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June 15, 2007

Drink Driving Limits

Jebus, this hoary old thing is coming up again.

Drivers face a drastic reduction in the drink-drive limit and the introduction of random roadside breath tests in a government crackdown on alcohol-related road deaths.

Stephen Ladyman, the roads minister, said a cut in the alcohol limit for motorists from 80mg to the European average of 50mg could be introduced, limiting drivers to a half pint of beer or small glass of wine.

Speaking after the publication of a Europe-wide study which showed the UK falling behind France and Sweden in reducing road deaths, Mr Ladyman said a public consultation this year would propose a reduction in the drink-drive limit.

Now which study would that be? Could it be this one? The one which very carefully does not tell us anything about the absolute levels of drink drive deaths, accidents or even the incidence of drink driving? It only tells us about relative performance in recent years? Now why would that be?

Could it be that that the UK is in fact doing very well indeed by these absolute levels? Ah, Yes, it could indeed be so:

Britain has one of the best overall road-safety records in Europe but its progress has stalled in recent years and Sweden and the Netherlands now have lower road-death rates.

Oh, you mean we've already done it? Third out of 27 are we? So why do we need to do more?

Even the Minister in charge of this new suggestion understands this:

Mr Ladyman said the figures did not take into account the fact that the UK had cracked down on road safety decades earlier than many countries, but he said tougher action was needed. "We need to be more ambitious and aggressive in trying to reduce casualties on the road."

Perhaps we do indeed need to be tougher but could we please have the accurate statistics first? Why, when we are number three out of 27, are we being asked adopt the policies of numbers 27 through 4 on the matter? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

One more thing, something I'm not 100% certain of but that I think is true. "Drink driving" statistics include all accidents where a car and alcohol are involved. So a stone cold sober driver hitting a drunk pedestrian is a "drink driving" incident. If this is indeed true (and it certainly used to be, my uncertainty is about whether it still is) then we'll never eradicate "drink driving" even if no one ever drinks and drives.

June 15, 2007 in Food and Drink | Permalink


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"We need to be more ambitious and aggressive..."

Why do I shiver whenever I hear a politician say something like that?

Posted by: sortapundit | Jun 15, 2007 1:39:44 PM