Friday, 15 June 2007

Government proposals to cut drink drive limit

The UK Government could be cut the drink drive limit.

The UK ‘Roads Minister’ Stephen Ladyman, said the Department for Transport would be producing proposals for a consultation later in the year on reducing the drink drive limit, after Ministers have come under increasing pressure from the British Medical Association and road safety groups.

The limit is likely to be reduced from 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood down to 50 milligrams.

Apparently several police forces have ‘voiced alarm' that the "do not drink and drive" message was not reaching young motorists.

The Department for Transport’s figures show that there were 1,050 17 to 19 year olds involved in drink drive accidents in 2005, compared to 810 a decade ago. That’s a difference of 240 accidents in a year. What was the spread of severity? How many involved injury? What level of damage. How are they measuring these figs now compared to a decade ago.

The figures and portentious pronouncements all sound laudable and plausible, on the surface - if you are really thinking about what you are planning to do this week end instead of actually paying attention.

For a moment lets pretend we can believe Government Statistics and that the way they measure them and what they measure hasn’t changed several times over the period to render them unreliable.

Do they mention how much over the limit these 17 to 19 year olds were? Because if they were not somewhere between 50 and 80 milligrams then lowering the limit wouldn’t make a jot of difference would it?

Do these figures include passengers? If so were there actually more accidents, or just more car sharing... No surely they wouldn't have included passengers.

If they were over the limit of 80 then they would also have been well over a 50 limit and if they were not swayed by the penalties, risk of being caught - and dangers - of driving whilst impaired, then they were just not convinced and would be no more likely to heed a 50 limit than the 80.

It would probably be far more effective to actually increase their likelihood of being caught over the 80 limit.

Now the British Medical Association involvement - exactly how are they experts on road safety? When you think about it they are no more qualified to pronounce on this particular matter than my postman. Just because they may be qualified to practice medicine it doesn’t make them expert plumbers or trapeze artists - No they are just pushing their anti alcohol agenda again.

How many agendas are operating here?

Consider - Just how low can the limit go before, practically speaking, you will not be able to have a modest drink in the evening if you want to be able to pass a breath test whilst driving to work the following morning? Is it a sneaky way of forcing a reduction in general alcohol consumption tailored to, or below, their recommended number of units?

Also could this recent Government enthusiasm for looking at a 50 limit have anything to do with the fact that in the EU the UK, Ireland and Luxembourg are now alone in retaining the 80mg limit?

From what I understand all the others (except Sweden at 20) have reduced their limit to 50mg, are they looking to standardise legislation?

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