NZ Herald: Letter to Editor

Many people seem opposed to the lowering of the blood alcohol limit as proposed by Paul Swain. However, since the present blood alcohol limit of 80mg was established in 1978, research has shown that important driving skills including vision, steering and braking are adversely affected by small amounts of alcohol. At the present limit, drivers are at least five times more likely to have a crash than before drinking.

International trends have shown that a 50mg limit dramatically reduces drink driving, saves lives and reduces injuries from alcohol-related road crashes. The greatest reduction was seen in Queensland, Australia with an 18 percent reduction in fatal collisions and a 14 percent reduction in serious accidents.

Lowering the limit does not target the problem of recidivist drink drivers, and separate strategies are required for this. However, Australian research found that lowering the limit has a big impact on reducing the number of drivers with a high blood alcohol concentration.

People’s lives are precious and the rights of people to live a full and injury free life should be held in a much higher regard than the “rights” of people to drive impaired.

Angela Baxter
Alcohol Healthwatch