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    The North Report on drink/drug driving


    by earwicga on 17th June, 2010 at 11:41 am    

    The North Review on drink and drug driving is in and has provided the coalition with 51 reasonable recommendations - 28 regarding drink driving and 23 regarding drug driving (pages 15-20 of the report).

    Perhaps the biggest change that North recommends is the reduction in alcohol levels allowed before driving, from 80mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood to 50mg.  This would contribute to a reduction to the current situation of 430 deaths and 1600 serious injuries caused annually by drink drivers.  The estimate of 43-168 lives that would be saved annually have been garnered from experiences in other countries such as Switzerland.  North did not estimate the reduction in numbers for serious injuries. 

    The review found that:

    Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of between 20 mg/100 ml and 50 mg/100 ml have at least a three times greater risk of dying in a vehicle crash than those drivers who have no alcohol in their blood. This risk increases to at least six times with a BAC between 50 mg/100 ml and 80 mg/100 ml, and to 11 times with a BAC between 80 mg/100 ml and 100 mg/100 ml.

    Despite this threefold increased risk of death, a limit of 20mg (the lowest level to allow for alcohol in mouthwash or medicine) is not recommended, disappointing many including Brake whose research shows that drivers would like a clear unambigious message on drink driving instead of individuals guessing how much alcohol is allowed.  I agree with Brake when they state ‘No one needs to drive after drinking or taking impairing drugs’ therefore there is no need for a 50mg level, a 20mg level is far more appropriate. 

    Transport Minister, Phillip Hammond has said he will consider this report, but the Conservatives have not supported a reduction to 50mg in the past, their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats have.


         
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    1. sunny hundal

      New Post: The North Report on drink/drug driving http://bit.ly/cnjszH


    2. sunny hundal

      Blog post:: http://bit.ly/cnjszH




    1. douglas clark — on 17th June, 2010 at 3:11 pm  

      Earwigca,

      You are careful to not state your conclusion on this?

      It seems to me that someone that kills someone through drunk driving is already caught in the criminal law. They have killed someone?

      It is a long time ago, but it used to be acceptable to drink and drive. Subject to walking a line - did you ever wonder where that expression came from?

      It was, as far as I know, never acceptable to kill people whilst driving. Even when I was drunk, and driving.

      Will this simply increase the ‘feel good’ idea of what being a human being is, or will it actually stop deaths?

      No.

      It is another ratchet on the state having power. I do not agree with Rumblod very much, but the right do what you please, unless it harms others, is subverted completely by your submission to some sort of collective responsibility for individial human harm.

      I may have been drunk sometimes. I was never enraged, and I never killed anyone.

      That is the text you follow.

      It is completely ridiculous.

      The assumption is that, when drink comes down, rage follows.

      Well, no it doesn’t.

      The Police were lying to you.

      And they won.

      It is utterly wrong to listen to the Police.

    2. cjcjc — on 17th June, 2010 at 3:47 pm  

      Douglas, were you drunk when you wrote that?!

    3. earwicga — on 17th June, 2010 at 4:47 pm  

      douglas - I stated in the post ‘there is no need for a 50mg level, a 20mg level is far more appropriate.’ Nobody should get behind a driving wheel after they have had a drink.

      The evidence, some of which I included in the post, and more of which is available in the report is that a reduction to 50mg DOES reduce deaths and injuries, and a further reduction to 20mg Does reduce deaths and injuries.

      The report didn’t look at sentencing for drunk drivers after they have killed which is why I didn’t include a comment on that in the OP.

      There is a recommendation to increase the powers of the police to stop drivers and test them for drink or drugs, which makes sense until you look at how they have abused Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, and indeed other laws.

      I have no idea really what the rest of your comment is about. Are you saying we should have the *right* to drive whilst drunk or on drugs, and that all those who may encounter us have the *right* to be killed or injured?

    4. Fred — on 17th June, 2010 at 5:09 pm  

      Why not ban driving at night, and mandate 30mph speed limiters in all vehicles? If the only consideration is to save lives, then no measures are too extreme if they can accomplish that. Of course, only a simpleton would argue as if the only consideration was road safety, I think.

    5. Don — on 17th June, 2010 at 5:17 pm  

      Douglas,

      It’s not about drink induced rage, it’s about slower reaction times, impaired judgement, impaired spatial awareness… stuff that causes death.

      The problem of drug testing is that a positive test can be returned several weeks after last use, which makes it less of a road safety issue and more of a civil liberties one.

    6. earwicga — on 17th June, 2010 at 5:55 pm  

      Don - if a driver ‘passes’ the Field Impairment Test (FIT) then there is no need for further testing. The FIT is sumarised on page 128 of the report and is much the same as the ‘walking the line’ that douglas looks fondly back on.

      The report doesn’t mention any issues to do with the effectiveness of drug testing as it doesn’t fall within it’s remit, but almost half of the drug recommendations are concerned with research and training.

    7. douglas clark — on 17th June, 2010 at 6:17 pm  

      cjcjc @ 2,

      No, I wasn’t.

      The point is that what was acceptable some time ago is no longer acceptable. We become, consequently, like clones. It is surprising, to say the least, to see you on the side of the clones.

      I can see the arguement now for not smoking and driving. It is an affront to the righteous morons that have taken our state over in the name of their righteous moronity. That is what they do, and it is a fucking religion to them.

      Don, whom I usually have enormous respect for, takes the party line about reaction times.

      The argueement at the time was never about that. It was about insane drivers, wound up by alcohol, driving like Toad of Toad Hall, which is probably, truly, a load of rubbish.

      So, I suspect. It now now has a new psychological buzzword - ‘Road Rage’!

      Can’y blame the deaths on alcohol no more, blame it on something else…

      That is probably down to being to sober.

      How many folk have been killed by sober drivers since the law was changed?

      How many people, prosecuted for being drunk drivers have ever, actually, killed anyone?

      It is smoke and mirrors….

    8. earwicga — on 17th June, 2010 at 6:22 pm  

      douglas - try reading the report. You are raging against accepted facts that aren’t in the least ambigious.

    9. douglas clark — on 17th June, 2010 at 6:36 pm  

      Earwigca,

      I am in a controversial frame of mind.

      you say:

      The review found that:

      Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of between 20 mg/100 ml and 50 mg/100 ml have at least a three times greater risk of dying in a vehicle crash than those drivers who have no alcohol in their blood. This risk increases to at least six times with a BAC between 50 mg/100 ml and 80 mg/100 ml, and to 11 times with a BAC between 80 mg/100 ml and 100 mg/100 ml.

      Well, it is surprising I am alive then!

      You are taking tendentious ‘evidence’ as true.

      It is also worth looking at the statistics in a different way. How many people that are driving cars, out of the total population of car drivers, actually die? How many of them can be conclusively proven to have killed someone else rather than themselves?

      I think we are talking very small numbers here, less than statistically significant, although probably journalistically - a bombshell.

      That is what the media does, all the time. It alarms folk for no good reason.

      So.

      If they have exclusively killed themselves - which is what the evidence is apparently based on - then, perhaps, they should be up for a Darwin Award. Otherwise, who cares?

    10. douglas clark — on 17th June, 2010 at 6:43 pm  

      Earwicga @ 8,

      You are right, I am raging. On the basis that you see the ‘facts’ as accepted.

      There are all sorts of caveats to anything the government says about statistics.

      Five out of six people that are killed on the road are killed by sober people.

    11. douglas clark — on 17th June, 2010 at 6:44 pm  

      Earwicga,

      You are right, I am raging. On the basis that you see the ‘facts’ as accepted.

      There are all sorts of caveats to anything the government says about statistics.

      Five out of six people that are killed on the road are killed by sober people.

      On that basis, no-one should be allowed to drive.

    12. douglas clark — on 17th June, 2010 at 6:46 pm  

      Oops!

    13. Javid — on 17th June, 2010 at 7:36 pm  

      Look forward to the Daily Telegraph article on this
      “Will Non-Muslim leaders condemn drinking and driving?”

    14. janey — on 17th June, 2010 at 9:04 pm  

      What?!!

    15. cjcjc — on 17th June, 2010 at 9:17 pm  

      Rage, rage against the dying of the light

      Of course I have some sympathy with your view that there is no reason why road deaths caused by excess alcohol should be treated as more “costly” than those caused by excess speed.

      It’s not something I would go to the stake for though.

    16. dinna — on 17th June, 2010 at 9:40 pm  

      what about drunken posting?

      Any proposal to reduce that (ehm, Clark, ehm)?!

    17. alexa — on 18th June, 2010 at 1:08 pm  

      Clark is just pissed when posting. Should be an offence too!!!

    18. earwicga — on 18th June, 2010 at 5:27 pm  

      douglas - 99% of deaths on the roads are caused by sock wearing drivers. Therefore we should ban socks.

    19. Don — on 18th June, 2010 at 6:03 pm  

      Douglas,

      That’s not a party line, mate, that’s many years of empirical observation. Drink messes with your ability to perform complex (and eventually simple) tasks. I selflessly did the research and it was conclusive. Some of it was so conclusive I can’t even remember what it was.

    20. earwicga — on 18th June, 2010 at 8:01 pm  

      Don, I vaguely doing that selfless research too ;)

    21. Vikrant — on 19th June, 2010 at 2:15 am  

      Some of it was so conclusive I can’t even remember what it was.

      I could do some of my own research tonight… i need to forget that English footy team exists!

    22. Katy Newton — on 19th June, 2010 at 8:23 am  

      At school we did an experiment to demonstrate how alcohol affects your reaction times. We were all very excited about it because it involved being allowed to get DRUNK in front of ADULTS. The way it worked was that we each had a touchpad which had a red light and a button. As soon as you saw the red light go on you were supposed to hit the button, and the machine measured your reaction time. You did one light without a drink, then you had a drink, then you did it again, etc.

      After four drinks the deterioration in everyone’s reaction time was extreme - it took me about ten seconds to react after the fourth drink. If I was driving at 25 or 30 mph, and I’d had four drinks, and someone ran out in front of the car, I know that it could take me ten seconds to hit the brake. It isn’t about road rage. You could be pootling along at 20mph and feeing all happy and flowery. It’s about the cumulative deadening of all of your normal instinctive reactions. That’s what puts people at risk if you drink and drive.

      @Douglas: I take your point that people are also killed on the road by sober people, but personally I take the view that driving is already so dangerous that I won’t make it more so by having a drink before I do it.

    23. Sarah AB — on 19th June, 2010 at 11:06 am  

      Katy - did you go to a particularly progressive school?! Four drinks is quite a lot.



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