Thursday, July 29, 2010

The drink driving limit

While there are various opinions as to whether the drink driving limit should be changed, one of the justifications of not lowering the limit was more research is needed to be done. This 23 page report, released under the OIA, provides some of the research , particularly when comparing blood alcohol concentration ( BAC) at the 0.05 and the 0.08 levels.

Each year, drivers with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 are responsible for at least 7 deaths, 45 serious injuries and 102 minor injuries- at a social cost of $56.5m. Lowering the BAC to 0.05 is estimated to save between 15 and 33 lives, and prevent 320 to 386 injuries each year- at a savings of between $111m and $238m each year, and a savings of $28.5m on ACC claims.

Of note, if a person who has an accident with a BAC that is lower than 0.08, no recording of that count is required. Therefore, there are no stats on how many of the 1329 drivers suspected of having an alcohol impaired crash - but at lower than 0.08 - had a count between 0.05 and 0.08. This paper to a Cabinet committee recommended a lowering of the BAC levels for drink driving to make it equal to Australia, or to establish the level of crashes caused by drivers with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08.

The Government has chosen the latter. It could have chosen to do both. Or neither. But if hard data to establish the levels of crashes caused by drivers between these two levels is the missing research that the Government wanted, then I wonder why it took so long to announce that they will be collecting this data starting from sometime next year?




Anonymous Anonymous said...

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August 3, 2010 at 1:22 AM  

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