The Herald reports:

The Government has decided not to lower the blood-alcohol limit for for the moment.

It had been considering lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit from from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams. But Transport Minister said today that the Government will first do some New Zealand-specific research on the level of risk posed by drivers with a blood alcohol limit between 0.05 and 0.08.

I am so pleased about this. I am not 100% opposed to a reduction in the BAC limit, but have strongly submitted that there was not enough research to justify a change.

I have previously blogged at how there was only one driver aged over 25 killed in a road accident who had a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08. What we don’t know is how many people do actually drive with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08, and hence what the cost of a law change would be measured against the benefits.

The Government has also announced:

  • A zero drink drive limit for recidivist drink drivers.
  • A zero drink drive limit for drivers under 20 years of age.
  • Much tougher penalties for serious offences causing death and drink driving causing death.
  • The introduction of alcohol interlocks for repeat drink-drivers.

The zero limit for recidivist drink drivers is a very good idea, as are the alcohol interlocks. Far better to prevent an accident, than punish someone afterwards with sensible targeting of recidivist offenders.

I’m pleased to see the Government exercise independent judgement on this issue, and not just do everything that the (taxpayer funded) lobby groups demand.

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