Bullshit figures

September 16th, 2012 at 8:08 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

The Government has blood on its hands for refusing to lower the drink-drive limit, a departing senior road policing boss says.

Superintendent John Kelly, who set up national highway patrols, retired on Thursday after six years overseeing the roads of Auckland’s sprawling Waitemata district and 35 years on the force.

He told the Herald on Sunday that John Key’s National Party ignoring calls for the drink-drive limit to be slashed two years ago was his biggest career frustration. He believed it had potentially contributed to more than 60 road deaths since.

“Between 250 and 300 people are still dying annually on the roads but if we had lowered the drink-drive limit when we could have, there might have been 30 or so of those people still alive every year,” said Kelly.

I’ll note the road toll has in fact been at record lows. I also note that “might have been” is hardly robust evidence. The Government is actually collecting data on the prevalence of people driving at between 80 and 100 blood alcohol level, and what their accident rate is. That way a decision can be made on rational analysis, not hysterical bullshit.

As it happens what we do know from the limited data we have, is that the number of adults who were drivers in fatal crashes with a BAC between 80 and 100 has been around 1 or 2 a year.

Of course lowering the BAC can reduce crashes. If you lower it to zero, that would reduce crashes. If you reduce the maximum speed limit to 30 km/hr that would reduce crashes. But road safety is about getting the balance right – and decisions should be based on hard data, not emotional blackmail.

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53 Responses to “Bullshit figures”

  1. wreck1080 (3,970 comments) says:

    Boy racers are more of a problem in my view.

    These so called ‘car enthusiasts’ really piss me off. Then , when the police inevitably fail to allocate resources to them, the public ends up getting convicted for taking vigilante action.

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  2. MT_Tinman (3,259 comments) says:

    I’m pleased Mr Kelly has retired.

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  3. Keeping Stock (10,436 comments) says:

    Does Mr Kelly want a return to the days where someone walked in front of the car waving a flag?

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  4. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    Does Mr Kelly want a return to the days where someone walked in front of the car waving a flag?

    That would be ridiculous, just imagine how dangerous that would be if the driver was pissed or a senior market analyst.

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  5. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    Like many dinasours from the past he appears to have no idea about research or statstics. Past his useby date years ago. Needs an education.
    And of course he will be a police union flunky by his criticism be aimed and named at the the Nats.
    They do deserve plenty but not on this issue.

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  6. flipper (4,218 comments) says:

    But we must forgive the NZ/Sunday Horrid.

    It is all part of their public spirited (no pun intended) pro-wowser campaign to introduce aboilition by stealth.
    It follows a pattern adopted in the (Y) UK – a patten which has not yet been successful.
    But in this day of instant electronic headline BULLSHIT, it makes for entertainment.

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  7. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    For u wreck.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/crime/news/article.cfm?c_id=30&objectid=10834362

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  8. RF (1,454 comments) says:

    Another retiring Police Officer who seeks his minute in the sun before slipping out of sight. I thought the road toll was coming down anyhow.

    Is this the guy that set up Highway Patrols saturating the motorways and “pinging” motorists for sneaking over the speed limit plus taking away the officers ability to warn for minor offences. Pity many of those officers were not released to attend burglaries etc.

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  9. Redbaiter (9,632 comments) says:

    “Superintendent John Kelly, who set up national highway patrols, retired on Thursday after six years overseeing the roads of Auckland’s sprawling Waitemata district and 35 years on the force.”

    A neo-fascist who has a completely distorted view of the role government should play in our lives, and believes he has the right to impinge upon any basic freedom in order to “keep us safe”.

    Police checkpoints where innocent people under no suspicion are stopped and forced to undergo tests for drunkenness are a crime and they should not happen in an educated and civilized country.

    He’s gone, but without a doubt he will have been replaced by someone even worse. Probably an incompetent who has been promoted only for their race or sex.

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  10. Maaik (33 comments) says:

    Legislation seldom achieves the desired deterrence when there is very little respect for the law.

    Our drink-driving culture needs to be attacked, instead of upping the sanctions on the few that get caught. (Not that they pay the fines….)

    If there were serious repercussions to driving while over the limit (whatever the limit was) for the FIRST OFFENCE, and equally serious repercussions for driving while disqualified, we would see a small decrease in the death toll. For a large decrease, we need people with a mind-set that respect the law. Sadly, that will never happen in New Zealand – we only respect good rugby players.

    Having said that, I’m all for mandatory sentences for drink drivers (screw their suffering families and jobs), of at least 1 year before parole for the first offence, 5 years for the second and life for the third. (Sounds like ACT policy????)

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  11. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    You think a checkpoint is bad Red, I reckon this is akin to unlawful detention.

    Car enthusiast Daniel Cyckoma said police officers swooped on their weekly meeting in the carpark of KFC and McDonald’s on Quay St, Auckland, about 11pm on August 31.

    He said 10 police cars blocked the exits and about 20 officers inspected the vehicles for registrations, WoFs and illegal modifications.

    “We were blocked in there until 4am. They let cars out one by one,” said Cyckoma

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  12. kowtow (8,776 comments) says:

    I thought drunk drivers were the cause of the carnage.

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  13. Paulus (2,668 comments) says:

    Wind your neck in Kelly. Stop being so bitter – we all have to retire – do it with some grace.
    You are no longer important –
    Which is why the Herald called on you – media will not let the truth get in the way of a story to fill up newsprint.

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  14. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Aren’t drunk drivers well over the limit anyway? Its not like they give a shit about the current one, whats reducing it going to do? Let me guess – it will send a message….. Glad the moron has retired.

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  15. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    This is one thing that the idiot hand-wringing socialists can’t really argue against – whatever the reason, our road toll has been positively impacted since National have been at the helm.

    Typical of the idiot socialists though – they still whinge, moan, bleat about things for the sake of it.

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  16. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    Kelly had to go. He is too institutionilised.

    People who drive cars at the legal alcohol limit are sober – you see them on tv police shows talking coherantly and responsably.Kelly has NEVER said they arn’t sober.

    The police here in QLD have said that it is more a case of ‘driver education’ that will lower the road toll further.As anyone who is sensable driving a car after having a few beers doesn’t have accidents.

    National talkback radio is full of people in Aust saying ‘the working bloke who has a couple of beers at the pub after work and drives home under the speed limit doesn’t have accidents.’ The police and other government people never deny this fact.They simply don’t talk about it.

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  17. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    Police checkpoints where innocent people under no suspicion are stopped and forced to undergo tests for drunkenness are a crime and they should not happen in an educated and civilized country.

    Ah, yearning for the good old days when we were able to drive while as pissed as chooks with little chance of getting caught and much more chance of killing someone.

    I don’t regret the enforced change of drink drive attitudes at all. But tweaking the alcohol levels down a bit don’t target the biggest remaining problems. Recidivist middle aged males is one of those.

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  18. David Garrett (7,557 comments) says:

    …and on the subject of bullshit figures in the HoS…(not too much of a deviation from the topic DPF)

    Page 7, “Three strikes will fill our prisons.” At the time the 3S law was being debated in 2010, the Justice department did a statistical exercise in response to just this sort of claim. They took criminal offending stats for the previous 30 years and projected them forward 50 years, but inserting 3S into the model. Quite properly, no allowance was made for deterrence, since any such figure could only be an educated guess at best.

    The results were an increase in bed numbers required of 56 after five years, 142 after ten years, 288 after 20 years, and 433 after thirty years. Hardly “filling our prisons” when the current muster is about 7500….less in fact that when 3S was passed two and a bit years ago.

    By why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

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  19. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    John Kelly’s biggest frustration was when Helen Clark’s regime was voted out of office. Since then he’s exhibited all the restraint of the more liberal MSM – Nat bashing at every opportunity.

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  20. kowtow (8,776 comments) says:

    pg @1010

    You’re an arse for saying red is yearnig for the days blah blah……

    He has a very valid point.

    If it’s OK for the cops to stop and check every motorist for drink,then I advocate the cops have checkpoints on pavements to stop every pedestrian for stolen property,or knives or drugs or hate speech publications,whatever is the cause of the moment…….no need for suspicion etc Absolute. And if you object it’s back to the pokey for obstruction.

    If it’s OK for booze then it should be OK for anything else?

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  21. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    If it’s OK for the cops to stop and check every motorist for drink…

    No one is saying that’s ok.

    Stopping and drink/drug testing everyone at random stops seems like a reasonable compromise, considering how effective it seems to have been changing drink driving habits and in reducing the road toll.

    We don’t have a huge number of knifings on pavements so pavement knife checkpoints seem a bit of an overkill.

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  22. questions (208 comments) says:

    “wreck1080 (2,392) Says:
    Boy racers are more of a problem in my view.

    These so called ‘car enthusiasts’ really piss me off. Then , when the police inevitably fail to allocate resources to them, the public ends up getting convicted for taking vigilante action.”

    You’ll notice boy racers cause nothing like the harm that drink drivers do. You also act like the public have to take vigilante action, how about you just harden the fuck up you faggot?

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  23. pq (728 comments) says:

    I am over here in Bangkok and my wife is a Bangkok driver and they all they just waltz all over the road
    looking for motor bikes to run over.
    The only thing in their favour is that they are not aggressive as we are in NZ and Australia.
    The rules are that motor bikes dodge cars. and cars dodge cars . nothing at all about alcohol
    The most dangerous drivers ever are Australian truck drivers, because they will tail gate you at 110 kph, push you off the road, and never look back.
    If you ask long tour cyclists who the worst drivers are they will tell you New Zealand and Australia. Then you can ask them if they have been to Morocco yet

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  24. rakuraku (162 comments) says:

    The simple solution would be zero tolerance-problem solved this would save the country a huge amount of money with less carnage and police time- a logical solution one would think. However politicans in this country do not think.

    We are a very immature country with very immature politicans and very immature drinking habits.

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  25. dime (10,125 comments) says:

    this guy should join the conservative party. they love laws against piss drinking to keep us “safe”

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  26. Nostalgia-NZ (5,281 comments) says:

    It won’t be too many years when the argument will be that the level should be zero, in fact without a zero reading you’ll be unable to start your car. Big loss? Don’t think so.

    I’m sure Mr Kelly has, along with his fellow officers, had to deal with some real horror on the roads by people with all sorts of ideas of how they weren’t drunk, or not that drunk, or would take this way or that way home. No doubt a description not only of my myself but a few others on here. I salute the man for doing a job few would envy, working to keep the roads safe so that people travel with minimum danger. Even if I disagreed with him I wouldn’t criticise him for his many years work, and would still be grateful for the job he has done on behalf of us all.

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  27. Redbaiter (9,632 comments) says:

    “Stopping and drink/drug testing everyone at random stops seems like a reasonable compromise,”

    Kowtow is right you time wasting never get the point always falsely alleging thick as shit lame arse.

    It’s not about that good old days of “driving drunk.”

    ..and that is exactly what I was meaning when I said “educated and civilized’.

    You’re neither, or you would know that the state stopping innocent people going about their lawful business is a basic principle of individual freedom that should never be compromised.

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  28. rakuraku (162 comments) says:

    Have spent time quite a bit of time in Japan and drink driving is just not an option you either get a cab walk or catch a train.

    The problem is in Auckland we do not have a train set that operates efficiently and taking cabs are expensive so the only option is to drink under the influence and try and judge your level of sobriety.

    The big problem is young people getting shitfaced on RTD’s and dope driving absolutely out of their trees and the recidivist drink drivers who do not care who they kill or maim on our roads.

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  29. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    @ Nostalgia-NZ (1,277) Says:
    “It won’t be too many years when the argument will be that the level should be zero, in fact without a zero reading you’ll be unable to start your car. Big loss? Don’t think so.”

    And if that has no impact on accident rates, then you’ve just criminalised something for no reason.
    I’m sure that argument has been made – by people who believe in abolition by stealth.

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  30. Manolo (14,070 comments) says:

    Very happy to read this contemptible do-gooder Kelly has retired from public duty. Good riddance.

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  31. Nostalgia-NZ (5,281 comments) says:

    I don’t know that it’s ‘do not care’ rakuraku. Probably more like opportunity and then self-convincing that it will be okay. There also seems to be an aspect of problem drinkers or drug users, who formerly would never have considered it, getting lured into the trap by life circumstances and driving drunk to drop off or pickup the kids.

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  32. Nostalgia-NZ (5,281 comments) says:

    I’m not an abolitionist BigFish by any means. Just not disturbed by the idea that I shouldn’t drink and drive …anymore. I’m progressing out of the cave.

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  33. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    @ Nostalgia-NZ (1,280) Says:
    “I’m not an abolitionist BigFish by any means. Just not disturbed by the idea that I shouldn’t drink and drive …anymore. I’m progressing out of the cave.”

    A zero limit risks criminalising people who have trace amounts of alcohol in their system and are completely unimpaired.
    Why penalise the person who is safe and sober, but has traces of a couple of beers from lunchtime yesterday in their system? Dangling the threat of penalty for this is just a saber rattled by people who wish for others to never drink any amount of alcohol.

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  34. Michael (911 comments) says:

    I don’t think commentators should be hard on Superintendent Kelly – he probably has spent a fair bit of his career pulling mangled bodies out of crashes and having to go and tell families that their kids have been killed. Can’t be a pleasant experience and something he would prefer to do less often. So I don’t blame him for making these statements.

    However, I do agree with DPF – lowering the drink drive limit does need to be evidence based. Some countries with zero limits have appalling crash and death rates.

    BTW, those who think a zero rate is an automatic conviction for Drink Driving for any reading are wrong – most countries with zero rates have an automatic fine (like a speeding ticket) for a low reading (usually up to 0.03%) and only over that do you face a criminal conviction.

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  35. RF (1,454 comments) says:

    Michael

    You do not get many Superintendents getting out behind their desks except to go home at 5pm. It would have been many years since he would have dealt with mangled bodies if any. Still his troops would have been at the sharp end and he would have read their reports.

    Having a zero rate will only catch your average law abiding citizen and result in a criminal conviction. The idiots who drink to excess and drive just do not care so why change the law because of them.

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  36. GPT1 (2,123 comments) says:

    This presupposes drink drivers follow laws. The most common associated charge with EBA is disqualified driving.

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  37. wreck1080 (3,970 comments) says:

    @questions : seems you have unresolved issues.

    Dick!

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  38. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    This presupposes drink drivers follow laws. The most common associated charge with EBA is disqualified driving.

    So no actually problem with unsafe driving then. If they were driving in an unsafe way that would be the most “common associated charge”.

    Now that you have established they ignore laws, I assume you are not considering even more laws as a cure, because that would be silly.

    The fact is there is no evidence that people below the current limit are a danger on the roads. You can not also assume that alcohol is a factor in the few who do have accidents, without some evidence. Plenty of folk have crashes stone cold sober.

    The last thing we need in NZ is more laws.

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  39. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    Yep and whilst many might not agree excess coffee consumption is just as bad for its a stimulant and can impare a persons rationality when doing many things including driving. Witness the young ladies who arise in the morning have had bugger all to eat race out the door with coffee in hand and the processs to drive in a breakneck manner to get to work on time. We’ve all seen them. Coffee and fags mixed woith whatever was left from last nights efforts.

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  40. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Surely saving lives is a good thing – lower the limit!

    From a practical perspective, should one really be drinking more than two standard drinks before driving?

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  41. Manolo (14,070 comments) says:

    From a practical perspective, should one really be drinking more than two standard drinks before driving?

    In your case, one of cyanide will suffice. :D

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  42. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Didn’t know drink driving and death were jokes.

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  43. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Surely saving lives is a good thing – lower the limit!

    There are two different statements in there and they are totally unrelated. There is no evidence that lowering the limit will save lives.

    How about:

    “Surely saving children’s lives is a good thing – don’t allow women to vote”

    ” Prevent child cancer – ban asprin”

    BTW, Drink driving kills allot less people than authoritarian people like you Hamnida.

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  44. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    Abit like :give the hori’s the water: allow them to keep killing their children.

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  45. rakuraku (162 comments) says:

    Viking2 who would you prefer controls the water the Chinese Government or an American Corporate.

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  46. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Kea – I think you are not so good with logical thinking – Drink, Drive, Die.

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  47. Griff (8,199 comments) says:

    Hamineggs is not good with reading comprehension
    As it happens what we do know from the limited data we have, is that the number of adults who were drivers in fatal crashes with a BAC between 80 and 100 has been around 1 or 2 a year.
    That does not prove that the crashes happen because of alcohol it is such a small number one or two a year that MAY be attributed that I see no need to impinge on my life style because of it
    smoke dope and drive if the numbers scare you you are then more cautious and drive slower hence safer

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  48. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > our road toll has been positively impacted since National have been at the helm.

    Yes since John Key has been PM, drivers have suddenly lost the urge to speed or drive drunk. Isn’t life wonderful?

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  49. Nostalgia-NZ (5,281 comments) says:

    And so it continues, splitting hairs between the amount one might drink before driving, being unequivocal, supporting the same. The law is stupid, it invites interpretations by idiots as to how much they might drink before they drive. You couldn’t drink and conduct your job, fly a plane, conduct surgery, but you could convince yourself that 3 bears or 2 wines, even after an exhausting day, was within your limits and your rights. So while drink drivers conduct their own self-analysis of how much they might drink, a stupid law accomodates them because drinking 4 wines one night before driving home was not only okay, but it was difference between you and the guy that had 4 beers and crashed.

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  50. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Kea – I think you are not so good with logical thinking – Drink, Drive, Die.

    Where is your evidence that lowering the limit will result in less deaths?. I just want evidence, not moronic catch phrases from the mass media.

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  51. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ, you sound confused by the concept of personal responsibility.

    Do you know that fast majority of accidents are caused by sober people?

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  52. RRM (10,026 comments) says:

    Does Mr Kelly want a return to the days where someone walked in front of the car waving a flag?

    What a stupid comment.

    And I would have no problem with allowable BAC = zero for all drivers.

    I know it’s hard when you have a leftist government pointing a gun at your head and saying “You must drink this beer!” but with a bit of willpower, we can rise above these difficulties…

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  53. RRM (10,026 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ, you sound confused by the concept of personal responsibility.

    Kea, you sound confused about the concept of your responsibility to persons around you. Drunk drivers don’t only harm themselves. So their impaired driving is not solely their own business.

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