A little while ago, I wrote an article on laws gone mad, and drew comparisons on the various levels of crimes and the punishments that apply. My point in that article was that the list of offences we can commit in our daily lives is ever increasing. Today, yet another example has developed, as Victoria’s head traffic cop, Robert Hill has stated that he would like to introduce a .02 Blood Alcohol limit to the states roads. He has also voiced his support for an increase to fixed and mobile speed cameras.
I have no issue with improving road safety, however surely we will reach a point when enough is enough. How far will the cops and road safety lobbyists take it?
Driving a car is dangerous. End of story.
You are not going to be able to achieve a zero road toll, which it seems advocates of the .02 BAC and increasing speed cameras are trying to deliver.
Robert hill has stated that drivers with BAC between .01 to .05 are three more likely to be involved in an accident. My only response to that would be to ask why we are setting limit of .02, that falls between those two readings? Surely the common sense of his statistics dictates we either make it 0.0 or leave it as it is.
I cant help but think the mentality behind .02 is that its more likely to bring revenue in, then making it a “No drink, No Drive” policy. How many drinks is .02? One? One and half? Two light beers?
It appears its yet another attempt to baffle and convince Aussies of something being a cold hard fact, when its actually not. Take the “Wipe Off 5” TAC commercials, which shows an accident scene walk through, where a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle travelling at 65kmh, the speed is then dropped to 60kmh and shows that the pedestrian receiving nothing but a bruised leg. So many variables are opened up by this advert campaign. Consider if the driver was doing the allowed speed of 60kmh and had glanced down to check his speed or looked out the side window at something for a split second, at precisely the time the pedestrian stepped in front of the car, the drivers reaction time is reduced and he would still have hit her. Perhaps consider if he was doing 70kmh, he would have safely driven by her. Most importantly, the pedestrian should not have stepped out in front a car from such a close distance, regardless of if he was doing 60, 65 or 70kmh. Stupidity and carelessness also kills.
What I am getting at is that accidents do happen and sometimes cannot be avoided, no matter how many laws and regulations are in place, and as the examples I have made above show, bad timing, or a stupid decision can just as easily cause a fatality on our roads, as somebody breaking a law. Vice versa, somebody breaking a law can easily avoid an accident in the same way.
How about for once we look into the cause of law breakers and address that? Instead of reaping the huge income off fining these people.
Why do people drink drive?
I for one think that in a lot of cases, and this is especially true in small towns, it is due to a terrible public transport or taxi service. I am sure there would be occasions when I may have been over the limit, and driven home simply because there was no other choice. Yes, admittedly, this was a situation I created and I should have made better transportation plans to get home. But sometimes spontaneous situations arise. We, as Australians, are a social people, and I am sure the same situation occurs on a daily basis, where people are forced to push the .05 limit and “run the gauntlet” home, purely because there is no other option left.
How about the TAC started investing more money in courtesy bus services? Or the government began to place regulations on Taxi response times and serviceability in small towns?
Take the example of the small coastal Victorian town of Queenscliff, where a Geelong based taxi regularly takes up to 2 hours to arrive, and quite often, does not arrive at all, despite being correctly booked and ordered. A proactive, small tour bus company began to provide a cheap, gold coin donation bus service, that was on call Thursday to Sunday nights. Eventually, the Taxi cab service, who provides the terrible response time and service, decided to complain to the powers that be, and the bus service was closed down. I can categorically say that drink driving was reduced by this service, and I am now sure it has returned to the high levels it previously was.
Instead of fining every Tom, Dick and Harry…how about cops actually think beyond the ticket book for once, and look at helping address the reasons people are drink driving.
Dropping the BAC to .02 isnt going to change anything, besides increasing the annual revenue.