Is it just me, or has there been an article appear almost daily in the media for the last few weeks, advocating a drop in the legal blood alcohol level for driving?
If this is not an orchestrated campaign, it’s a bloody coincidence.
Today the Press reports:
Health experts have joined the call for a lower drink-driving limit after a horror week on New Zealand roads.
The pressure comes weeks before a Cabinet decision on whether it will lower the blood-alcohol limit from 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres to 50mg as part of its 10-year road-safety strategy, called Safer Journeys.
Twenty-one people have died in 14 road accidents over the past seven days, with an elderly woman pedestrian killed when she was struck by a vehicle in the Bay of Plenty town of Paengaroa the latest victim.
Police said alcohol was believed to have played a part in five of the crashes.
And in how many of them did the driver had a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08?
In the official stats for 2008, only one (yes one) driver aged over 25 killed in a car crash had a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08.
Here is the research I would want the Government to undertake, before making a law change:
- How many drivers currently drive with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08. This will quantify how many people may be criminalised by a law change. This can be determined by collecting data at random checkpoints.
- How many accidents (fatal and non fatal) are caused by drivers with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08. The existing data is incomplete. We need at least a year where an effort is made to get this data for every crash.
- What has happened in countries where the BAC is lowered from 0.08 to 0.05 (and no other road safety change occurred at the same time) in terms of number of prosecutions for having excess blood alcohol, and number of accidents. In other words did it change behaviour, or just lead to more people prosecuted?