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Thread: Drink driving and the NZ law

  1. #31
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    Unlike the majority on this thread, I'm afraid I'm not in favour of 'zero tolerance'. Maybe 'zero tolerance' of those that exceed the legal limit, but not a total ban.

    When I got out for lunch or dinner, I do like to have a glass of wine or a pint of beer. It's been proven that drinking with food drastically reduces the level of alcohol in your bloodstream (although has the same effect on your liver!). I'll usually have it at the start of the meal and won't drive for at least another hour, usually more.

    Yes, I admit I am now at a higher risk of having an accident - a very small risk I'd argue. I recognise the arguments that the car is a complex piece of machinery that should not be operated by those with any alcohol in their bloodstream - my wife is certainly in that camp, but she'd be the first to stop me if she had any worries about me behind the wheel.

    As a society we always strive to strike a balance between risk minimisation and other factors. For example, we could put a fire station, hospital A&E departement and police station on every corner but that would clearly be impractical and cost the earth. We there balance the risk of an incident taking place against cost and practicality.

    I personally think we could reduce it to 0.5 (a definite one drink/2 units) rather than the current 0.8 (a possible 2 drinks) in the UK and NZ, and rigidly enforce that rule.

  2. #32
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    Sep 2004
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    Essex, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Croft View Post
    Unlike the majority on this thread, I'm afraid I'm not in favour of 'zero tolerance'. Maybe 'zero tolerance' of those that exceed the legal limit, but not a total ban.

    When I got out for lunch or dinner, I do like to have a glass of wine or a pint of beer. It's been proven that drinking with food drastically reduces the level of alcohol in your bloodstream (although has the same effect on your liver!). I'll usually have it at the start of the meal and won't drive for at least another hour, usually more.

    Yes, I admit I am now at a higher risk of having an accident - a very small risk I'd argue. I recognise the arguments that the car is a complex piece of machinery that should not be operated by those with any alcohol in their bloodstream - my wife is certainly in that camp, but she'd be the first to stop me if she had any worries about me behind the wheel.

    As a society we always strive to strike a balance between risk minimisation and other factors. For example, we could put a fire station, hospital A&E departement and police station on every corner but that would clearly be impractical and cost the earth. We there balance the risk of an incident taking place against cost and practicality.

    I personally think we could reduce it to 0.5 (a definite one drink/2 units) rather than the current 0.8 (a possible 2 drinks) in the UK and NZ, and rigidly enforce that rule.
    Very well put.

    I think everyone agrees that drunk driving is very wrong, however I doubt if my driving is any worse with one beer and a meal inside me than it is driving into work after a sleepless night with my 4 week old?????? What should we do ban people with new babies from driving as well?!
    May sound silly but I bet my reaction times are slower after 3 hours sleep than if I have 8 hours so whats the difference?

    I agree with zero tolerance but only zero tolerance to any exceptions over the prescribed legal limits - people have to be reponsible for their own actions not dictated every little detail on how to live their lives by a nanny state.....

  3. #33
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    Mar 2007
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    Wellington, was Austin, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lupin77 View Post
    Ok then, lets just find the very worst driver on the road and everyone can drink as much as they like provided their driving is better. What logic is this?!?! You admit you are a worse driver with one or two drinks inside you, so why have one or two drinks?

    It's not about who is the best driver but in what state are you best fit to drive.
    If I follow your argument to its logical conclusion, I should only drive if I'm at my peak - not when I'm overly tired, not when I'm overly aggressive due to too much coffee, not when I have a cold, etc. I agree that this would be the optimal state of affairs. However, if I understand your argument correctly, if I knowingly drive below my optimal ability, I should be put in jail or fined, regardless of whether I still drive competently.

    It's not a matter of macho, at least not for me. I have plenty of respect for those of you who refuse to drive after drinking; however, I disagree with your hard-line approach to those who differ from you.

  4. #34
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    Apr 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith C. View Post
    If I follow your argument to its logical conclusion, I should only drive if I'm at my peak - not when I'm overly tired, not when I'm overly aggressive due to too much coffee, not when I have a cold, etc. I agree that this would be the optimal state of affairs. However, if I understand your argument correctly, if I knowingly drive below my optimal ability, I should be put in jail or fined, regardless of whether I still drive competently.

    It's not a matter of macho, at least not for me. I have plenty of respect for those of you who refuse to drive after drinking; however, I disagree with your hard-line approach to those who differ from you.
    No, you shouldn't drive when "overly tired" or when you're "overly aggressive due to too much coffee" (!!!!) and neither should you drive if you have a cold that effects you badly. You especially shouldn't drive if you've taken a toxic substance known to effect your reaction times and judgement.

    Driving isn't a 'right', it's a responsibility.

  5. #35
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    May 2007
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    I agree with Paul and co. I don't see a need for zero tolerance in this matter. I feel that as in most things there needs to be a balanced approach. In an idealic world we would never drive except when we were at our best. In a realistic world we have jobs, children who go to school, chores that need doing, etc., etc. If people start having accidents all over the place while having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 then I'm sure the gov. will reconsider the level. Up til now I don't believe that this is the case and so I see no reason to change it.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by movefromus View Post
    I agree with Paul and co. I don't see a need for zero tolerance in this matter. I feel that as in most things there needs to be a balanced approach. In an idealic world we would never drive except when we were at our best. In a realistic world we have jobs, children who go to school, chores that need doing, etc., etc. If people start having accidents all over the place while having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 then I'm sure the gov. will reconsider the level. Up til now I don't believe that this is the case and so I see no reason to change it.
    You have too much faith in governments.

    When driving with a blood alcohol level over the current limit of 80mg, you are sixteen times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a sober driver*. The current level allows for serious impairment of essential driving skills.

    Almost all countries that have lowered their blood alcohol concentration to 50mg or lower have experienced reduced crashes, injuries and fatalities. Taking international reductions into account New Zealand could expect to save between 16-72 lives and between 640-1280 injuries a year. This is a substantial opportunity given that our road toll is stuck above 400 deaths per year and the goal is no more than 300.

    Williams says that while lowering blood alcohol limits is an effective tool targeting the whole of the population, additional specific measures are needed to combat the hard core of repeat offenders.

    There is strong public support for lowering the drink drive limits. Nearly 70% of submitters on the National Road Safety Strategy 2010 supported lowering the blood alcohol limits.
    Other countries such as OZ have already reduced their BAC to 0.05.

    If the estimates of saving 16-72 lives per year isn't enough reason to reduce the BAC then what is?

    Ian

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