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Drink Driving Enforcement Beats Lower Limit

4 December 2003
PR 245/2003
Drink Driving Enforcement Beats Lower Limit

A Government plan that will reportedly almost halve the drink-driving blood-alcohol limit risks making all rural people criminals, says Charlie Pedersen, Vice-President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"The government should ensure that the current 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood limit is properly enforced, rather than lower the limit to 50 mg," said Mr Pedersen

"Unlike city dwellers, rural people can't take a bus or catch a taxi home, or walk next door. If they want to socialise then they must drive."

Mr Pedersen said rural New Zealand had heeded the message to drink sparingly if driving, or to stay overnight if drinking too much. But lowering the maximum limit signalled that no one could drink alcohol with a meal and then drive.

"Where is the evidence that lowering the limit will actually reduce the road toll?

"No one wants to see deaths caused by alcohol, but we need to recognise the necessity of living in areas with no alternative forms of transport," he said.

"This initiative ignores drivers under the influence of marijuana, who largely escape the police dragnet. Perhaps more attention to this area would strain the relationship between Labour and the Greens," he said.


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