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AHW's Drink Drive Figures Fanciful

AHW's Drink Drive Figures Fanciful

The Candor Trust is outraged at ludicrous figures allegedly represented at an Auckland road safety conference by the Alcohol Health Watch Group as possible trauma reductions, if a lower adult limit were bought in. It is unsavoury that an assortment of Government related groups are willing to tie their masts to the 0.05 saves lives campaign, which is heavily anchored in a foundation of fairly blatant lies

The tall tale or (hoping against hope) misprinted numbers, conveyed in a Waitakere Council Press release, but attributed to an Alcohol Health Watch paper was that a drop to 0.05 limit would result in 1280 fewer serious road injuries.

The figure perhaps conjured up to win converts to the revenue and anti alcohol driven 0.05 cause (one unsupported by mostf DUI victim groups) is glaringly fictitious. A recent thorough scientific analyses for the Ministry of Transport conducted by Jeanne Breen, OBE, an International Road Safety Policy Consultant, said that at most 260 injuries (the majority not serious), out of a sum total of several thousand, could perhaps be averted by a lower limit.

Candor Trust does not support basing road safety education or important "life or death" policy debate upon drug war fantasies or cooking up of the statistic books by either Government or it's mouthpieces. "To do that in the road safety field seems dangerously irresponsible, however much one might personally oppose the use, abuse or harms wrought by alcohol, says Candor Representative Ed Radley.

Added on to this worryingly inaccurate AHW dramatisation of proposed benefits of 0.05 (a great cash cow) that were being fed to Waitakere Council’s Culture and Community Committee was a further bombardment of serious road safety misinformation, one having it's wellspring in Superintendent Kelly.

Candor is alarmed that he asserted that the most effective measure for seeing a reduction in our road toll is to lower the blood alcohol concentration to 0.05.. This is quite incorrect - the Policeman or those dictating his publicity materials are on the wrong trail. The two leading transport academics in New Zealand have both strongly disputed that a reduced limit would have much impact, and studies of the foreign experience of reduced limits have repeatedly shown no durable effect,

It is all very well for Superintendant Kelly to allege that other Countries experienced post 0.05 legislation trauma reductions, but he fails to mention this is inevitably a 5 minute wonder. Long range studies like that one referenced below have shown that in the fatally injured and accident-involved drivers who were breath tested by the police there was no marked change in the percentage at or above 0.08 following reductions in the alcohol limit*

Strong evidence has emerged in several Countries that the most effective road safety intervention is far from being lower limits. Addressing recidivism with ignition interlocks and drug drivers as well would be 6-10x more powerful than a reduced limit would truly be for saving lives and reducing injuries. Unlike the silly season statistics trotted out at the Waitakere Conference - this estimate of benefits is fully supportable by wide research and overseas experience.

*Reduction in the Legal Blood Alcohol Limit from 0.08 - 0.05; Effects on Drink Driving and Alcohol Related Crashes in Adelaide, A McLean*, C Kloeden, R McColl** and R Laslett***. *Univ. of Adelaide, S.A. **Traffic Intelligence Service, S.A. Police *** Breath Analysis Section, S.A. Police


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