a limit of 50mg, which is 30mg lower than New Zealand’s 80mg.

The council called for a “major shift in thinking by governments and the community”. It said in Sweden there was a 10 per cent reduction in drink-driving fatalities when the limit was cut from 50mg to 20mg.

At 20 mg, a woman who had a single glass of wine probably become a criminal if she drove afterwards. A male who had 2 beers over two hours would also probably be a criminal.

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28 Responses to “0.08 to 0.05 to 0.02?”

  1. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    At this level, many other things are more important factors in driver safety. Include a hand-eye coordination and IQ test with driver licensing and ban all those who score less than 100 from driving.

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  2. Manolo (13,586 comments) says:

    “..there was a 10 per cent reduction in drink-driving fatalities when the limit was cut from 50mg to 20mg.”

    The wowsers and do-gooders trying to save us from ourselves, again. Will the authoritarian Joyce listen to this crap?

    Why not a 100% reduction by cutting the limit to 0mg? Ban petrol too to avoid the road toll.

    By the way, it was announced the father of the Alcohol Reform Commission, the elitist and useless Geoffrey Palmer is soon to retire from the presidency of the Law Society.

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  3. redeye (629 comments) says:

    Road Toll per capita

    – Australia 6.8
    – New Zealand 8.6

    Give me the Australian way any day.

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  4. Mr Nobody NZ (390 comments) says:

    Manolo, I don’t care what you or anybody else choose to do to themselves. If you drink and then decide to get behind the wheel and kill yourself then fine.

    However, if you drink and drive and then kill/injury one of my family or injury yourself and expect the tax payer to support you for the rest of your life then I have an issue.

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  5. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Road Toll per capita

    – Australia 6.8
    – New Zealand 8.6

    Give me the Australian way any day.

    I think you would find the significant factor in those figures would be the quality of roading and driving conditions.

    We accept a number of deaths each year due to poorly designed, and poorly maintained roads. This is the primary area of attention to save lives.

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  6. big bruv (13,727 comments) says:

    “Why not a 100% reduction by cutting the limit to 0mg”

    That is a great idea Manolo, why do Kiwis think it is their birthright to drive pissed or under the influence?

    Simple, if you are going to drink then get a cab home.

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  7. John Q Public (14 comments) says:

    “…in Sweden there was a 10 per cent reduction in drink-driving fatalities when the limit was cut from 50mg to 20mg.”

    But they dropped the limit 60%. Disappointing result. Maybe should’ve left well alone.

    When will drink driving policing be about impairment to drive, rather than arbitrary limits? Will that be the same day WOF stickers are made larger than rego stickers? Because it’s all about road safety isn’t it.

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  8. redeye (629 comments) says:

    “I think you would find the significant factor in those figures would be the quality of roading and driving conditions.”

    The optimum phrase here being “I think”.

    I’d suggest the significant factor here is attitude. As Bruv suggests.

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  9. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    “Why not a 100% reduction by cutting the limit to 0mg”

    That is a great idea Manolo, why do Kiwis think it is their birthright to drive pissed or under the influence?

    Simple, if you are going to drink then get a cab home.

    Why is the speed limit 100km and not 80km Big Bruv?

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  10. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    “I think you would find the significant factor in those figures would be the quality of roading and driving conditions.”

    The optimum phrase here being “I think”.

    I’d suggest the significant factor here is attitude. As Bruv suggests.

    There is a simple test to that redeye. If it is down to driver attitude then the location of crashes and fatalities will be evenly distributed around the roading network, if it is due to the design and maintanence of roading then they will be concentrated at the defficient locations.

    What is the accident and fatality rate per km driven on SH1 between Johnsonville and Porirua and between Paremata and Paekakariki?

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  11. redeye (629 comments) says:

    “When will drink driving policing be about impairment to drive”

    John expects the Police to be carrying, and experts in, portable Reflex, IQ, and Motor Skills tests.

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  12. quirky_username (22 comments) says:

    Even if you cut the limit to 0mg, that would not result in a 100% reduction. 100% reduction would rely on people actually abiding by the law.
    Those charged with EBA are rarely fractionally over, they are usually well over. For those who are actually the ones causing the problems, I doubt the limit is a factor in their decision to drive.
    The same applies to taking someones drivers licence off them. For this to assist in road safety it too relies of people actually abiding by the law. You do not physically require a drivers licence to drive.

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  13. RRM (9,836 comments) says:

    Good move.

    You don’t need to have a drink and then drive home afterwards. You only want to do this.

    People who have a problem with “draconian” laws aimed at curbing (slightly) their boozy good times in order to (slightly) reduce the net amount of human pain and suffering ought to take a good look at themselves. But you won’t, because it’s all about you and your freedom.

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  14. redeye (629 comments) says:

    Socio economic factors not considered in your analysis either I see Herman.

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  15. MT_Tinman (3,136 comments) says:

    # big bruv (7,662) Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    “Why not a 100% reduction by cutting the limit to 0mg”

    That is a great idea Manolo, why do Kiwis think it is their birthright to drive pissed or under the influence?

    Simple, if you are going to drink then get a cab home.

    For obvious reasons I’m all for that idea – except I’m not.

    Getting a cab home after one beer with the mates after work/sport/whatever sounds great for townies but not everyone lives in bloody towns.

    Leave the limit alone, prosecute bad driving and make bad driving while under the influence of drink, drugs or the gods an aggravated offense.

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  16. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Good move.

    You don’t need to have a drink and then drive home afterwards. You only want to do this.

    People who have a problem with “draconian” laws aimed at curbing (slightly) their boozy good times in order to reduce human pain and suffering ought to take a good look at themselves. But you won’t, because it’s all about you and your freedom.

    If I am at home and have a beer with lunch, how long should I wait until driving anywhere? 2 hrs?, 4hrs?, 6 hrs?

    If I have a bottle of wine or two over dinner, what time on Sunday should I be able to drive again? 9am? 12pm? 3pm?

    If I am in the bottle store buying a bottle of wine for later, am I able to try a taster?

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  17. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Socio economic factors not considered in your analysis either I see Herman.

    wtf?

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  18. Chthoniid (2,044 comments) says:

    it said in Sweden there was a 10 per cent reduction in drink-driving fatalities when the limit was cut from 50mg to 20mg.

    The main reason I get skeptical about these claims is they never mention what else happened at the same time. Often when regulations change on drink driving, there’s an accompanying crackdown (increase in enforcement effort and sanctions).

    It also tells us nothing about the trends before the the policy change etc.

    Or factors like road improvements to dangerous stretches of highways

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  19. Nigel (512 comments) says:

    Let me guess, treating all drivers like criminals & not targeting repeat offenders has seen the Aussie road toll bottom & come back up just like NZ.
    At some point you’ve got to wonder if these idiots in their ivory towers actually care about the road toll or their own jobs, because if it’s the road toll how about using traffic cops to reduce accidents rather than mindless revenue gathering, some serious attacks on drunk drivers, including penalising the owner if they are in the vehicle with a drunk driver, working with pubs/clubs to promote safe drinking & generally actually treating people with respect instead of all drivers like criminals.

    P.S. Well said MT_Tinman
    P.P.S. I wonder if Hos Is actually a NZ newspaper some days.

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  20. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    You’re right Nigel,

    I had a staff member who was caught driving drunk over half a dozen times in nine months, and by drunk I mean abusing the police and spending the night in a cell. The fact he was caught and released by some system or person who probably doesn’t live in the same neighborhood and is willing to risk other peoples lives by letting him go really gets me pissed. Losing his license and car did not stop him, the only thing that did was incarceration. Buy delaying incarceration for these people all they are doing is risking other peoples lives and delaying his eventual release and hopefully rehabiliation.

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  21. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    From the actual report:

    http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/national_road_safety_strategy/files/Draft_National_Road_Safety_Strategy.pdf

    Lower BAC limits
    Some studies that have evaluated the effects of Sweden’s reduction in legal BAC from 0.05 to 0.02 have found that there was a 10 per cent reduction in fatal crashes related to drink driving after the change.
    A prescribed zero limit has the advantage of not relying on drivers’ perceptions of how much alcohol they can consume to stay under a legal limit.

    When the Australian Capital Territory reduced the legal BAC limit from 0.08 to 0.05, random breath testing (RBT) showed a 34 per cent reduction in the number of drivers with a BAC between 0.15 and 0.20, and a 58 per cent reduction in the number with a BAC above 0.20

    Reducing the legal BAC limit from 0.05 to zero (or 0.02) for young drivers up to the age of 26 would prevent a significant number of deaths and serious injuries per year across Australia. It has been suggested that this would have a similar benefit as raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years without the same level of impact on the community.

    Extending the application of zero (or 0.02) BAC limits to all drivers, or at least to all young drivers (who are inherently at higher risk), has the potential to reduce the incidence of alcohol-related crashes. The evidence for such action will be examined in greater detail,
    including the benefit of removing ambiguity and sending a strong statement that drinking and driving should be separated. Any specific proposal to reduce existing BAC limits would need to be explored with relevant stakeholders and the broader community.

    It’s a bit strong to say they are calling for a reduction of the BAC limits to 0.02. They are merely putting it out as a discussion point. No one seems to have a problem to reduce for young drivers though.

    Alcohol is just a small part of the paper. And they do also target repeat offenders.

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  22. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    People who mistakenly think blood alcohol content has a big influence on death stats need to read this.

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  23. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    Ah, red, needing to shamelessly advertise another right wing site. What’s up, are you not getting enough hits?

    Maybe you should read the report instead. There are a number of factors that they address regarding road safety. Alcohol is just one of them. And BAC not just relates to death stats. It relates to accidents in general.

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  24. OTGO (544 comments) says:

    I get really tired of hearing on the news that someone was killed in a motor vehicle accident and “speed and alcohol were thought to be a factor”. No shit speed was a factor. As for alcohol well OK then but was the driver pissed out of his tree or only had a beer over lunch.
    If it was about road safety LTSA would’ve dual carriagewayed (my word) every main highway in NZ.
    JQP at 12.40 has it right “When will drink driving policing be about impairment to drive, rather than arbitrary limits? Will that be the same day WOF stickers are made larger than rego stickers? Because it’s all about road safety isn’t it.”

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  25. RRM (9,836 comments) says:

    Originally posted by Redbaiter:
    December 6th, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    People who mistakenly think blood alcohol content has a big influence on death stats need to read this spittle-flecked whinge about how it’s all the road’s fault.

    You surprise me Baiter… clearly there’s no socialist like an outspoken anti-socialist. Road crashes aren’t the result of people making mistakes and/or idiots making crap decisions, no the road did it.

    Big ups to you for starting the new blog though baiter. I like how you managed to incorporate a quote from Orwell, a gun AND a gunsight design on the front page. Really differentiates you from all the marginalised nutters who are talking politics out there.

    Does this mean you and KG aren’t buddies any more and he’s not allowing you to guest post on screaming rabbit?

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  26. GJ (329 comments) says:

    Our driving standard is shocking in NZ. To many think they own the road and sit in the outside lanes on the motorways never thinking to pull over if someone comes up behind them. Which reminds me of another thing so many never do and that is watch their mirrors!
    No wonder motorists wander all over the lanes to get past people and that is dangerous but they do it out of frustration.
    All for lowering the level for drinking, but somebody has really seriously got to get to grips with our appalling driving standards as well.

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  27. slijmbal (1,230 comments) says:

    Drink driving is no longer about the risk to other road users and has become a moral crusade. If it were about risk then the punishment and/or removal from the roads would reflect the risk and change with the risk. At 400 microgrammes breath alcohol there is risk but there is also similar risk in tuning the radio while driving, talking to a passenger, driving badly, having a car with poor suspension, minimal tread on tyres, no aircon on a muggy night and fogged up windows, driving while tired etc …. The risk at 800 microgrammes is enormously greater than at 400 but the treatment by the judiciary is the same i.e. 6 months suspension of license and a fairly standard fine. Once one heads north of 800 microgrammes then the driving impairment increases at ludicrous rates. Furthermore, being 390 vs 410 mg is an error in judgement but one is legal. 800 mg is deliberate and people are well aware of how poorly they drive at such breath levels. Surely, that needs to be recognised in approach.

    I have to laugh at the brigade, who so proudly proclaim any alcohol is too much but then have a ‘roo bar and drive in a city. This device is pretty much guaranteed to kill or maim any passenger hit at moderate speeds despite the billions spent on car design and regulations to ensure passengers receive some modicum of safety in car accidents.

    When I arrived in NZ the drink driving norm was truly terrifying. Drink driving to excess was an accepted, indeed expected behaviour. At least that has significantly reduced for the majority as they finally started breath testing. That aside, the current drink driving approach has hit a plateau. Pretty consistently we see 1% of drivers stopped at peak drinking times are over the limit. There is also what appears to be a deliberate exercise in blindness by the authorities to the exclusion of addressing root causes of road deaths. It is self-evident that NZ’s poor roads contribute greatly to road accidents. It is self-evident that the poor and selfish driving in NZ contributes. Neither are addressed in any reasonable fashion. It is self-evident that there is no honest dialogue around when alcohol really is a likely contributing factor to accidents. (It is also truthful to say that vehicles are a contributing factor in all vehicle accidents – lol – but it does not lead to a reasonable conclusion in how to reduce accidents) I have never seen a driver pulled over for tailgaiting, poor lane discipline, not signalling, that last second lane change from the off ramp back on the motorway (what is with that?) etc I have seen police cars driving badly and performing all of the above and setting the ultimate example. I do not see speed traps in known accident zones. Surely after 5 drink driving convictions it’s obvious the person cannot be trusted with a vehicle, full stop etc etc

    It’s like other road accident reduction mechanisms are seen as too hard and won’t be considered.

    Cowards.

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