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Increase penalties, don't decrease limit

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

10 December 2003

Increase penalties, don't decrease limit

Lowering the blood alcohol limit will divert police attention from killer drivers, says National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall.

"If police are processing a drink-driver with a blood alcohol level between 51 and 80mg/100ml, a driver with a higher level - and a greater menace on the road - is likely to drive past undetected.

"Police have limited resources and they should target the greatest risks," says Mr Ryall.

"Since 1999, 187 drivers were fatally injured with blood alcohol levels over 80mg - the majority over 150mg. 12 drivers fatally injured had levels 50-80mg and 10 had levels 30-50mg.

"Research by Dr John Bailey for the AA, published in 2001, suggested that only 16% of drivers with an alcohol level over 200mg were disqualified from driving for over a year, compared with 8% of drivers between 81 and 120mg.

"As Dr Bailey says, this is hardly proportional to the risks posed by those drivers," says Mr Ryall.


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