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A deadly lie - drink driving on the up?

A deadly lie - drink driving on the up?
Candor Trust

The Governments determination to lower the alcohol limit to 0.05, now supported by a move of slyly lumping drug driving statistics in with NZ's ever reducing drink driving ones to create the misperception among the public that drink driving is on the rise, is filthy play. "They're persistently whipping up storms in tea-cups, whilst studiously evading discussion of interventions the evidence suggests", say Candor Trust Workers.

Candor Trust says that given the current record low harm from drink driving experienced by NZ in the last year the inflated statistics ploy (as used in a headline news article) is clearly motivated by "revenue hunger," and a flagrant and deliberate disregard for the nuances of the on road evidence about the form of the impaired driving issue. The deception (if successful) may have important Public and personal safety implications.

Beneath a misleading subheader "Drunk Drivers" the Dominion Post has just published recent statistics covering drink (not drunk) and drugged driving. The claim was made that "the number of drink/drug road deaths increased to 128 last year from 109 in 2006".

The claim as it has been stated, due to the omission of breakdown details, and the proximal subheader accentuating the alcohol rather than the cannabis component (which isn't even made explicit) is misleading - and concerning in an article that is concerned with debate about law changes.

The latest provisional results from the Police / ESR control of drink and drugged drivers study provide breakdowns which show that traffic risk drugs have far outstripped alcohol used at risky levels as a fatal crash contributant. New Zealands drink driving results are creditable and receiving much International praise.

From June 2006 - July 2007 New Zealand had a record low of drunk driver deaths. Only 35 were killed on the road - down from 73 in 2003 and 162 in 1989. Sadly though the cause for celebration is non existent due to cannabis crash harm replacing the reductions made in drink driving.

In the same time period that only 35 drink drivers (under 10% ofthe toll) were killed no less than 71 drivers met their death under the influence of delta 9 thc (the active ingredient of cannabis). The cannabis crash epidemic is the sole reason for the failure to reduce our drunk and drug related road toll in the last year - not rampant alcohol intoxication as Harry Duynhoven, ACC, Police and ALAC who've all mounted the 0.05 limit bandwagon seem to be promoting.

Analyses of the Police / ESR deceased driver study within a Waikato University thesis revealed that the cannabis impaired deceased drivers in New Zealand have typically either not used alcohol or have used alcohol at very low levels. As there is fewer than 5 drivers on average dying at 0.05 - 0.08 and in recent years none over 30 the pot drink cocktailers (whose risk rating is equivalent to being at double the alcohol limit) would not be captured by a 0.05 limit.

Is it good that Harry Duynhoven told the Dominion Post after making ill informed comment in support of a 0.05 reduction that he is very keen to see the results of a Government sponsored study which presumably supports the revenue grab. What planet is he on asks Candor Trust - he is clearly more interested in waffle than real on road events and solutions.

As an evidence based road safety advocate the Candor Trust just can not get thrilled at Mr Duynhovens assurance that his Government would like to move forward with doing something that does not actually address the impaired driving issue - status quo..

"We're not thrilled - it's more like a thriller". Trust Coordinator Rachael Ford says "if Labour wants results as much as we do, then it would do better to address the actual DUI problem after first understanding it, rather than a manufactured one of the current limit needing changing. Treasury is just wanting to rake in easy fines pickings and that is a tragedy for road safety".

For adults a 0.05 limit on the silent evidence of deceased drivers blood contents will do zip to dent the main fatality family - drivers with super low alcohol readings who have been using cannabis. They are 100x more dangerous than sole drink drivers between 0.05 and 0.08 as per solid research conducted in Europe and Australia.

All of these fundamentals that define NZ's impaired driving problem are obviously being reflected in the numbers of pot driver coffins that keep piling up, while Harry and Co turn a blind eye as they harp on irrelevancies in their media spiels.

The move to a zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20 is able to help address the real impaired driving problem experienced on NZ roads - it reduces somewhat the main risk for young drivers of combining alcohol with cannabis, but does not go nearly far enough in only targeting those not fully licensed. Random youth drug testing is also needed.

The comment of Jos Mason, whose husband was killed by a repeat drink-driver that the breath-alcohol rate should be zero is far more "evidence based" than any of this 0.05 false hope offered by the Government and stoolies.

The only way to reduce drink driving harm (sole or combined wirth drugs) is to fully remove alcohol from the equation, say Candor. But to remove rather than chip away at the DUI harm NZ must also seriously attend to the rampant drugged driving culture.

Packaging this component up as part of the drink/drug driving statistical increase in so called news articles to bolster the false argument that drink driving is "skyrocketing," when factually it is plummeting thanks to the hard work of many, is plainly a fraudulent and diversionary tactic.

The citizens whose consent to an alcohol limit drop is currently being engineered by Government PR Consultants and "sell out" groups should perhaps consider thinking twice about the now heterogenous make up of New Zealands impaired driving problem. Before they click their possibly media moulded opinion into any major news site push polls that are out there seeking to gauge the success of the big lie machine..


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