The drink driving limit

November 5th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Gerry Brownlee announced:

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Cabinet has agreed to lower the legal blood alcohol limit from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood for drivers aged over 20.

“Legislation to bring about this change will receive its first reading before the House rises for the Christmas break,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Alcohol impairment is a major cause of road accidents in New Zealand, with an average of 61 fatalities, 244 serious injuries, and 761 minor injuries every year caused by at-fault drivers who have been drinking.

“The social cost of these injuries and fatalities is $446 million – a huge sum in a country of our size.”

A two year review of the impact of lowering the legal blood alcohol limit by 30 milligrams suggests 3.4 lives will be saved a year and 64 injury causing crashes avoided – and save $200 million in social costs over 10 years.

“Data collected by Police over the past 22 months shows 53 drivers were involved in fatal and serious injury crashes with blood alcohol readings of between 51 and 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood,” Mr Brownlee says.

It’s proposed the new regime will impose civil infringements on drivers with between 50 and 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Drivers testing positive for this lower limit will receive a $200 fine and gain 50 demerit points.

This is a typical John Key compromise, but as it happens a pretty good one.

You get the benefits of a lower limit, but you don’t risk turning people into criminals who (for example) share a bottle of wine over dinner and then drive.

I note the research found that the lower limit will save three to four lives a year. While not insignificant, it is massively lower than the hysterical claims from some that it would reduce the road toll by 33 lives a year. The actual data is just 10% of that.

I think it is entirely sensible that the Government actually gathered data on how many accidents are caused by people with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08, and also how many drivers drive at that level. You can’t make a sensible decision without that data, and it annoys me that Labour who refused to raise the limit for nine years, have demanded that National do so immediately without the benefit of NZ research.

The data on how many people drive with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 is slightly more than those who are above 0.08. So around twice as many people will be found over the limit with a 0.05 limit. I don’t think the relatively minor reduction in the road toll would be worth a change, if it meant you would be doubling the number of New Zealanders who are getting criminal convictions for their blood alcohol level.

But the compromise of lowering the limit, yet having the penalties be a fine and demerits, rather than a criminal record, is an elegant solution.

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56 Responses to “The drink driving limit”

  1. Redbaiter (8,913 comments) says:

    “This is a typical John Key compromise,”

    There was no good reason to lower the drink driving limit. John Key and the Nat’s weak capitulation on the issue shows once again that they’re just spineless ideological drifters. Whenever there’s a choice between taking some small step to preserve freedom, or caving into self serving bureaucracy, the Nationals and John Key will choose the latter.

    I am not going to go into any great detail on the issue of why lowering the limit is unjustified, for I believe that if you’re a reader on the issue and have a few clues, you’re smart enough to have done the research for yourself, and to understand what an utter crock this is.

    What is more important is it shows once again that the Nats are just a clueless bunch of knee jerk poll driven cowards and losers. Useless in any kind of mission to turn this country around. They don’t get it and they never will get it. Give them your vote next election if you want this country to continue to sink into the socialist mire.

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  2. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Brownlee said it was one life on the radio this morning.
    Its not a compromise.
    John Key and John Campbell are going to be the next Bev/Len sex scandal in the super city. It wont be Campbell thats bent over the desk either, itl be Parnell John. No wonder Mr English pulled out of being a electorate Mp.
    People there would of roasted him over this.

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  3. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    I don’t like it. But I can see the logic that says if National didn’t do this compromise, then when Labour next get in they’ll lower the limit and make it a criminal conviction.

    50 demerits is a lot though.

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  4. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    It aint elegant, its a massive expensive inconvenience.
    If they wanted to save lives they would of saved many more than that by getting people to drive with their headlights on, a very small inconvenience yet much more rewarding in terms of lives saved than this current proposal.
    As Redbaiter says they are a bunch of knee jerk poll driven pussies who want to appease the grey lynn lefty pricks by going more to the left.

    Paul, Labour is more likely to get in now as i and a lot of other National voters im sure arent going to go and back these nancy boys in the voting booth

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  5. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    Also, anecdotally those folks causing fatal accidents on the road seem to be 50-300% above the existing drink drive limits.

    People are already hyper-sensitive to drink driving levels. I have folks who decline a “taste” of wine in my shop … and we’re talking 15-20ml of the giggle juice not half a bottle. Personally there are times where I’ve had a couple of drinks and felt impaired, knowing that I’d be under the limit but decide not to drive anyway.

    They talk about a ‘culture change’ – but in the same breath they are saying that the youth seem to be quite responsible already with designating a sober driver.

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  6. Don the Kiwi (1,757 comments) says:

    Although I’m not in favour, at least, as you say, this is a reasonable compromise.
    However, the law need stiffening for those repeat offenders over .08 who are caught time and time again. they should be banned for life after the second offence, and if cuaght driving again, should be gaolled – 6 months, then 12 months, then 2 years etc. till they learn.

    Other on GD have been going on about how much one can drink before being over .08. I regularly have a beer on a Wednesday after work with a bunch of mates. 2 pints puts in an hour puts you close to the limit – 3 in an hour and you’re over, on average. Had a mate who had 4 pints in 2 hours, was pinged over the limit. 12 years ago, i went to a business dinner, and over the course of the night – 7 pm. till midnight, had 6 or 7 glasses of wine. We ate a meal, and were nibbling snacks and chatting till 2 am. in the morning, but I had nothing to drink after 11.30 pm. I drove home – about 2 miles – and 200 m. from home got stopped at a random check. To my amazement, I was over the limit. I went back to thepolice station, and blew .0715 breath/alcohol – the limit breath/ alcohol is .04 when the blood/alcohol is .08.

    The cop was friendly, and he also was surprised I was over the limit, because all my reactions, speech, etc were all fine. When i told him I had been drinking wine, he said that was the reason, because you’re not flushing it out as you are with beer because of the greater volume of beer. I learnt my lesson then.

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  7. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    Where’s the speed factor?

    I smell bullshit.

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  8. NK (1,244 comments) says:

    Of course there is no “data” on whether those 53 crashes were caused by the allegedly alcohol-impaired drivers, or not. To me that is the critical question.

    Yeah, yeah, the two million (or so) drivers who don’t fall into this 53 have nothing to worry about when having a glass of wine or two with dinner.

    Pull the other one.

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  9. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    “There was no good reason to lower the drink driving limit.”

    I don’t agree with that. National aren’t a majority in Parliament and with the once and future Revenue Minister supporting Labour were probably a minority on this issue. A members bill is before the house and so events were, to an extent, beyond their control. By taking a strategic retreat they have preserved the distrinction between the activity being a traffic offence and a criminal offence. To those of us who care about the rule of law, that’s an important distinction. Change in order to conserve.

    Politics is the art of the possible, and this was well played.

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  10. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “it is massively lower than the hysterical claims from some that it would reduce the road toll by 33 lives a year”

    when its proven those people were fullof shit, will they be outted and mocked by every media outlet in the country? nup.

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  11. iMP (2,385 comments) says:

    1. Alcohol limit.
    2. Age limit.
    3. Speed LImit.

    Do it properly.

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  12. Goon (13 comments) says:

    Since the government is so keen to restrict personnel freedom to save 3 lives per year and some other manufactured social cost number, why don’t they institute an IQ and or competency test for drivers? I’m sure idiots (you know the ones, 70kms on the bends then 100+ on the passing lanes, can’t judge how much time they have before the oncoming car arrives etc) cause far more carnage than those staying to neck a third stubbie after work.

    The final straw……National, you just lost my vote….

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  13. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    To all those who believe that National has lost their vote – does this mean you’re giving up voting, or that you have someone else you’re going to vote for instead? And if so, who?

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  14. peterwn (3,273 comments) says:

    As I indicated in ‘General Debate’ (and got some ‘thumbs down’) I would favour a $100 fine and 39 demerits, this would still have most of the deterrent effect while potentially upsetting fewer people. Even if it is considered too soft, have this for a year or two with the ability to increase it by regulation.

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  15. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Paul
    The farming party, or nobody

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  16. duggledog (1,558 comments) says:

    Politics aside, this is great news as far as I’m concerned.

    What we have here is a nation of motorheads who drink piss like it’s going to run out. Anything is good.

    I agree with Don The Kiwi that it would be better if the legislation was in tandem with much heavier penalties for drunk drivers, speeders and boy racers.

    You’re twice as likely to die on a NZ road than you are in the UK

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  17. mandk (993 comments) says:

    Quite right, Duggledog.

    As evidenced over on GD, too many people in this country think it is their right to drive while seriously impaired by alcohol. And they whine about the nanny state when the government finally has the balls to do something about it.

    They can whine as much as they like. No one is stopping them have a beer or two on a Friday night. No one is interfering with their right to get pissed. They can do that at home, or take a taxi from the pub. I don’t want them putting my family’s, or anyone else’s, safety in peril by driving under the influence.

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  18. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Good.

    Don’t pilot balloons after you’ve been smoking up.

    Don’t drive cars after you’ve been drinking.

    Lament the loss of your precious “freedom” if you are an idiot who doesn’t know how lucky we are in this country to have what we have.

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  19. Redbaiter (8,913 comments) says:

    “this was well played”

    Garbage.

    This was just one more capitulation in a series that have identified National over the last fifty or so years. Did you hear one National MP argue against lowering the limit, and argue the issue coherently and articulately? I did not. I don’t think one did.

    That is the problem. They don’t argue, and they don’t contest because in reality, they think and believe virtually the same as the Labour/ Greens faction.

    When they occasionally speak in the opposite, its only because they’ve been pressured into it to retain voter support, and as soon as there is a chance to turn their back on whatever the issue may have been they do so. They betray their supporters time and time again.

    Its why I believe the only feasible and real path for the National Party is collapse. Leave them. Don’t vote for them. Let them disintegrate and fade away, and if we have to wear an extreme left government for some years as a result then so be it.

    The destruction of the current National Party and its re-birth as a party who will fight against progressivism is in the long term the shorter path to freeing NZ from the cultural and political totalitarianism of the left.

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  20. Manolo (13,775 comments) says:

    Another monumental capitulation by National, a political party which no longer defends the individual but favours the state.

    The moniker Labour Lite seems more fitting than ever. Shame on its spineless ‘leaders” who act so cowardly.

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  21. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    @DuggleDog: do you think being twice as likely to die on a NZ road might have something to do with the lack of massive divided highways the length of the country, and the higher number of kms driven per head (due to our lower density living).

    Do you think that it might be quite an impost on people in rural areas if they can’t drink? And that taxis perhaps aren’t a great option there? I can understand that we don’t want people who are significantly incapacitated being able to drive. The current limit does that. Between .05 and .08 I think people are able to drive, I seem to recall a study that said someone’s driving competence with that level of blood alcohol was similar to a) someone who had limited sleep the night before (i.e. anyone with children), b) someone who was talking to someone or a bit distracted in the car (i.e. anyone with children), or c) a lower than average skilled driver.

    I think our existing laws actually deal with this – we don’t need to make each of these things illegal, we just need to make it illegal to drive erratically, drive too fast, cross the centre line etc. That catches all these various ways of being a bad driver, and addresses directly the problem. Someone who has .06 blood alcohol and is driving conservatively is quite fine, particularly on rural roads.

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  22. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    So will Kolun make repealing the drink driving laws a policy of the conservative party?

    If not, why not?

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  23. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    This is a very smart and sensible decision, not only because it lowers the permitted blood alcohol ratio to a safer level but also because it provides an intermediate buffer between 50 and 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood for which the penalty is not a criminal conviction, thereby giving reasonable leeway to allow for genuine misjudgement of consumption.

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  24. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    What a flippin’ disgrace, National.

    If blowing over 50 is dangerous, then why are they getting a fine and being allowed to carry on? It’s either too dangerous to drive, or it isn’t. If it’s not, then why the fine?

    Meanwhile, the killers carry on as normal. They don’t obey limits.

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  25. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    Do you think that it might be quite an impost on people in rural areas if they can’t drink?

    This was one of my biggest reservations about lowering the limit. But I think 0.8 is too pissed to be driving – especially on country roads where the speed limits are more often 100 kph and the roads are less safe to drive on.

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  26. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    If the blowing over 50 is dangerous, then why are they getting a fine and being allowed to carry on?

    I doubt you will be allowed to carry on – and in any case you would be dumb to carry on knowing you are definitely over the limit and risk getting caught again and losing your license. Or killing yourself. Or killing someone else.

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  27. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    Sounds like a good compromise because that is what Politics is all about – Mr Cunliffe note.

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  28. Albert_Ross (293 comments) says:

    Duggledog, mandk, do you seriously think that lowering the limit is going to have any effect on those who are the real problem, ie those who ignore the limit that is already in place?

    “Anything is good” – Really? No matter how ineffective, no matter how great the cost and imposition? As long as “something”is done, it doesn’t matter what it is?

    Child abuse is a terrible problem. All adults should be required to attend a full-time year-long course in childcare, on pain of a prison sentence if they miss a single class.

    What?! You object?! What’s all this rabbiting on about disproportionality, cost, impracticality, ineffectiveness, poor targeting? IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!! DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT ABUSED CHILDREN???!!!

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  29. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Do you think that it might be quite an impost on people in rural areas if they can’t drink?

    Good point. If this might impact on people’s drinking, then obviously it needs to be reconsidered. Drinking is important.

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  30. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter – what planet do you live on? The National Party – or any other party – can’t use politics to change the underlying assumptions and tendencies of a society. That’s a cultural issue, and it can only be solved by a cultural renewal that is outside the scope of electoral politics. As Milton Friedman said “I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”

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  31. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    I love this pipe dream that some people have, that it’s only the fully maggot-drunk inebriates who are a hazard.

    Ever had one of those moments when you drift slightly wide going through a corner, or you got on the brakes just in the nick of time for something? Because you weren’t concentrating quite enough? But there was noone coming the other way, and there wasn’t a cop behind you watching you do it, so it was all good.

    Until the occasion when it’s NOT all good and there IS someone coming the other way; BANG – you’re dead. And/or he’s dead. Just as dead as if you’d been fully pissed up.

    The low-level alcohol limit is about reducing the number of THOSE moments. OF COURSE it doesn’t affect the fully pissed up idiots. Hence why it is a small fine not a conviction?

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  32. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    duggledog, yes it may be that we are twice as likely to die on our roads than those in the UK, but they still have 80 as the blood alcohol limit – as it still is in the USA as well.

    And most countries with the lower level of 50 apply a different penalty, as we will, for lower levels such as 50-80.

    What the media has failed to note is time delay.

    1. those drinking a lot and still being under the 80 limit when tested by them have not absorbed all the alcohol yet, they might later be behind a wheel and found to be over the limit.

    2. the stats for those tested after an accident do not take into account info as to how long after the accident the testing was done. Those found to be between 50 and 80 may have been over 80 at the time of the accident. So the impact of the change to 50 on road accidents will be overstated.

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  33. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    SPC
    Excellent points

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  34. duggledog (1,558 comments) says:

    PaulL & others

    Sorry; 95% of the time I agree with pretty much all your posts but on this, I don’t. It’s my opinion and it doesn’t come from downtown Wellington.

    “@DuggleDog: do you think being twice as likely to die on a NZ road might have something to do with the lack of massive divided highways the length of the country, and the higher number of kms driven per head (due to our lower density living)”

    – Yes but also we have a different attitude towards driving. You can’t deny that. Lived in the UK and been back many times – burnouts are unheard of, and the kinds of cars we have racing about the place here just don’t exist there. You can’t seriously be saying that NZ doesn’t have a massive bogan / boozing culture. You need to go out with the cops one night.

    The recidivists are a different issue, as is our complete inability to punish anyone effectively for anything ever in this country don’t get me started!

    My point is anything – ANYTHING to curb this fucking dangerous culture we have around drinking and insane driving I’m right behind it. I don’t give a shit if someone can’t have 5+ beers at the pub and drive home any more. Tough, you’ll have to make two with two, one of my kids or my Mrs could be coming the other way.

    I agree we have thousands of miles of road, some of them bad, but we just don’t have the $$ to police all of them effectively and make them better because as I so often complain, we flush all our money down the toilet as we are socialists.

    By the way – I’m rural, and I do drink. But my local roads are littered with beer bottles, pre mix cans, and all the intersections have great circles of rubber complete with smashed road signs pretty much every weekend.

    So. The culture’s gotta change. National has my vote on this (but if there’s someone else who’s prepared to go tougher, I’m all ears)

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  35. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Duggledog,
    this aint going to change shit.
    What will change is if the cops bother to get their hands out of their pjs and be outside pubs picking up the people who drive over the current limit and kill people.
    This new proposal isnt going to change anything apart from people having a few beers getting nabbed driving home, doing something they have done as a kiwi for years not as a fucken pom

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  36. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Ask why your local roads are littered with bottles in the rural areas- its Because governments arent putting the cops out there to catch the people who are doing this drink driving, instead they choose to fuk over the rest of us so they can parade themselves to the grey lynnn socialists that they a doing something

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  37. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    Data collected by Police over the past 22 months shows 53 drivers were involved in fatal and serious injury crashes with blood alcohol readings of between 51 and 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood

    Note the change in language from:

    Alcohol impairment is a major cause of road accidents in New Zealand, with an average of 61 fatalities, 244 serious injuries, and 761 minor injuries every year caused by at-fault drivers who have been drinking

    So of those 53 drivers that were involved in fatal and serious injury crashes with BAC between 51 and 80, how many were at fault?

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  38. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    My rule of thumb was always that you could drink half a bottle of wine and you were fine. Any more than that and you might be in trouble.

    I actually once got stopped after 3/4 bottle. Ironically, it was the first time I ever drove after sensing that maybe I “wasn’t quite right” to drive, but I thought I’d chance it. I was just under the legal limit.

    What worries me is that this law will make it difficult to go out and share a bottle. The risk from the half-bottle driver is surely negligible, but a 50mg limit will put that sort of sensible, moderate drinking on the border of acceptability. It is overreach on the part of the State. In cases where someone is in the 50-80mg zone and causes an accident resulting in death, the alcohol will impair judgment and be a factor, but at that level could only ever be a partial aid to other irresponsibilities while driving. The extra glass will make nobody reckless. It just doesn’t happen at that level of consumption. So to reduce the legal level of consumption is to unduly impinge on the life-enjoyment of others for no commensurate benefit.

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  39. Redbaiter (8,913 comments) says:

    Cato- Your disagreement is civil and I would therefore like to respond to it in a civil manner, but I’ve read it a few times and can’t get what you are saying because of its ambiguity.

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  40. mandk (993 comments) says:

    Manolo: “Another monumental capitulation by National, a political party which no longer defends the individual but favours the state.”
    You really want to reserve the right to drive when you are pissed. Individual rights can only be defended when they don’t impinge on the rights of others.

    Albert Ross: “Duggledog, mandk, do you seriously think that lowering the limit is going to have any effect on those who are the real problem, ie those who ignore the limit that is already in place?”
    I can’t speak for Duggledog, but No, I don’t think that. I think that NZ is far too lenient with recidivist drunk drivers. For over 0.08 it should be 6 months ban for the first offence, 2 years ban for the second offence, and jail for third and subsequent offences.

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  41. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    This fat fuck Brownlee should go fuck himself. Its amazing that the National Party supporters on this blog had a go at the Labour party a few years, when Bill English teased Helen Clark in question time in the house about Labour Party Nanny stating (banning of certain electric bulbs). National is no different to Labour. Different names but same party. Both their policies are to nanny the citizens of this country.

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  42. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Yes, Falafulu Fisi.

    National are as much Nanny state as Labour were. It could be said even more so….

    50-80 is not the problem.

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  43. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Sorry not to be clear, but the problem isn’t the political parties. In the face of a hostile media, the best any party can do is delay, modify and fight occassional rearguard actions. At the end of the day, however, politicians will respond to incentives.

    If the climate created by the media is strongly in favour of limits, then arguments for those limits will eventually prevail. It’s not sustainable or prudent to defy those calls when a better option is to moderate them. In Friedman’s terms, it is better not to rely on the good judgement of politicians to pursue your agenda, but to make it unprofitable (in terms of electoral results) for them to do so.

    All I am saying is that culture trumps politics. If you want to change the political culture, you have to focus on the culture and the politics will follow. The culture is against you here.

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  44. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    BlairM (2,167) Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    My rule of thumb was always that you could drink half a bottle of wine and you were fine…

    I don’t agree that half a bottle of wine is acceptable.

    How many tokes are okay before you fly a balloon? One toke? Two?

    Perhaps if you want to share a bottle then stay the night, call a taxi, get a lift from someone who is sober. Is this a great inconvenience that gets in the way of your drinking?

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  45. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi (2,174) Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    This fat fuck Brownlee should go fuck himself.

    Such anger… alcohol seems to do that.

    If it were weed then it’d be “That ummm… that… ahh.. that guy… dude… that dude… Brown…something… he’s like… not cool man.”

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  46. Redbaiter (8,913 comments) says:

    “All I am saying is that culture trumps politics.”

    The media are not our cultural representatives. Most surveys I have read demonstrate that the media is far more progressive than the man in the street.

    Secondly, politicians do have a role in fostering or preserving culture. If they do not speak out against encroachment then of course they will lose.

    Thirdly, I know I am against the culture. That fact does not automatically make me wrong, or compel me to shut up.

    Fourthly, if its as deeply a cultural matter as you claim, then laws are not the answer anyway.

    The Tea Party is an attempt by man in the street Americans to retain their culture. They represent a huge sector of society that has been ignored by a political elite who hand in glove with progressive media and progressive academics have changed culture without a mandate.

    The left have won the cultural war of the last fifty years ONLY because the right have let them. I seek to change that circumstance. I want everyone unhappy with these changes to object much more strongly than they have in the past. Not voting for a band of spineless collaborators like National is one way of doing that.

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  47. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    rouppe (737) Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    So of those 53 drivers that were involved in fatal and serious injury crashes with BAC between 51 and 80, how many were at fault?

    The burden of proof is high isn’t it. After all we’re talking about the god-given right to guesstimate ones drunkeness to determine whether it’s “nah bro” or “sweet as”. Such fundamental rights cannot be restricted for such trivialities as some potential for fatal and serious injuries.

    Do you really believe that one must prove imminent danger from some specific activity when devising road regulations? How about we remove the discussion from something that affects you directly, like driving, to something that affects you indirectly, like flying a plane. Is it justified to impose regulations on, say, the length of runway required for a particular operation? Let’s say minimum runway required plus 10%. What if the pilot thinks “10%? Nanny state, 5% is fine”. Must the government undertake a longitudinal study on the correlation of using runways that are too short to the rate of incident? Or should the pilots just follow the rules because ultimately all such limits are a combination of estimation, expert opinion and common sense?

    But then I suppose when it comes to flying the inconvenience and the responsibility belongs to someone else. When it’s driving though the personal inconvenience weighs heavy and the potential for tragedy merely theoretical.

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  48. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    I don’t agree that half a bottle of wine is acceptable.

    How many tokes are okay before you fly a balloon? One toke? Two?

    Perhaps if you want to share a bottle then stay the night, call a taxi, get a lift from someone who is sober. Is this a great inconvenience that gets in the way of your drinking?

    You must be a fockin’ lightweight bro, if you can’t drink a mere half bottle if wine and still drive properly and safely.

    THC is just a *little* bit different than ethyl alcohol, my friend. It takes a lot less to have a high effect (so to speak). Your first toke will do more damage than subsequent ones, which will only add to your high in an exponentially decreasing manner.

    And yes, in a free society, not being able to drink a moderate amount of alcohol before driving is a massive fucking inconvenience, both in practical terms, and in terms of my human rights. Maybe we should ban cars? Is it that inconvenient to walk? Maybe we should ban people from living in houses, since most fatal accidents happen in the home? Where does it stop? Modern life is full of risks that the absence of technology would eliminate. Surely we accept that in exchange for our freedoms and get on with it?

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  49. duggledog (1,558 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi

    “when Bill English teased Helen Clark in question time in the house about Labour Party Nanny stating (banning of certain electric bulbs”

    Light bulbs don’t kill you.

    At the very least, the legislation will hopefully mean an end to the lazy, oft-repeated ‘experiment’ carried out every few months where one or two reporters drink during a current affairs show (Campbell Live just recently) and go on to say how they feel really pissed but they are technically still under the limit.

    That’s the limit I guess you’re happy with – 80.

    MartinH –

    ‘This new proposal isnt going to change anything apart from people having a few beers getting nabbed driving home, doing something they have done as a kiwi for years not as a fucken pom’

    That statement marks you as the sort of person who would have been against seatbelts becoming compulsory. I hope you don’t live round here, driving about with your ‘few beers’. Hope you lose your licence!

    Cheers.

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  50. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    “Moderate drinkers” will not be affected by proposed drink-driving rules according to an expert.

    Rule won’t hit ‘moderate’ drinkers

    Allan Stowell, a forensic chemist and toxicologist who frequently serves as an expert witness in court cases related to drink-driving, said the new limit could still allow alcohol to be consumed on social occasions before driving.

    “For example, a male of average build drinking two to three glasses of wine during a leisurely dinner, or three to four small bottles of beer during a social gathering lasting about two hours, is highly unlikely to exceed 50mg to 100ml at the end of the drinking period,” he said.

    “Women need to be a little more careful, but a woman of average build would be highly unlikely to exceed [the limit] after consumption of two to three standard drinks over a two-hour period.”

    The calculations are based on males weighing 85 kilograms and being 1.8 metres tall and females weighing 70kg and 1.65m tall.

    Stowell calculated that under the existing limit of 80mg of alcohol to 100ml of blood, the “average” male could have five to eight standard drinks over two hours, with a meal, and still be under the legal limit.

    Women could safely drink 3.4 to 5.4 standard drinks over the same period.

    The calculations for individuals would vary, Stowell said.

    “People who drink moderately really have nothing to worry about,” he said, adding that this depended on what was considered “moderate”.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9364612/Rule-won-t-hit-moderate-drinkers

    That sounds reasonable.

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  51. Chuck Bird (4,884 comments) says:

    I would go happily go along with the change if they put the same limit on MPs while they are on the job. A former drunken PM cost this country dearly.

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  52. RichardX (326 comments) says:

    That sounds reasonable.

    There is your problem PG
    It is very difficult for ideologues to be reasonable

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  53. Chuck Bird (4,884 comments) says:

    It not reasonable at all. I should be able to go out to a BYO and share a bottle of wine with a lady over a meal. A standard drink which a dishonest description is a 100ml glass of wine is not sold in any pub or restaurant. I could be over the limit with two thirds of a bottle over a meal.

    I think National had to make move but this went to far to the control freaks.

    peterwn’s idea was good. I would have like 50 to 65 forty demerits and 65 to 80 fifty demerits.

    If Peter Dunne would not support that let him go with Labour – the political prostitute.

    I think what National did was better that sticking firm to the existing law but it certainly was not brilliant. They could have done better.

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  54. lolitasbrother (696 comments) says:

    For an analysis on the benefits of proposed law see Eric Crampton
    He looked at 2011 fatal accidents , finding 8 alcohol offenders within 259 fatal accidents.
    That is 251 fatal accidents not alcohol.
    It almost as if there were factors other than alcohol in fatal accidents.
    Like bad driving, aggression, stupidity, speed.
    http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/

    Most likely places to die on the road are African countries, especially those with zero alcohol limits .
    Another good place Thailand. [ left driving ]
    Here you will be driving along the highway a right corner coming up, double yellow lines and a pick up with six kids in the back is crunching straight at you.
    He may pull back to the left side, but possibly not.
    Then there are the motor bikes swinging in and out , both sides of you, and both directions, no helmets, two kids and wife on board, talking on cell phone and carrying luggage.

    An interactive map here on road fatality.
    http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/road-traffic-accidents/by-country/
    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

    Alcohol driving limits by country.
    http://www.driveandstayalive.com/articles%20and%20topics/drunk%20driving/artcl–drunk-driving-0005–global-bac-limits.htm

    Placing NZ drivers in 0.5 to 0.8 alcohol drivers in the civilian offence category is better than criminalisation.
    The wowsers of course will never be satisfied till Nanny has a man with a red flag in front of each vehicle

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  55. Leviticus (2 comments) says:

    If Judith Collins’ projection is to be believed then the changes will gross a cool 7.2 million in fines P/A. This figure will not last and fines will either go up significantly or we will follow suit with Australia and make it a criminal offence to exceed 0.5, Heres why I say this:

    My qualification:

    I have been involved in the mechanical testing industry for over twenty years. I have had reason in the passed to examine the breath testing methods, legislation and science. My investigation led me to a rather surreal place and had me relegated to the tinfoil hat wearing conspirator corner. No one would listen to my point of view over this issue as the Government had the pop hysteria public momentum it needed to pass this reckless bill.

    Clues that there is skullduggery afoot:

    There where submissions by Police officers and former police officers that they had drunk excessive limits and where still under the current limit, one cited 15 beers in two hours (bloody alky lol). This is clue number 1

    A guy on the Campbell live show drank ten standard drinks in 5 hours and only “exceeded” the proposed new limit by .2 Mcg/L BrAC (breath alcohol concentration). This is clue number 2

    On both of these occasions I can tell you that the physiological possibility of these two examples being under .8/l BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is pretty much a big fat NIL!

    The problem with the regime in New Zealand is exactly as it is in other countries that have elected to use a BrAC conviction, the lie that has always existed and has led to the incessant need to constantly downgrade the limits, is in fact the notoriously unreliable element of a breath testing device. The legislators (for obvious culpability reasons) will have you believe they are pin point accurate, the industry (for obvious financial reasons) will trot out subterfuge in the form of inert values and calibration figures quite often using plus of minus 1% and all sorts of fancy values to impress the ignorant and finally the police (for obvious expedience and wrongful conviction liability) will have you believe that there is a problem with the limits not the testing method.

    Why is all this important? :

    Because the accident figures are based on BLOOD tests. Any accident where alcohol is suspected is first screened using a breath test device and then BLOOD is required.

    The actual Blood levels of people blowing into those machines is not clearly indicated in many instances, this means that some will have less BAC while others will have higher, some heading up into the zone of “high risk” as defined by the MOT as being over 1.2/l BAC. Both the police officer and the guy on Campbell live where heading into the ‘high risk’ Bac Zone and they are both witnesses to the fact that they could have been allowed to drive off from a booze bust.

    They majority of fatal accidents are caused by people in the 2.01-2.05 BAC. This bill does absolutely nothing to address the area of the scale that is causing all the carnage excepting that it closes the margin of error and will catch people who are on the way up and could have BAC of around the .8-.9 mark BUT they only get a fine.

    This is why I say that the fine system will not last;

    A: Because the Government, the police and the industry all know there are big flaws in the BrAC system and people who have had 8-12 beers will still risk the drive home because they will have increasing knowledge of the possibility to game the system.

    B: As people become more aware of the variances, those who have been cautious and know they are under the BAC limit will challenge the machine and have blood work done, this will increase the expense to the prosecution and my forecast is that at least 23% will be found innocent.

    I can smell the smoke from the drink drive lawyers rubbing their hands already.

    Levi

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  56. Leviticus (2 comments) says:

    BTW if anyone wants to know how to ‘geustimate’ their BAC here are the values:

    1ml of Ethanol = .79 grams

    Metabolic rate of alcohol between 7-10 grams per hour

    absorption rate 45 mins -1hr depending on food

    loss through evaporation between 5-10%

    American standard blood volume is 75ml/kilo for men and 65ml/kilo for men. I find a arbitray value of 5000mls works for a safety buffer.

    So calculation would work like this:

    Amount of alcohol drunk (total volume of drinks multiplied by percentage) – 7 grams per hour since consumption till current time (metabolized)/5000(blood volume)x100 = current BAC value. (This calculation does not take into account evaporation, and is based on a low blood volume. In other words its a safe one).

    6×330 4% beers consumed over 6 hours:

    (6x 330=1,980mls)x.04 (%)=79.2 (mls of alcohol) x.79= 62.57grams -42 (7 grams/hour x six hours)= 20.57/5000 (blood volume) = 0.004 x100 =

    .04/100 BAC

    Just under the new limit. If you had two or three more sneaky ones inside the 6 hrs you would need to wait quite a bit longer as going over a limit means waiting one hour for every 7grams consumed and a standard beer has 10.5 grams in it so another two over the limit would mean 3-4 hrs sober up time.

    It is possible to drink the week stuff and actually maintain a very low constant BAC, if your out driving find a 3-2.5% beer and try for over an hour a drink. You could socialize for hours and still sweet as!

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