Headlines again!

Today’s NZ Herald has the shocking headline “75pc of teen pubgoers go over limit”. It goes on to say they were “too drunk to drive”.

The only problem is that there is a big difference between being “drunk” and being “over the driving limit”. In fact this is why people now refer to it as drink driving, not drunk driving – because (sensibly) the limit for safe use of a motor vehicle is set well below what is generally regarded as drunk.

Also young drivers have a breath/blood alcohol limit which is one quarter of the normal limit. Now it is not clear which limit is being used, but if it is the former one then more than one glass of alcohol can put you over that limit. So the actual facts may be 75% of young drinkers have a second drink!

As one further reads the article, you learn that in fact only 8% were extremely drunk, and 52% were not even moderately intoxicated.

What would have been really useful in this article would be to give an actual breakdown of the breath alcohol levels in the sample, so one could see what is meant by “extremely drunk”, “moderately intoxicated” and “over the limit”.

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