Why stricter drink drive laws are wrong

Kevin Ash
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The news is that the Scottish government is to lower the drink-drive limit as a priority, bringing forward plans to introduce a 50mg limit in place of the current UK-wide 80mg limit.

It's getting cross party support too, and why not, drink drivers kill people and if it saves lives, then how can you argue against it?

But it's not that simple. The current 80mg limit has been extremely effective, with endless statistics in need of no spin or manipulation proving how the law has saved lives. They've been so convincing, and the law has aligned so well with what the majority of us intuitively feel and know about drink and driving or riding, that it has become genuinely socially unacceptable to drink too much before taking charge of a vehicle.

In the 1970s you'd be considered clever for knowing a route home from the pub that avoided the police, so you can down a few more pints. Now someone would call the police about you, and they'd have a lot of support for that too.

Compare that with speeding, where draconian enforcement of unrealistically restrictive laws has had the opposite effect - few people are bothered about admitting to a speeding conviction on their licence, where they'd hold their heads in shame having to tell someone they have a drunk-driving charge.

A 50mg limit is taking us down the over-enforcement speeding route. While the evidence that an 80mg works is unequivocal, there is little convincing proof that less has a significant effect on our ability to drive. This is at the same level as being a bit tired or being a bit under the weather, so by rights it should also become illegal to drive or ride with a cold.

The statistics do confirm this: nearly 20 per cent of drivers killed have more than 80mg/100ml of alcohol in their blood, yet less than two per cent have between 50mg and 80mg. There's no suggestion either that the alcohol was in any way responsible for these deaths, it just happened to be there.

50mg is at the level where any gains are disproportionate to the effort that must go into enforcing the law and on wider ramifications. It means you'll be borderline legal after one pint of beer, depending on your size and constitution, which means a perfectly harmless drink that endangers no one could lose you your job, get you imprisoned even, lose you your licence and possibly ruin your life.

The mantra that if it saves one life, it's worth it, is shallow thinking and simply not true. All our resources are finite, so if you pour excessive effort into one area, as you would need to here in order to make this silly law work, then it must come away from other areas which would be much more cost and time effective. Speeding enforcement once again shows how this has happened.

A lower alcohol limit will also affect our beloved country pubs, already struggling with the effects of smoking bans and cheap supermarket alcohol. Riding out to one for a half of bitter is hardly worth the effort, and even if you do it's not exactly going to fill the pub's tills. In Scotland where they're further apart as it is, it'll be even less attractive.

The 50mg limit is a politically motivated one designed to make politicians look caring and proactive, but it will achieve nothing except bringing the drink-drive law into disrepute and destroying a powerful cultural change in attitude built up over four decades. No lives will be saved but plenty will be damaged by the law itself.

Rupert Bear
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What happens when you run over a pedestrian with 60mg of alcohol in your blood stream in circumstances where if you were stone cold sober,you would have still run him or her over...?..because they were not looking or drunk them selves.If we go down this road, it should be illegal to walk down the street if you are over the same limit as an individual who happened to be driving a car or bike...?

Big Guy
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It is 50mg (.05%) in Australia having come down from 80mg some years back. In Western Australia at least, from .05 to .08 attracts a fine only as if you were speeding. .08 and above attracts mandatory suspension of licence commencing at 3 months for a first offender and depending on the percentage of alcohol in the blood (i.e. first offence with a high reading may be a higher initial suspension).

My estimation of the stigma attached to drink driving offences is that the .05 to .08 on the spot fine is considered similarly to a speeding ticket. I don't think there is a material increase in the public shame of having such an offence against your name. However, where the low level offence hurts is when you have to disclose it to insurance or car hire companies (the latter usually for insurance reasons). I am aware that some companies will not insure a person with any sort of alcohol related conviction. I can only presume that an alcohol reading above .05 in an accident may see a claim rejected.

I think there is a lack of proper analysis applied to this and a number of other issues (e.g. 'speed kills') and for popular political reasons we are lumped with draconian laws predicated on flawed or at least thin analysis in an attempt to demonstrate that policy makers are adequately addressing the issue of road trauma. Sadly, while politicians have to be elected every few years by electorates that are increasingly unable to properly evaluate the issues, causes and effects, I think we are stuck with this crap.

Navy Boy
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Well said Big Guy.

As the proliferation of speed cameras has been accompanied by a consistent drop in the numbers of dedicated traffic police in the UK I fear that Kev may be right on this one. Resources are already strained as it is and there's simply far too little evidence that this extra measure will actually help.

I feel that 80mg is about right in terms of being the point beyond which you are very much into diminishing returns. Interestingly for years now the age group at highest risk of being caught for drink driving has been the 45+ age group, not the 17-25 as many would assume.

This is as a direct result of years of very effective advertising and education, started at school level. It's worked too - Whether a lower limit would actually change people's behaviour further is a moot point.

shuggiemac
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First of all as a Scot and I know this is not a popular view with many of my countrymen, the Scottish Parliament is a complete and utter waste of time, space and money. Full of slack jowled morons who try to push through measures that they know grab easy headlines and try to make them look wonderful. You may have guessed I am no fan.

I am also an ex-pat, now living in the Czech Republic, in no small measure because of the growth of that devolution bull. Over here there is a very simple rule on alcohol and it is a level of 0. I was a strong opponent of it when I first arrived and I am not saying that it is right or wrong. I will say however that I soon got used to it and what it does remove is the ambiguity as hinted at by Kevin, in that the new proposed limit is just about a pint. There is no guess work in saying that you may be ok to half a half pint, or if you are a 6 foot 6, 24 stone bloater that three will be fine. You very simply don't have anything and that is the beginning and end of the story.

The enforcement issue is not really effected either way as basically if you get stopped for any reason, or are in a crash then you are liable to a breath test.

It has its flaws for sure but there are powerful arguments in favour of it. I do miss having a pint with lunch when I am out on a ride but in all honesty it is no big deal.

As I say I am neither endorsing nor discrediting the way it is just pointing out that there is another system in operation and this in a country that loves its beer.

pittsy
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The zero limit is not as clear cut as it first appears. How long after having a drink or drinks, of varying degrees of strength/volume etc, is an individual back to zero?

It seems just as flawed, in it's own way, as our own rule. Arguably worse. I'm not saying devising a law is easy...

unconventional rebel
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I think the key is Kev's statement about "if it saves one life it's worth it", is a key one. Not just shallow thinking but politically very dangerous. An extension of this logic would be to ban rugby, horse riding, boxing, heck pretty much all sport, not to mention DIY and eating cream cakes.

You could ban all private vehicles - or perhaps mechanise everything so nice safe robots do all the driving? At a maximum speed of 15mph of course in case something goes wrong. And no home mechanics either! Oh no, far too dangerous!! (And the ban is on the EU horizon...)

Pretty much all human activiy could be controled and regulated by those in power using this stupid argument, drinking alchohol, buying more than 6 paracetamol, or a paint stripping tool at B&Q (Yes, I had to get a checkout girl to authorise I was over 18 and able to cope with the danger...). But if it saves one life!!!

No, it isn't worth it. I do not want to live wrapped up in cotton wool with every conceivable risk analysed, regulated, insured against and banned. We are all going to die, wether we want to or not, so actually no lives will be saved at all, just a few maybe lengthened a bit. At what cost though? I want to actually live a bit before I do go.

silvercub
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With a paint stripper?

And shouldn't there be an exemption for those who drink beer at room temperature?

pittsy
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Not sure about the paint. But the stripper I could go with. Way hay.

unconventional rebel
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No no no no Mr Silvercub, not room temperature, cellar temperature. Dearie me. But I do agree with your sentiment.

And Pittsy, I think you will find you have to be a responsible adult to have a stripper now, although I believe you can still play with paint.

By the way did you know Kinder eggs are banned in the USA? People can't be trusted not to eat the toy apparently.

pittsy
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UcR said: "......perhaps mechanise everything so nice safe robots do all the driving?"

So we can have a pint or two.

Navy_Steve
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In the U.S. the "legal limit" is .08 (roughly equivalent to your 80mg) lowered from the 0.1 some years ago "in the interest of saving just one life." That's a load of bull, politicians will always tout the "one life saving" proponents of what ever it is they are trying to cram down our throats. It has nothing to do with saving lives, it has everything to do with generating revenue. With people actually trying to avoid the shame of a drunk driving charge and not imbibing, the government was losing revenue and had to step in and come up with a new evil, that wasn't the 0.1 blood-alcohol drivers, it was the .08. So casting the net wider enabled the revenue generating police force grab a larger catch. If you are charged with drunk driving the newspaper will print your name along with your BAC, "John Doe was convicted with a drunk driving charge with a .15 BAC, that's nearly twice the legal limit." What they fail to mention is that .15 is only about a pint more than the "old" legal limit of 0.1. Now, in the interest of public safety, there are random sobriety check points where, in complete violation of our 4th Amendment rights, you are required to blow into the breathalyzer before you are allowed to proceed. Failure to comply results in an immediate charge of drunk driving.

I'm in the U.S. Navy, and we have a long tradition of working hard and playing hard "drunken sailor" comes to mind. But we are in the ongoing process of trying to change our image, or at least have our image changed (read: change tradition). Many ships now have set up sobriety check points on the pier. When coming to work in the morning you are required blow into the breathalyzer before you can proceed. The limit? It is now 0.01. Yes, .01, a good shot of Listerine will put you over the limit.

shuggiemac
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pittsy wrote:
The zero limit is not as clear cut as it first appears. How long after having a drink or drinks, of varying degrees of strength/volume etc, is an individual back to zero?

It seems just as flawed, in it's own way, as our own rule. Arguably worse. I'm not saying devising a law is easy...

I think the level itself is quite clear cut. Zero is zero. However your point about how long it takes to get back to zero is true. Though it is equally as valid an argument for any numerical limit be it 0, 0.8 or 1.1 etc. A friend of mine was out on a Friday night a few back, had a few pints and was nabbed at 10am on Saturday morning with a reading of 0.03 I think it was. He is now walking for 6 months. I do feel this is very harsh but it is what it is and I don't really know the answer, though some sensible leeway given to the police would be a start. Mind you that opens up a whole other can of worms.

There will always be people who will give not a jot what the limit is and drive/ride smashed. They can not be legislated for and we can only hope they all get caught and don't hurt anyone before they do. In having a limit however there are also a lot of people who will drink until they feel that they are just at it and that seems to be a flawed methodology to me. The zero limit certainly changes a lot of peoples actions but the harsh side is as I have illustrated above. As I have mentioned before I have adapted to the zero limit here, as I have to and overall it has not been any great hardship to do so.

Captain Scarlet
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As a teenager I remember being half cut on one ride and one drive, something I'm not particularly proud of, but as one-off's over the period of my lifetime, I'm probably not in the minority males in that respect either. After a rear wheel lock up (it was raining) on the bike and nearly falling asleep at the wheel in the car, that was more than enough to never repeat the stupidity.

Since then, I've never drunk (even half a pint) before climbing onto a motorcycle for a ride and diligently stuck to one lunchtime pint or two over a full evening if driving. As Shuggs said, it's been no hardship, I have a house full of alcohol if I want to get blathered and just invite friends to stay over if I don't want to drink alone. If I go to a pub it's for social reasons not to get hammered like a teenager.

My view would be that it's not so much the limit that concerns me, but the interpretation by folk as to what equates to say 80 mg? Is it two glasses of wine, two soft pints, one bottle of premium lager? And that's not clear cut either, because the heavier you are the better you are at cleansing your bloodstream of alcohol. People just don't know, because it's simply subjective. Or some, particularly the young, think they are okay to have three late-evening pints because the kebab they'll eat after closing will quickly 'soak' it up.

The body is quite efficient at cleansing impurities, but it still takes a little time. So if a 100 kg man has three pints (5% by vol) from 20:00 he will start off with 68mg in his bloodstream, about 1% of his total blood. But it will still be well after 22:00 before he drops to a legal 50mg, about 0.7% of his blood. I've got an xls that works all this out, for anyone that is curious as to how quickly their body might shed alcohol. If you want a copy, drop me a line: richard.ian.dunn@gmail.com.

I've been hit head-on whilst riding by a big bull-bar'd SUV, who understeered around a sharp bend onto my side of was the road, and I can vouch for multiple compound fractures smarting, especially when the docs pull your limbs straight again without painkillers. So, I'm probably biased in my view that using potentially lethal killing machines under any degree of impairment is unequivocally bad do-do IMPO.

My personal preference would be to say that the letter of the law is a zero limit. But that anyone found to have more than 50 mg in their system when breathalyzed will be fined very heavily indeed. At least £1000. Plus an instant 30d ban, and one day 'you twat' awareness training by the police, for a first offense.

I.e. Whilst there can always be ambiguity as to whether someone is on the drink-drive 'limit'. If the limit is zero and you register that you've had one or two drinks, as a minimum, then there is no ambiguity that you've had 'an alcoholic drink' and broken the law.

I don't have children, but if I did and I lived in a 30 mph speed limit zone, I'd feel happier if people drove passed my door at 60 mph as alert as a caffeine addled meerkat, than at 25 mph drunk as a Lord. An out to lunch drunk driver moving at 10 mph veering onto the wrong side of the road can still easily kill people. And what's the key objective of stopping drink driving if it's not to save 'other' people's lives?

roundincircles
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I had a pint in the company of some police riders and asked them why so many people risk driving after a drink. For the middle age plus there is no shame in it was their response .

They also admitted that there were few patrol cars on the road so only accidents revealed the drink driver.

But it is back to self management and responsible behaviour. A taxi ride home is a bargain.

Navy Boy
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CS - Your final paragraph highlights one of my fundamental objections to the use of speed cameras as what I term 'Policing on the cheap'. A camera will not catch the drunk driver doing less than the pre-determined speed limit but who poses a far greater risk to all around him then a fully alert person doing 40 in a 30 zone in the middle of the night when it poses negligable risk to anything or anyone.

This coupled with the corresponding reduction in numbers of dedicated police patrol cars and/or traffic police simply makes the matter worse.

Jumping on the 50mg bandwagon is simply that - Posturing for the sake of scoring cheap political points. Nothing more and nothing less.

unconventional rebel
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We can all agree that drink driving is wrong, stupid and dangerous. The debate is how to stop people doing it.

If a mate gets tanked up and banned no-one is sympathetic, if a friend gets banned because he had a few drinks the previous night and has the equivalent of quarter a pint of beer in his blood the next morning, then many would be sympathetic. Few would question his ability to drive safely. Prosecuted people may now be seen as victims (like with camera speeding tickets), the law in danger of being seen as an ass, then widely ignored.

If we start to loose the personal/social responsibility not to drink & drive, combined with a lack of police patrol cars, then we could end up with a bigger problem than before. Add the fact that many (most??) banned drivers actually keep on driving (even if just to get to work), only now it's without insurance. I think this is the sort of thing Kev's article is getting at.

Of course the easy way to beat the zero limit and still have a 'good' night out is to pop some pills, do a line or smoke a spliff or two. No risk from the breathalyser now. And if you think the irresposible element of todays party animals can't get hold of this alternative then think again....

Captain Scarlet
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"if a friend gets banned because he had a few drinks the previous night and has the equivalent of quarter a pint of beer in his blood the next morning, then many would be sympathetic"
... if a 100kg man drinks a strong 5% volume pint at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12pm (six pints, then by 02:00 he's under the legal limit and between 06:00-07:00 he has zero alcohol in his bloodstream. There really are no excuses only old wives tails. He doesn't still feel 'drunk' when he gets up (that part is when you're feeling good still), he feels dehydrated and ill, nothing more.

I agree that the police are a reactive service nowadays and their lack of presence, replaced by GATSO's, is insulting, if public safety is always supposed to be the top priority. It's also noteworthy that alcohol isn't the only recreational drug, which won't be picked up unless they are stopped by the police and suspected as being under the influence of something not registering on the breathalyzer.

But lets not confuse stuff that's hard to verify by the police (a night of pot smoking say) versus something that isn't (if someone registers 50 mg of alcohol). Nobody believes that a reduction in the limit is a holy grail answer to 'all' impairments of driving. Poor eyesight and too easy drivers tests could be other non drug related issues for instance. However I can see some pros to a reduction, but I cannot see any cons apart from some feeling emasculated by having to drink something without an alcohol content?

Some will rightly say it's about self control as RIC intimates. But how many of you have had a couple of lunchtime pints on a hot summers day and then thought to yourself, what I really need is another few pints? I know I'm not in a minority in having thought that to myself. And the younger we are the more we forget to realize that we are feeling like that, because alcohol 'is' a drug. Being young, stupid and lacking driving skills whilst sober is a recipe for disaster, never mind adding alcohol - just as it is middle aged and upwards guys assuming that their learned skill will see them home down the quieter backroads without incident. The easiest way IMHO to reduce the negative aspects or drink and driving is to remove the legality of having 'some' drug intake to start with.

It's an interesting debate because I like the freedom to have a drink with a meal and drive home. But I have no problem controlling the limit. It's easy for me to think that others have a problem controlling their own limit and that may be true. However it may also be true that they will drink and drive irrelevant of what the legal limit is anyway and that would be fair comment too.

Like the gun culture in the States it never has been and never will be an easy problem to solve. I have a concealed carry license (gun) but do not own a firearm. I like the idea of having a handgun at home for domestic defense (every burglar in the states will be carrying), but there are risks, even if you know what you're doing - example: my neighbor a long time shooter accidentally blew a hole through his bedroom wall last weekend with his shotgun, after a noise woke him in the night and he picked it up whilst half asleep! When I ask Americans why they have guns they always say two things: a) protection and b) it's my right. When I politely point out that if guns were banned there'd be no need to own one, or that just because something had always been a certain way it doesn't make it right, they look at me as though I've just told them I have a highly contagious fatal disease. We are united by our convictions and divided by our solution.

Change isn't easy. It's hard. It requires strong views and tough stances. I don't have all the answers to gun culture or a drink drive culture. But as the Colorado Bat Man movie shootings show this week, there's certainly large scope for improvement in both areas. I for one wouldn't object to a reduction in the legal limit for alcohol in the bloodstream. But where do we stop? Ban motorcycles because we might hurt ourselves and others should a jay-walker step off the curb?

unconventional rebel
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Captain Scarlet wrote:
"if a friend gets banned because he had a few drinks the previous night and has the equivalent of quarter a pint of beer in his blood the next morning, then many would be sympathetic"
... if a 100kg man drinks a strong 5% volume pint at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12pm (six pints, then by 02:00 he's under the legal limit and between 06:00-07:00 he has zero alcohol in his bloodstream.

My prior post/arguement only makes sense on the assumption that these figures are wrong, but I have no expertise in this area so am open to being shown wrong!

The NHS website states that alcohol leaves the bloodstream at very aproximately one unit (3 units per pint of 5.2% beer) per hour. This figure will vary from person to person obviously but lets stick to an average. If we run with the Captains example there could still be traces of alchohol in the blood 18 hours later. If I leave for work at 7am and have my last drink at 11pm then 3 ordinary pints could see me banned.

Note, beer here (England) is only an average of 5% vol. many are a fair bit stronger - the very nice pint of real ale I'm enjoying now is 6.3%, a strong pint is up to 8%.

Big Guy
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Regarding the other substances, the 'innovative' Western Australian police also test for 'drug' driving. I am not sure what drugs they test for (at least pot) but, I presume the evil paracetamol or ascorbic acid will be high on the list.

Captain Scarlet
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'I have no expertise in this area so am open to being shown wrong!'
... good comment and one I concur with regards myself 100%. I've been using an old xls I got from the BMI site (I think!)at least a decade ago. I'll have to revisit my spreado to see how that compares vs modern thinking.

I quick Google suggests that generically speaking, alcohol leaves your system at a rate of .015 per hour.

So the blood alcohol content (BAC), leaving the system, for an average sized male, would equate to:

A BAC of .08 (legal limit US, circa same UK) will take about 5.33 hours to leave your system.

A BAC of .15 will take about 10 hours to leave your system.

I believe there are other dependencies though. So in the last example if you downed four pints (twice over the limit) in five minutes (wahay!) at 19:00, in theory you'd be good to go (although you'd probably want to 'go' immediately bladder wise) by 05:00. However, if you had a pint at 7, 8, 9 & 10 pm then your body is likely to be more efficient at cleansing the system, as it's not overloaded all at once, so you could be legal to drive by say 03:00 or 04:00?

I guess it's safe to assume that maybe six pints or more and you're in potential trouble driving to work first thing. But seriously, six or more pints on a school night? That's just asking for trouble anyway! Make it a Friday or Saturday night and then consider leaving driving the next day until early afternoon. After several pints it's pretty easy to sleep in anyway :-D

Rocker66
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A zero limit applies to our train drivers so why not to vehicle drivers? No drinking 24 hours before reporting for duty is the guide so this could be used by drivers. Simple party friday night drive sunday morning.
I don't expect this view to be popular but at least it would make it clearer what you can or can't drink

unconventional rebel
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Is it solving a problem? How many accidents are there involving under the limit drivers? We could do with some proper figures before producing yet more legislation.

Lets face facts folks, the easiest way to cut accident stats is to ban motorcycles, after all we don't have to ride any more than we have to drink. We could take the bus, or a car or something. We could definately ban pillion riders who are at serious risk from anothers actions for no real reason.

I for one would rather err on the side of freedom to have an accident rather than face ever more draconian legislation with only one logical conclusion, particulaly if there are no actual figures to show it would make much of a difference.

I joined MAG many years ago when the govt banned righthand sidecars because the were 'dangerous', despite there being no recorded serious accidents involving one in the UK, ever. Compulsory leg protecters came next, then power limits then ever more stringent learner legisation. Now it's compulsory Hi Viz, banning almost all bike modifications, compulsory daytime headlights on all vehicles, and of course the zero limit.

Incidently Friday night parties are fine for those who don't work weekends. How about those who work 6 (or even 7) days a week?

Rocker66
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iI often work up to 11 days at a stretch so just have a relaxing drink when I can.The Friday night Sunday morning thing was just an exqample If riding was banned I would loose my job as I do not have a car licence work 37 miles from home and being in public transport usualy start before the first buses or trains or finish after the last.
I agree that some laws are stupid and unjustified but some are a good idea such as those banning carrying guns or knives. I put drink driving rules in the same catagory.
It is quite simple I make a personal choice if I want to drink I don't ride if I want to ride I don't drink.

unconventional rebel
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For myself it makes no difference. I don't drink much, never get drunk and walk to work. But I keep coming back to my previous arguments.

Before risking such a law I'd like to see evidence. If no one ever got stabbed why ban carrying knives? Particulaly if someone was to lose their job over it. If I saw some figures showing that people with legal levels of alcohol crashed a lot then it would probably be worth the negatives.
If there is no such evidence then why legislate?

Or do we follow the shallow 'if it saved one life' argument then follow it to it's logical conclusion?

Rocker66
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Surely there is more than sufficent evidence to prove that the consumption of alcahol impairs your ability to drive

Captain Scarlet
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Under limits drivers have 'accidents', but over the limits drivers could be argued to have some manslaughter style intent in lieu of them having precognitive comprehension that consuming more than the legal limit would be in all probability likely to impair their ability to judge situations quickly and they could make false judgments because of slowed reactions.

The accident statistics do seem sufficiently proven, but I would say are technically irrelevant, because the Governmental Medical Institutes globally have concluded in their professional opinions, pretty much the same thing (hence similar legal limits) that a couple of pints is about right for the average bloke, the word over.

Leg protectors, Hi-Viz and zero limits were things that never happened and I personally doubt ever will in England or America. Daytime running lights were one of the best things ever to happen to bikes IMPO. If loud pipes save lives, then so does good illumination too - there is, after all, no evidence to suggest, that more bikes have been tail-ended or t-boned as a direct result of having a more visual attracting persona.

"It is quite simple I make a personal choice if I want to drink I don't ride if I want to ride I don't drink."
... vive la difference, but I share your philosophy too.

I don't think the man is trying to take my freedom away from me, any more than I would if a copper stopped me at random, asked to see my ID and searched me for no reason whatsoever than he felt like it. Rather than worrying about my civil rights, I'd be glad to feel that public protection is paramount to the authorities. It's the sort of thing that I want them to fund with my wages.

If you ask any gun carrier in America why they carry, they will say because they have the 'right' to bear arms. But excessive freedom can and does have frequent deadly consequences. When it's just yourself you spread across the road, that's your prerogative. But when it's potentially others lives and the lives that they interact with, a commons sense approach has to be taken, and IMPO that means drawing a commons sense line.

unconventional rebel
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Captain Scarlet wrote:

Leg protectors, Hi-Viz and zero limits were things that never happened and I personally doubt ever will in England or America. Daytime running lights were one of the best things ever to happen to bikes IMPO.

The only reason leg protectors didn't come in was due to the extensive lobbying and demonstrations of groups such as MAG. It certainly wasn't down to lack of trying on the Govts part.
Hi Viz is already compulsory in Ireland and in France. Brussels tried hard to introduce it across Europe but met heavy resistance from organised riders so this has not gone ahead so far.
Daytime lights on bikes are one thing, the current proposal is for ALL vehicles, so the advantage gained for bikes will be by and large lost.

Our govt is already researching compulsory speed limiters on bikes (and as far as I know all vehicles, many comercial vehicles have had them for years of course). Using the same logic as zero alcohol limits it is hard to argue against. Speed does kill. There is a significant, well documented, problem with excessive speeds resulting in deaths and serious injuries to third parties (like drink driving), and all limiters would do is ensure we observe the law. It is undoubtedly true that lives will be saved(?) so of course as sensible careful riders we would all be behind this?

Captain Scarlet
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"The only reason leg protectors didn't come in was due to the extensive lobbying and demonstrations of groups such as MAG. It certainly wasn't down to lack of trying on the Govts part."
... I'm not personally convinced that Ian Mutch and co lobbying actually made all that much difference. I think that the government speaking to manufacturers, who informed them that not only would it drastically affect sales in lieu of the R&D, additional production costs, the fugly end result, but more importantly all proposed designs were more likely to be leg breakers than savers. And they simply came to a common sense consensus that it was a stupid idea, clearly thunk up by a non motorcyclist, after all. I should say that I am pro what MAG/FEM etc stand for and that I believe they do good work that is often blown out of proportion by the media in terms of the press making a bigger meal out of things that will never happen and then out of lobbying wins, when more often than not all that has happened is pragmatic decisions have taken place. I do remember a time when I nearly sold my XR2 to fund a new ZX10, because I was petrified that the Euro-Zealots would mandate a 125 hp limit, which meant that would be my last chance to own the most powerful motorcycle that anyone would ever own. That thought put a smile on my face as I rode my SRR home, which made 50% more power at the rear wheel than the big Kwack ever did. In fact my Adventure bike makes more power than that now!

I thought you would sight Ireland and France, which is why I specifically stated England and America. But, how many decades have France had a 100 bhp limit? I believe(d) that we (England) were to get that 'imminently' periodically ever since, but it never happened. And as mention, IMPO, it never will. You do make a very good point about the daytime lights being for 'all' vehicles. I guess it's catch 22 as we all often see cars at dust and dawn without their lights on. Sometimes at night in the pitch darkness, but in town centres, without them on too. On the whole i'd prefer cars not to have them too, because as you say it negates our advantage/distinction and we just know that many cars are going to have their lights set at the wrong level to help blind us! :-D

I don't think speed limiters are coming (speeding is too much of a cash cow revenue) but what will be mandatory in time, is tamper-proof vehicle black boxes. The government will push them based on the facts (and actual fact) that they will help build a clearer picture in serious accident situations. But the reality is, that they will want to catch us (and fine us) for speeding, without police cars or even having to have cameras or radar guns. In fact, we'll probably 'pay' extra for the privilege to speed, in the same way that we pay extra on this side of the pond to use the light traffic high congestion avoidance lanes. I worked for a company last year that puts the technology into luxury brand cars. I.e. It's already fitted. It has in built accelerometers and geo mapping GPS. So, for instance the owners insurance company can tell how fast the driver accelerates, how many miles they drive, the hours of the days they drive and how many junctions they have to change direction. From this, they can build a profile and map it against a risk matrices. If you seem high risk, you'll get a high premium - suffice to make you want to leave them. If you seem low risk, you'll get an average renewal premium. The insurance companies can't tell if you are speeding. Yet. But that's not because the tech isn't there already. And they can work out the average A-B times vs mileage. But the police would be very interested wouldn't they? I predict sales of cruise control and Harley's to increase exponentially before 2020! And alarm sales to die a death because vehicle tracking will be simple for police. I've used all this tech and it works reliably. It's probably a question of when rather than if on that one. I might have to have a mid life crisis and buy a convertible then - it'll be the closest thing I can get to something that's fun to use at legal speeds that's not a motorcycle!

Like drinking and riding, speeding is already an offense, so in that respect they are treated the same. And in direct answer to your question, yes, us bikers should be both anti excessive drink driving and anti inappropriate speeding - both do cost lives -which is why there's already legally agreed acceptable limit to both.

But one could contest that speed never kills. It's a bit like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. It's not the 125 mph free-fall that kills you. But stopping too quickly will always hurt more in direct proportion to your arrival speed. And the less protective clothing we are wearing and the less protective metal we have wrapped around us, the more vulnerable we are. But as bikers we mitigate that risk the best we can - by taking training, riding defensively and wearing appropriate clothing for our choice of recreation. We know that statistically it is more dangerous than traveling by car, but if that was a deal breaker we'd of all stayed at home knitting right? We want the freedom to potentially hurt ourselves if in doing so it's unlikely to hurt others, right? So, I don't accept riding over the legal alcohol limit is the same as speeding, as predominantly the later is anti-social to irresponsible, but the former is reckless to manslaughter - which is probably why the law differentiates them as Summary or Misdemeanor offenses vs Capitol of Felony offenses. I may have got the legal terms wrong, I never have any run-in's with the law. I may have sped on my bike for thirty years, but I've never been nicked for it! :-D

unconventional rebel
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I agree whole heartedly with most of that last post Cap'n, disagree about the lobbying bit but really hope you are right! Interesting what you say about the technology and insurance, I suspect that this will prove much more important than legislation in the long run.

"Speed kills" actually really annoys me. Yes, in the way they mean it of course it does. If we didn't move we wouldn't hit anything duh. But we need to move so the rest is a compromise between practicality and safety. It's a stupid slogan.

In the UK at least I think the law sees serious speeding in a similar light to drink driving though. In fact, unlike drink driving, speeding can get you a prison sentence even without an accident - reflecting the reckless part. That said I guess we are in agreement on all practical levels.

Markyboyzx6r
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You should come over here to rural Ireland. The older generation see drink-driving as their God-given right. They're fine after 5 pints, or so they say.

I'm actually against lowering the limit. Cause if they are going to drink-drive, they're going to drink drive.

Markyboyzx6r
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You should come over here to rural Ireland. The older generation see drink-driving as their God-given right. They're fine after 5 pints, or so they say.

I'm actually against lowering the limit. Cause if they are going to drink-drive, they're going to drink drive.

shuggiemac
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Captain Scarlet wrote:
I believe(d) that we (England) were to get that 'imminently' periodically ever since, but it never happened.

Well if it had you could have moved to Wales, N Ireland or Scotland ;-)

Anthony Hunter
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Yeah if you would have facing this you would have moved to Scotland. cars for auction