Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Driver Behind This Is Europe, Not Safety…

The Tories opposed reductions in the drink-drive limit in opposition, instead suggesting improved enforcement of the existing rules.

But insiders say it will be difficult for Mr Hammond to dismiss out of hand the findings of a comprehensive review concluding there is 'a strong case' for a lower limit.
Oh, indeed. The perfect get-out clause, isn’t it?

‘Well, I thought it was a bad idea, but now they’ve come up with all this evidence, well…’

And who led the way in this?
Sir Peter North is understood to have been persuaded a change in the law - the biggest since the introduction of the breathalyser 40 years ago - is justified by evidence on the number of casualties that could be avoided.

Doctors have claimed that the change would save the economy £120m a year by reducing medical costs and lost working time.
So, doctors are in favour because it means fewer accident victims to treat.

But has the cost of the increased police and court activity been factored in? God knows, this chap must be kicking himself he got caught before these proposed new laws allowing random stops came into effect!

And in the haste to emulate Europe in everything, will we get some of the benefits too?

Well, don’t fall for this glimmer of light on the horizon:
Penalties for drivers breaking the new limit, however, could be less than for the existing one. Currently, anyone caught drink-driving faces a minimum ban of 12 months and a £5,000 fine.

But most nations with lower limits only fine drivers or give them points for minor breaches.
Yes, I can’t see this one getting past the Righteous without an almighty battle.

I can’t see the ConDems thinking it’s worth the hassle, can you?

11 comments:

teacher.paris said...

I met a Brit in the Middle East who was not a drunkard. Oops. I was wrong.

Curmudgeon said...

Given that cutting the drink-drive limit would hit three of the favourite targets of the Righteous – drivers, pubs and country-dwellers – with one stone, it is perhaps surprising that New Labour never plucked up the courage to do it during thirteen years of office.

I look forward to the sight of iDave going round all the country pubs in his rural Oxfordshire constituency explaining why he plans to put them out of business.

Dippyness. said...

Always thought best way was an outright ban on drinking & driving.
Make life easier all round. You drive, you don't have any alcohol.
My other beef has been the losing your license if caught with drinking & driving.
Give big fine & loads of points, but if no accident involved why take license...Yes did happen to me many moons ago.. :(

banned said...

The potential number of lives said to be saved by this proposed measure rose from 124pa yesterday morning to "around 200" at lunchtime but this was trumped on BBC Radio 2 5pm news who raised it to '300'.

Making it up as they go along.
Anyone got any comparison safety from other nations with more stringent laws?

Curmudgeon said...

But an "outright ban on drinking and driving" is also an outright ban on driving for a very long time after drinking anything. That's not a road safety measure, it's back-door Prohibition for anyone with a driving licence.

Anonymous said...

The real questions that should be asked are these:

Firstly, how many drunk drivers do the police pull who are right at the alcohol limit at around 80 to 85 scores, opposed to way over the limit?

Secondly, are drivers at the upper limit worse drivers than those at the lower limit?

I personally find the untested hypothesis that lowering the limit would save lives to be most unconvincing; most drink drivers who get caught are alcoholics who are stupendously over the limit. Random breath testing would of course catch a lot more people who are over the lower limit from the boozing of the night before, but it is most unlikely that these people would cause much trouble if left alone.

The downside to random breath testing is that more and more, the police start to look like just another street gang out to mug the public for whatever trumped up misdemeanour that can be proven. They're bad enough as it is, what with speed cameras, dodgy laser traps and the imfamous "Points win prizes" policing methods introduced by Labour, along with the gibberingly insane drugs policy of recent years.

DerekP said...

"the findings of a comprehensive review concluding there is 'a strong case' for a lower limit."

Cough - bollocks - cough.

Let's see the evidence and the report from this 'comprehensive review'. Don't have a problem with transparency and scrutiny, do you?


"number of casualties that could be avoided"

So, not the number of deaths that could be avoided? Well, hell, why not outlaw alcohol altogether? Think of the number of alcohol related casualties that don't involve driving - don't they involve medical costs? Or maybe that's the direction you want to go in and you've selected drivers as a handy sub-group to target first?

Any money from alcohol sales going towards the NHS at all? Yes? Then make sure it's enough to cover the costs, shut the fuck up about this, and get on with some rather important changes to fix similar bollocks inflicted on us by Liebore.

Over the last 13 years we should have learnt to never, fucking never, trust a meddling self-righteous review/report which has not been open to public scrutiny.

Angry Exile said...

Wot Curmudgeon said. Want to drive home? Did you have a bit of the sherry trifle? Oh, you didn't know there was sherry in it? Well, you might not be banned if you can persuade the court you really didn't know, but just the fact that you'll have to beg a court for your licence over a bit of fucking trifle is a pretty big deal.

Look, the reason for lowering the limit is to shrink the political width of the English Channel a little more. It's lower in parts of the EU, that's all. That those areas tend to fine rather than ban drivers at the lower limit doesn't enter into it, and nor does whether or not their roads are safer than the UK's.

On top of all that it's utter crap, just like practically all hard limits. I almost never drink so my alcohol tolerance is like a ten year old's. If I have a glass of champers at a wedding I'll assume I'm not fit to drive for a bit because I will feel fairly pissed, but because I'm a big bloke I'm probably not over the limit. On the other hand another guy my size who drinks enough to have a strong tolerance for alcohol might have enough to send him over the limit without his driving being affected as much as mine.

Better to test for impairment rather than X amount of one particular substance of the hundreds that can affect driving. Not only will you catch two-pot screamers like me who'll be shitfaced before the limit but you'll get people who are off their dial on drugs or prescriptions. You might even pick up people who aren't safe because they're tired or unwell. Sure, it means the cops having to do those roadside sobriety tests that the Yanks like, and that takes time which in turn means $$$. But it'd probably take more bad drivers off the road without banning those for whom the limit is set too low.

Jiks said...

As I don't drive I think I can be pretty unbiased on this one. It's utter bollocks to say this is safety related, as other have said it's another step towards prohibition, simple as.

I guess the idea is it will be illegal to drink if you have a job to drive to the next morning. Too many of these U-turns along such lines from the Collective, sorry Coalition recently.

JuliaM said...

"Given that cutting the drink-drive limit would hit three of the favourite targets of the Righteous – drivers, pubs and country-dwellers – with one stone, it is perhaps surprising that New Labour never plucked up the courage to do it during thirteen years of office. "

If something was considered 'not a good idea' by Labour, you think they'd take the hint...

"Always thought best way was an outright ban on drinking & driving.
Make life easier all round. You drive, you don't have any alcohol."


That's the rule I've always followed.

"...but this was trumped on BBC Radio 2 5pm news who raised it to '300'."

Pretty soon, it'll be more than ever died in the first place!

"I personally find the untested hypothesis that lowering the limit would save lives to be most unconvincing; most drink drivers who get caught are alcoholics who are stupendously over the limit."

A caller to the 'Jeremy Vine' show made that point too. And he was a policeman.

JuliaM said...

"Or maybe that's the direction you want to go in and you've selected drivers as a handy sub-group to target first?"

I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was indeed the long-term goal.

"Better to test for impairment rather than X amount of one particular substance of the hundreds that can affect driving."

Quite. But that takes effort, and is a little subjective, and methods can be challenged in court by clever lawyers.

Far easier to have an absolute ban. For the sake of convenience rather than safety.

"I guess the idea is it will be illegal to drink if you have a job to drive to the next morning."

We do appear to be careening down that route...