British road crash statistics: doubt on local alcohol policy
August 20, 2013
British road crash statistics throw fresh doubt on local alcohol policy
The hospitality sector says new research that shows road crashes in Britain decreased significantly after bars were permitted to stay open later throws fresh doubt on the Christchurch City Council’s draft local alcohol policy.
The policy, if implemented, would require all suburban bars to close at 1am, and all central city bars to implement a one-way door system from 1am and close at 3am.
The Lancaster University Management School research has found that, since the change to Britain’s licensing laws eight years ago, the number of road crashes reported to police dropped by more than 1500 a month.
The most significant reduction was among drivers aged 18 to 25, and most notable on Friday and Saturday nights.
Hospitality New Zealand’s Canterbury branch president, Peter Morrison, says the British statistics speak volumes.
“We have been saying all along that if you close the suburban bars at 1am and the central city bars at 3am, people will want to go somewhere else.
“They won’t just go home because the city council says they have to, so where are they going to go and how are they going to get there?”
Morrison agrees with the researchers’ comments that longer opening hours reduce the likelihood of young people getting behind the wheel to find somewhere else to continue drinking.
“If bars are forced to close earlier, we will see more people driving when they shouldn’t be. I have no doubt this is not the intention of the council’s draft policy, but this new international research suggests it could be an unintended, and very dangerous, consequence,” Morrison says.
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