Letters: Punishing the innocent

Convicting people with lower alcohol breath levels won't help our drink driving problem.
Convicting people with lower alcohol breath levels won't help our drink driving problem.

Your editorial (It's not my fault! December 5) brought to my mind that on December 1, 2014, draconian blood/alcohol regulations became law, with the politicians and the police congratulating each other as to how they'd worked together to defeat drunken driving in our country and save so many lives on our roads.

There were some who, having a little more intelligence or honesty than MPs and, apparently, police management, tried to tell them that this would do nothing to stop drunk drivers, and, accordingly, nothing to curb the road toll. But it would serve to further restrict socialising within our communities by respectable, responsible citizens, afraid to drive their cars after having chewed a wine gum.

And we have subsequently seen the closure of many socially valuable clubs and pubs, especially those with marginal profitability in more lightly populated areas.

Now, what do we find? Road fatalities for 12 months to December 4:
2013 = 231
2014 = 267
2015 = 290
2016 = 298
2017 = 342

And how ironic was that subsequent NZTA television advertisement manifesting what those in the community with half a brain and a little more integrity have been trying (in vain, it seems) to point out ?

The reduction of the driving blood/alcohol limit (without any public consultation) had nothing to do with drunk driving, or saving lives on our roads, and all to do with revenue gathering on the one hand and morality diversion on the other hand.

To precis, we were shown a youngish couple with their two kids about to leave a premises where they'd been socialising with friends, probably a barbecue. The husband acknowledged that he'd probably had a drink or two more than he should if driving, and his wife agreed that she should drive because she'd had only a couple of wine biscuits — a very responsible attitude.

She demonstrated her driving competence until they eventually arrived at a police breathalyser stop.

"No worries", she said to her husband. "Ah ha", said the traffic cop, "we've lowered the driving blood/alcohol limit, and you're nabbed. I'll take you to the police station, and you'll have to pay the penalties for drunk driving."

And that's how it has become in this asylum called New Zealand.

These draconian alcohol levels won't do a bit to stop drunken driving. That readily identifiable demographic cohort has no interest in blood/alcohol level regulations. But Pathetical Correctness (a form of cowardice) prevents identifying that cohort, and thus dealing with them.

All these levels do is punish responsible social drinkers.

It's well past time for the fools running this country to raise the blood/alcohol levels back to where they should be, allowing responsible citizens to enjoy socialising with their friends. That won't stop drunks from driving, of course, but nor do these appallingly restrictive levels.

LEO LEITCH
Benneydale

- Northland Age

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