DRINK DRIVE LIMITS


Just a quick one for you. There is a  plan afoot to reduce the Drink-Drive alcohol limit here in Northern Ireland from the current UK figure of 80mls/100mls blood to 50mls/100mls. In one of those happy coincidences, this is also the EU directed figure. (Natch) The UK Government has rejected this but the NI Minister for Nanny State, Alex Attwood, knows better. He also aims to bring in a 20mls/100mls blood for young drivers and those who drive for a living, whatever that caveat means. I’ll be debating him tomorrow morning on BBC Nolan Show. I oppose this plan on the grounds that; a/There is no empirical evidence to prove that a reduction from 80mls to 50mls would save lives. Furthermore this new low limit could criminalise an entire glass of people whose crime would be to have a glass of wine one evening and drive the next morning. 2/He seeks to grant police the power to stop anyone who is driving without having any cause for concern. In essence it is stop and search – only drivers are the target. This is an obscene power grab as far as I can see. 3/The majority of drunk drivers are WAY above the limit. In what way does reducing the limit further deal with these people?  The BMA, NICE and lobby groups such as Brake all cheer this on and demand the Coalition follow. But I disagree. Thoughts?

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34 Responses to DRINK DRIVE LIMITS

  1. Radio2LunchTimeLoather says:

    What has this got to do with BBC and bias?
    http://lunchtimeloather.blogspot.com/

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  2. David vance says:

    1. The BBC is hosting the debate and 2/ I am simply seeking the opinion of readers if they seek to provide it.  

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    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      DV, will Nolan introduce you as a blogger who “writes about terrorism” this time, or what? :-D

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      • David vance says:

        I wouldn’ expect that good a build up  :-D

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        • David Preiser (USA) says:

          And how right you were.  Nolan introduced you as a “right-wing” blogger, but no partisan label was given to Atwood.  I guess everyone in NI knows his affiliation, but it does separate you out as being “the other”, while everyone else is with the Minister.  
           
          Although I think I have to give credit to Nolan for recognizing the dangers of giving the police power to make random stops.  Forget about the BAC for minute, this was a nice surprise hearing Nolan give him a seriously hard time.  
           
          Niice work, DV, calling out the hypocrisy of condemning stop-and-search in black areas of London, while demanding stop-and-search for whites in NI.  Nice job in general today, presenting a reasoned argument instead as opposed to the minister’s waffling and excuse that he wants to do it because Europe does it.

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  3. cjhartnett says:

    Talk about majoring on minor issues!
    With Mc Guinness on the prowl and an economy that lives off state largesse and little else, trust yet another trojan horse in the provinces to “push the boundaries” to a nil alcohol limit.
    These quislings and nannies just want to do blood tests and criminalise/hound the law abiding. It`s all about practicing physical tests to ensure compliance with whatever nanny in Brussels says. There is absolutely NO pressure from the public to play games with small variations in alcohol limits…only the BMA and other do-gooder busybodies want to mither the public into basically not drinking at all. They are just not honest enough to do it in one go…harry, pester and censor…cases brought to scare the others…it`s as if there were no riots to worry about in the summer!
    Maybe you should propose it goes up again to keep the small landlord in rural areas afloat whilst the economy “recovers”

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  4. London Calling says:

    (It’s David’s blog, he boss-man, he can do what he likes)

     It seems lost on politicians: people who don’t obey the law, won’t obey this “tougher” law either.

    I would rather they brought in the death penalty for those who drive uninsured, untaxed, and disqualified, and texting while driving. That is the greater risk for the rest of us on the road.



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    • Geyza says:

      It seems lost on politicians: people who don’t obey the law, won’t obey this “tougher” law either.

      It is typical of the nanny statism which has no common sense to it whatsoever.

      I mean, who in their right mind would support a policy of only allowing hardened criminals to have guns whilst removing them from ALL others including the responsible, law abiding?

      Yet this is precisely the result of banning guns.  ONLY hardened criminals have guns. Does this make anyone really feel safer?

      Criminals are armed and know that their victims are utterly defenceless.  It is insane.

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  5. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Yes, good angle to take regarding the potential criminalization of a whole new group of people.  The BBC was moaning about poor innocent lambs getting a criminal record during the riots, and have given plenty of air time to advocates for the legalization of drugs, all in the name of protecting children from getting a criminal record that will stain the rest of their lives, etc. Dropping the limit further will needelessly criminalize thousands, harming families, etc.

    How about telling Nolan that there should be greater consequences for those who get convicted for DUI according to the laws already on the books. Like, you know, they aren’t doing for so many other crimes these days.

    From an Alcoholics Anonymous blog:

    The average BAC among fatally injured drinking drivers is .16

    Twice the legal limit.  In other words, lowering the limit won’t stop any of that.

    High BAC drivers tend to be male, aged 25-35, and have a history of DWI convictions and polydrug abuse.

    Lowering the limit will not affect this either.  Properly enforcing the laws already on the books is more of a deterrent and prevents repeat offenses.  I realize this is a foreign concept to the BBC and wet magistrates and Liberty activists.

    Here’s some science to back up your position:

    Changing Drivers’ Perceptions Of Law Enforcement May Deter Drunk Driving


    Researchers from the University of Missouri and the University of Georgia found that the most important deterrence factors for high-risk drivers are their perceptions of the likelihood of being stopped or arrested and their support for deterrence laws.

    All U.S. states have laws designed to deter impaired driving, but there is little evidence on what works to deter drivers who have a high risk of drinking and driving. The researchers found that the existence of laws, such as the .08 blood alcohol content and open container restrictions, affect only those less likely to drink and drive, and the actual number of impaired driving arrests in a state has no significant effect on drivers’ likelihood of drinking and driving.

    Plus a bit of twisting the EU knife should be fun.

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  6. mister_choos says:

    You should mention the Grand Rapids study done in the US. It showed a decrease in accidents with levels from 0-50ish mg. The accident level only reached the same height as 0mg at something like 81mg. Therafter it steadily increased. That study (others have I believe replicated the findings) was the reason that 80mg was chosen. So real testable science was used to set the limit sensibly.

    Setting the level at 50mg would criminalise drivers who are actually safer than drivers who never drink at all.

    I don’t suppose they will take any notice as they only like science that confirms there own prejudices

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  7. ltwf1964 says:

    I actually think that driving a car with ANY alcohol should be a no-no

    but that’s just my humble opinion

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    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Maybe, but if the laws that already exist aren’t properly enforced, what’s the point?

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    • jim o shachter says:

      See my post above. You are safer driving at 50mg than 0mg

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    • LJ says:

      That would criminalise people who take cough mixture or drink a glass of wine in the evening and drive the next day. As stared above, people with less than 80ml do not show an increase in risk…..

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  8. tiger says:

    Just note the correct terminology before you walk into a right hook;

    Current limit 80mg/100ml not 80ml/100ml

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  9. David Adam says:

    “this new low limit could criminalise an entire glass of people” :-D

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  10. sarah haynes says:

    In complete agreement DV. Brake are a complete joke and won’t be happy until we’re all doing 10mph – no in fact they won’t happy until all cars are banned therefore ANY further regulation (as long as it’s sufficiently crippling) is good in their view.

    You might want to ask why Mr Attwood why he isn’t putting more time, money and effort into catching drivers with no insurance, those that continue to drive despite having been repeatedly banned and car thieves.

    Best of luck.

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    • David vance says:

      Thank you, Sarah. 

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    • Barry says:

      “You might want to ask Mr Attwood why he isn’t putting more time, money and effort into catching drivers with no insurance..”

      Exactly – particularly since technology can read number plates and, unless I’m mistaken, flag up an immediate warning if the car is untaxed or uninsured. Enforcement should be relatively easy. Has it got something to do with the origin of many of the offenders, by any chance?

      There are many dangers on the road but the authorities are obsessed with speed, regardless of road conditions, and alcohol, to the exclusion of everything else.

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  11. Teddy Bear says:

    It occurs to me that this is nothing more than a money maker.
    Those that get drunk way above the limit and drive are by definition irresponsible morons, unlikely to be productively employed, and catching them ends up being a further liability on the State. Fines unpaid, penalties ignored, incarceration expensive.

    The responsible being however, indulging in a social bevy after work can afford the fines, and it pays the State to go after them. This way it makes them look like they are really concerned about the dangers of drinking and driving, and fill their coffers at the same time.

    Also, how like the left to want the police to have unlimited powers at their control, with the claim ‘it’s for our own good’.

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  12. Phil says:

    I’m disappointed that this blog is being used to argue the case for allowing people to drive with alcohol in their system.

    There’s no need to do it, just as there’s no need for a TV licence to force us all to pay for dross like Eastenders.

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    • Teddy Bear says:

      I would say this blog is arguing the case against those who are abusing their powers by tackling the less vital and important issues in our society than the far more serious ones. Also, just where the BBC fit into all that with their own agenda. It’s far more insidious than producing crap like Eastenders – which admittedly is bad enough.

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    • Barry says:

      Sorry, don’t agree. As others have pointed out, lots of things can make a driver more dangerous. For instance I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been tailgated by someone on the phone.

      The evidence for small amounts of alcohol is not clear cut.

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    • Roland Deschain says:

      The issue isn’t about whether it’s right to drive with alcohol in the system per se.  It’s about the overbearing nannyism of the state, frequently aided and abetted by the BBC.

      If there’s good statistical evidence that driving with 50-80mg of alcohol is dangerous then I have no problem with it being outlawed.  But this figure keeps coming up with such wearisome regularity, yet without (as far as I’ve noticed) supporting statistics, that I have to wonder what other agenda there might be.

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  13. Roland Deschain says:

    At what point did the BMA morph from being a body dedicated to the treatment of people’s ailments into a nannying, interfering body that thinks it is their business to tell us how to live?

    What statistical evidence is there that drivers with 50-80mg are more likely to have accidents than those at 0-50?  I’d suggest you ask Nanny Attwood this question.

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    • London Calling says:

      The BMA is the “Trade Union” of Britain’s GPs. Its main purpose is to oppose every change proposed by the government of the day in how the NHS is run. It has no special competence in how we should live our lives.
      Neither has NICE, which also seems to be straying out side its remit, which is to determine which new drugs are (cost) effective and therefore approved for the NHS.

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  14. DP111 says:

    The gumint is short of money. We will see more and more of these type of scams.

    It seems the biggest scam/fraud of all – the AGW one, is not delivering enough loot for the gumnit.

    They want more. More. More.

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  15. ian says:

    So yet again, British politicians are bringing in a measure which they “think” is a good one, where really they’re just being EU shills. Smoking, drinking….next I suppose Brussels will tell the environment secretary to fine me for having a crap as it contributes to global warming.

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  16. edward bowman says:

    THE LAW, IT SEEMS, BELIEVES WE HAVE AN INALIABLE RIGHT TO DRIVE A CAR. WHERAS THE VERY BEST PUNISHEMENT FOR LETHAL DRIVING IS A PERMANENT DRIVING BAN COMBINED WITH MANDATORY 5 YEARS PRISON IF THE BAN IS BROKEN. IF SOMEONE GETS A GUN,GETS DRUNK AND WALKS DOWN THE STREET KILLING PEDESTRIANS THEY WOULD BE PROPERLY PUNISHED, IF THAT PERSON DECIDES TO DO THESE ACTS USING A CAR, THEN ITS PROBABLY FIVE YEARS IN JAIL PLUS A SIX MONTHS DRIVING BAN, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THEREFORE, IF YOU WANT TO KLL, USE A CAR.THERE SHOULD BE A COMPLETE BAN ON BOOZE DRIVING AS FEW OF US CAN CALCULATE THE EXACT LEGAL LIMIT

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    • London Calling says:

      Edward, notice any difference between your post and all the others? (Please turn your Caps Lock off, your shouting is hurting my ears!)

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    • Teddy Bear says:

      Let’s see, if we extend your logic then we find many things that can cause a lethal accident. Tiredness, loss of concentration due to billboards, mobile phones, arguments, pretty girls, listening to radio or music, smoking, etc.

      Then there is mechanical problems with the vehicle itself. How many times has Honda, who produces fine advanced cars on the whole, had to recall a model because of an inherent fault, without considering the huge number of worn out bangers being driven?

      The road condition itself – an oil slick, potholes, ice, rain, etc.

      Speed Kills – or so we’re told.

      So if we extend your logic we should stop human beings from driving altogether. Let’s implant computer chips in their brain at birth and they can remain in a coffin-like cubicle all their lives communicating virtually with everybody else. 

      Fact is, most responsible beings are aware of the inherent dangers and drive accordingly. If the problem is that our society is not producing as many responsible beings as it should THEN THAT’S THE PROBLEM!

      Nanny state is not the answer – unless you’re a lefty moron who can’t see further than their own noses.

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  17. Mr Monzonite says:

    You may wish to point out that while it is often mentioned how most EU states have a limit of 50 mg, most of those countries will not ban you from driving for that, you will just get points. At present we have a contrast, our limit is slightly higher at 80 mg, but we will punish you hard if you step over it.  Other countries set a lower limit, but if you maybe step over it by accident, you will not lose your license for a year.  To bring in 50 mg in this country while keeping our punishment the same would make us go far beyond what many EU countries do.

    On another slightly different point, there is evidence that alcohol in small quantities acts as a stimulant (we are talking small, less than half a pint of beer) and it is possible that driving improves as a result at that level.  I point it out because as a result there is little or no scientific evidence that the alcohol limit should be set at 0. 

    Lastly, I am a big supporter of our current arrangements, If I am driving I never have more than a pint, but I can be safe in the knowledge I will never be over the limit as a result.

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  18. Philip says:

    More leftist schoolmarm prohibitionism.. I think it’s sexual with them, you know.

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