Drink drive limits

Stuff reports:

Police have been accused of “scaring” motorists over the lower drink-driving limit, with suggestions people should avoid even a sip of the hard stuff.

Hospitality New Zealand has published a “rule of thumb” drinking-then-driving guide that will soon be placed in most bars and pubs in the country.

The guide, which has approval from government science agency ESR, recommends no more than three standard drinks over two hours for men, and two standard drinks over two hours for women.

It comes with caveats, such as how much and what types of foods you have been eating, and your size.

Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Bruce Robertson said the organisation was forced to act after police and the New Zealand Transport Agency dragged their heels over publicising how much can be drunk under the new limit, instead suggesting no-one should drink at all.

“Police should be enforcing the limit, not scaring people into drinking less than that,” he said.

“Clearly you can have a couple, and the public needs some clarity about that.”

Robertson hits out a one particular NZTA television advertisement, in which a woman is found over the limit after a couple of drinks at dinner.

“They are saying you have two drinks and you’re over, but our evidence is that just not accurate.”

I do wish the Police would focus on being the criminal Police not the moral Police.

The drink-driving limit was cut from 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath to 250mcg at the beginning of December 2014.

Since then, thousands of people have been caught driving below the old limit, accounting for nearly a third of all drink-driving offences.

The change has also coincided with a 14 per cent drop in the number of people caught with high levels – proof, police say, that the change is saving lives.

That isn’t proof the change is saving lives. That is proof that fewer people are caught with higher levels. It could well be saving lives but to know that one has to look at fatal crash data to see if the number involving alcohol has gone up or down.

In 2014 31 out of 171 dead drivers had blood alcohol over the legal limit. So it will be interesting to see what the 2015 data is, when complete. I hope it will be lower.

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