Youth drink-driving

August 4th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Police have been stunned but delighted by the drop in arrests for drunken driving by teenagers – almost a year after the zero alcohol limit was brought in for the under-20s.

Figures released by police under the Official Information Act show that in first nine months of the new law coming into force on August 7 last year, 3091 youths aged 15-19 were arrested for .

The figure for the 12 months before the law change was 6414 – tracking towards an ‘‘absolutely brilliant’’ change, acting national manager road policing Superintendent Rob Morgan said.

Police had expected the introduction of the law to lead to more offences overall for young drivers, but it appeared as if the law change was acting as a deterrent  ‘‘… certainly these results are very encouraging,’’ he said.

This is excellent. It shows the value of laws that target correctly.

In fact youth drink driving has been declining for several years, which shows that the age of purchase being 18 is not a barrier to safer roads.

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10 Responses to “Youth drink-driving”

  1. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    So the police use a trend as new evidence. Hmm. No wonder we are sceptics.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Has there been any research done on whether a split alcohol age, which would encourage young people to travel longer distances to drink would increase drink driving by 18 and 19 year-olds?

    Also, looking forward to the press release from the creators of the “ghost chips” ad taking similar credit.

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  3. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Police have been stunned but delighted

    More alarmist reporting. The police press release (if there was one) would have read more dispassionately

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  4. gravedodger (1,506 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t it be an earth shattering revelation if a trend that supported targeting the drinkers or potential drink drivers actually reduced offending, who wudda thunk that.

    Major cost problems though with their being a very limited ability to gouge funds out of those perps better to stick with bar owners and operators.

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  5. tvb (4,193 comments) says:

    Something similar could be done with adults. Say allow two drinks which is about 250 mg. have a 50 demerit point/$250 fine for between 250 and 400 and standard rules over 400.

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  6. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    “Something similar could be done with adults. Say allow two drinks which is about 250 mg. have a 50 demerit point/$250 fine for between 250 and 400 and standard rules over 400.”

    Or you can deal with the people that already break the current law more harshly. Making it easier to break the law doesn’t usually stop people from breaking it, as DPF stated, the trend was already happening – all the law change did is make people that were innocent innocent before the law change criminals, it didn’t deal with the ones that already were criminals.

    It boggles me what it takes for repeat drink drivers to have their car taken of them and get locked in prison. The law was fine the way it was, the sentencing wasn’t and still isn’t.

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  7. duggledog (1,332 comments) says:

    CharlieBrown you are absolutely correct. Ask any police officer especially the road cops and they will tell you it’s all a bit of a joke. Takes months to get drunk drivers thru court and the sentence is a ridiculous few hundred dollars, disqualified for six months etc. ‘Do-able’.

    3091 youths arrested for drink driving is good news? Christ almighty – classic NZ. Get that down to 500 and I might raise my eyebrows.

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  8. tvb (4,193 comments) says:

    Does not take months to bring drink drivers to court. The vast majority are dealt within 3 weeks. About 90% plead guilty.

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  9. jims_whare (398 comments) says:

    I actually think the reason why the numbers dropped is that the new level gave kids a clear cut standard.

    Zero level = no drinks nada nothing thats easy to understand.

    The old level of 150mg/litre of breath who can understand that?

    Kids would think oh maybe a couple of drinks would be fine or 1 or 3 or 5??

    Zero is easy to comprehend

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  10. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    I don’t know that teenage drinking has decreased that much. Recently, I checked through the ALAC surveys and the Secondary Schools Survey for the percentage of current drinkers for 15-17 year olds and they’re all pretty much consistant and tracking (2006-2009) at the same level.

    One of the recent ALAC surveys showed a different result but either it was wrong or it’s previous surveys were wrong because they gave inconsistant results probably explained by the change in methods for the surveys.

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