Safety campaigner backs alcohol law change, calls for more
Safety campaigner backs alcohol law change, but calls for more.
The government’s announcement that it will lower the blood alcohol limit for all drivers is a welcome start, but doesn’t go far enough, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.
Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an active road safety campaigner, says:
“Research shows that lowering the amount of alcohol that a person can legally drink before driving, reduces crashes.”
However, says Matthew-Wilson, the main benefit of this legislation will be to end the habit of drivers having ‘a few drinks after work.’
“We have a national culture based around pubs and clubs, where being mildly drunk after work is considered normal and acceptable. When the legal limit for alcohol is lowered, drivers eventually realise that they’re not going to get away with this lifestyle any more. It’s this change of drinking culture that is the biggest benefit.”
Matthew-Wilson cautions, however, that the highest risk groups will largely ignore the new legislation.
“Young working-class males will continue to get blotto after work, because that’s normal in those circles. If they get caught for drink driving, they will generally regard this as simple bad luck.”
Matthew-Wilson, who spent many years as a motor mechanic, adds:
“I recently spent an evening at a South Auckland panelbeaters’ shop. There were six employees, all of whom started drinking heavily at 5pm. By 6pm they were drunk and aggressive; by 7pm they were blotto. At 11pm, they all got up, yawned and drove home.”
“That’s the entrenched working class culture of substance abuse. It will take a generation or more to turn this around.”
“These guys don’t think about the consequences of their actions: that’s the problem. They don’t sit down and consider what they do before they act.
Matthew-Wilson says prosecuting employers who allow drivers to drink on their premises would be more likely to reduce the risk of drink-driving by the highest risk groups.