Jump to content

Scotland to Reduce Drink Drive Limit


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 95
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Because everyone has a small amount of alcohol in their system from natural sources, even those who from abstain from alcohol.   Have the limit low, yes, but zero tolerance would mean everybody is a

Well that argument is kind of moot seeing as no one is banning drinking altogether...

As an average, a person will 'process' one unit of alcohol an hour, although different factors can affect this rate. There are roughly two units of alcohol in a pint of weak to normal strength beer. S

 

I see nothing wrong with the limit of 50 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood as introduced by the Scots and is currently used by a greater part of Europe - this allows some leeway for some alcohol being generated naturally within the body and the morning after the night before, whilst not being in the category of being at dangerous levels - did you know that recent research has shown that people using a phone whilst driving is likely to be more dangerous than somebody driving with 80 milligrams etc in their system?

 

Yes, agreed, 50 IS a sensible level. It allows the responsible driver to have a drink. As for a zero level? Westminster has announced its intention not to reduce it from 80, so that is extremely unlikely. And as for impairment being induced by alcohol? I would argue that any impairment within the legal limit of 50 is if anything at all, minimal - certainly no more than driving whilst you've got a cold, smoking, holding a conversation with a passenger, talking (hands-free) on a phone, driving in heavy boots, high heels - the list is endless!! But, as stated in my earlier post, what DOES annoy me is the police and safety organisations' response, when asked the reasonable question of "50 milligrammes - what does that mean an average person could drink?" (For me it's two pints by the way) They duck the question by stating they advocate no drinking whatsoever if you drive. THE LAW ALLOWS IT. So until a zero limit DOES come in, is it too much to ask that they actually answer the ruddy question!!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Law doesn't differentiate between a 20st. brickie having a pie and a pint and a 8st., 5ft nothing in her stockings having a glass of wine before the school run. It's about blood alcohol.

 

The Police are there to uphold the law and are not trained to give medical advice based on height, weight, sex, metabolism, eating patterns or time since ingestion. Their simple advice is ;"Don't drink and drive" and I think it's the most sensible thing I've ever heard coming from a copper that I can think of.

 

If you want to have a drink then factor in the cost of a DIY breathalyser, the risk of killing someone, the morning after, insurance premiums and loss of earnings through a conviction against the cost of a taxi or getting someone to stay drink free and get you home. No one is saying don't have a drink, just don't drive as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Law doesn't differentiate between a 20st. brickie having a pie and a pint and a 8st., 5ft nothing in her stockings having a glass of wine before the school run. It's about blood alcohol.

 

The Police are there to uphold the law and are not trained to give medical advice based on height, weight, sex, metabolism, eating patterns or time since ingestion. Their simple advice is ;"Don't drink and drive" and I think it's the most sensible thing I've ever heard coming from a copper that I can think of.

 

If you want to have a drink then factor in the cost of a DIY breathalyser, the risk of killing someone, the morning after, insurance premiums and loss of earnings through a conviction against the cost of a taxi or getting someone to stay drink free and get you home. No one is saying don't have a drink, just don't drive as well.

If the desire is to refrain totally from driving having consumed alcohol, then the law should reflect that - It doesn't!!

Your reference to factoring in the obvious risks is in relation to a drink-drive OFFENDER, not the 'responsible' drink-driver. 

You CAN drink responsibly, and drive, but the police and safety partnerships etc. refuse to respond to a simple question. You yourself have gone a little way to answering it, so why is it so difficult for these people to give some semblance of a sensible answer when probed by the media? It's all about education. Saying that "a pint" will put you over the limit (as reported here in the media) is untrue and simply scaremongering.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Law doesn't differentiate between a 20st. brickie having a pie and a pint and a 8st., 5ft nothing in her stockings having a glass of wine before the school run. It's about blood alcohol.

The Police are there to uphold the law and are not trained to give medical advice based on height, weight, sex, metabolism, eating patterns or time since ingestion. Their simple advice is ;"Don't drink and drive" and I think it's the most sensible thing I've ever heard coming from a copper that I can think of.

If you want to have a drink then factor in the cost of a DIY breathalyser, the risk of killing someone, the morning after, insurance premiums and loss of earnings through a conviction against the cost of a taxi or getting someone to stay drink free and get you home. No one is saying don't have a drink, just don't drive as well.

It needs more alcohol for the 20 Stone brickie to reach a certain limit than the 8 stone person - whatever reading you get depends largely on body mass but it is more complicated than that and even with the same person it varies with the time of day, what has bee eaten and general state of health. The figures of one or two pints depending on the limit are aimed at the lowest common denominator.

But the important thing is how do you feel yourself alcohol affects everybody differently and some may feel their driving has been affected well below the limit - if that is the case then they should not drive and technically could still be committing an offence under the prior legislation - that is 'Driving, or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or public place whilst his ability to do so was impaired through drink or drugs' Something to bear in mind.

Edited by mike Meehan
Link to post
Share on other sites

Rules have to strike a balance.  As rules are tightened, typically, the safety benefits decline and the cost to innocent people's freedoms grows, with each incremental measure.  A similar law of diminishing returns applies as rules are relaxed (the benefit to freedoms reduces and the safety costs grow).  

 

The UK government is probably right to say that the reduction of the limit from 80mg to 50mg will have no impact on high risk offenders.  The main people that will be affected are those who drive around with alcohol concentrations in the 50-100mg range, especially those who consider having two or three pints immediately before driving to be a risk worth taking.  High risk offenders are only likely to be addressed by better enforcement and appropriate education.  

 

However, having researched quite a bit into the subject, I think that the potential safety benefits of the above could still be sufficient to outweigh or at least counterbalance the social and recreational costs.  After all, a 50mg limit does not prevent people from having a moderate drinking session one evening and driving the next morning, or having one pint and driving a couple of hours later, and the risk of being caught out due to naturally-produced alcohol is negligible.  Blood alcohol concentrations between 50 and 100mg can still have a strong effect on reaction times.  (I say 100 rather than 80 to cover the people who go slightly over 80 without realising it).

 

I would oppose a reduction from 50mg to 20mg though because of the diminishing returns issue mentioned above.  The impacts on social and recreational activities would be larger, with a probable decline in custom for pubs and other outlets, and the safety benefits minimal.  Indeed, sometimes in those situations the safety benefits can be neutralised by the issue of high risk offenders being missed while the police are too busy policing the general public.

 

It is easy to say that trace amounts of alcohol should not be allowed because they have a small impact on reaction times, but by that measure, we could just as easily argue for clamping down against chatting to passengers and observing cloud formations while driving, as both of those may have a similar impact.  We're also getting into territory where the increased risk is smaller than the risk of driving ultra-responsibly vs. not driving at all.

 

Bottom line: I see a strong case for keeping the 80mg limit, and a stronger case for reducing it to 50mg, so I am OK with either of those two limits, but I would oppose a drink-drive limit outside of that range of values.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
Link to post
Share on other sites

If pubs and hotels sold tea, coffee and soft drinks at reasonable prices and stopped the idiotic 2 for 1 practice that encourages binging then I would be only too happy to have a TT night out as a designated driver (who, incidentally brings custom to said venues).

 

I have absolutely no sympathy for places that rip off a driver - my last outing as a DD I was charged £2.20 for a 300ml. bottle of Coke - it's sweetened flavoured water that carries NO duty, only VAT for heaven's sake, £0.50 tops! So please, cut out the 'our lovely pubs will meet their demise', excuse. If they don't respond then they deserve to die. It's a bit like the wailing we heard when the smoking ban was introduced but we have all learnt to live with it and it is now almost totally accepted.

 

There will always be idiots who think it's a lark to have a skinful then drive. Enforcement and penalties should be much tougher. Personally I would put their vehicles, with them inside, through a crusher.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay then you can reduce it to 20ml, the same as Sweden, which is as close as one can practically get to zero. Arguments regarding amount of food or water consumed, medication taken, type of alcohol, metabolism and even stress levels are just clouding the issue. I have been a pretty heavy drinker most of my life, up until twelve months ago, and I can honestly say that I've never sat behind the wheel of a car having drink taken.

Edited by knocker
Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay then you can reduce it to 20ml, the same as Sweden, which is as close as one can practically get to zero. Arguments regarding amount of food or water consumed, medication taken, type of alcohol, metabolism and even stress levels are just clouding the issue. I have been a pretty heavy drinker most of my life, up until twelve months ago, and I can honestly say that I've never sat behind the wheel of a car having drink taken.

Knocker, I don't recall there being any motor vehicles on Weather Ship India :) Edited by mike Meehan
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is far too much of the "hang them and flog them" approach in society, making the rules and the enforcement as tight as we can get away with, without generating public uproar (so if a big restriction can't be put in all at once, we phase it in incrementally).  There is an automatic black-and-white assumption that the "harder" we are, the safer we will be, and that other factors shouldn't come into it.

 

In reality, tightening up rules tends to result mainly in groups of previously law-abiding people being criminalized by association with offenders, and "zero tolerance" results in minor offences being punished disproportionately and in serious offences being missed and/or not being punished seriously enough.  A mentality of "in for a penny, in for a pound" can also arise among offenders in that case.  The best way to increase the deterrent is to increase the likelihood that offenders will be caught (which is why, for example, I am not against the concept of speed cameras- my problem is rather that they are often used to enforce the punishment of the many because of the few).

 

Most restrictions on personal freedoms meet with an initial period of opposition and then acceptance, ranging from seat belt laws to prohibitions on non-sexual affection and physical contact between adults and children in various situations.  Most people will begrudgingly put up with any restrictions on the basis, "Rules are rules", and, "That's life, because the minority have to spoil it for everybody else" (in relation to innocent people being punished for the crimes of offenders).  However the likelihood of pubs going out of business because of a reduction of the drink-drive limit is very small.  I would expect, though, that while a reduction to 50mg would have a negligible effect on their income, a further reduction to 20mg would be more of a threat to alcohol sales, since that figure would also criminalize people who, say, have a few drinks one evening and then drive the next morning, or have a glass of wine with their Christmas dinner and drive at 5pm.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is far too much of the "hang them and flog them" approach in society, making the rules and the enforcement as tight as we can get away with, without generating public uproar (so if a big restriction can't be put in all at once, we phase it in incrementally).  There is an automatic black-and-white assumption that the "harder" we are, the safer we will be, and that other factors shouldn't come into it.

 

In reality, tightening up rules tends to result mainly in groups of previously law-abiding people being criminalized by association with offenders, and "zero tolerance" results in minor offences being punished disproportionately and in serious offences being missed and/or not being punished seriously enough.  A mentality of "in for a penny, in for a pound" can also arise among offenders in that case.  The best way to increase the deterrent is to increase the likelihood that offenders will be caught (which is why, for example, I am not against the concept of speed cameras- my problem is rather that they are often used to enforce the punishment of the many because of the few).

 

Most restrictions on personal freedoms meet with an initial period of opposition and then acceptance, ranging from seat belt laws to prohibitions on non-sexual affection and physical contact between adults and children in various situations.  Most people will begrudgingly put up with any restrictions on the basis, "Rules are rules", and, "That's life, because the minority have to spoil it for everybody else" (in relation to innocent people being punished for the crimes of offenders).  However the likelihood of pubs going out of business because of a reduction of the drink-drive limit is very small.  I would expect, though, that while a reduction to 50mg would have a negligible effect on their income, a further reduction to 20mg would be more of a threat to alcohol sales, since that figure would also criminalize people who, say, have a few drinks one evening and then drive the next morning, or have a glass of wine with their Christmas dinner and drive at 5pm.

 

Good post!! The Scottish police here, on the recent introduction of the new 50mg limit were out in force, carrying out roadside "safety checks" on drivers and their vehicles on route to work. Of course, it wasn't about "safety checks" - it was a fishing expedition to get suitable positive breath test figures on this the first day. The last I heard it was 5!!. And the legality of those breath tests was, at best, borderline! But you're absolutely spot on - "hang them and flog them" isn't the answer. Penalties, particularly with drink drivers are disproportionate when comparing offenders at the bottom end of the offending scale to those driving with alcohol levels four or five times the limit. Zero tolerance will not work.

Edited by speyweather
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good post!! The Scottish police here, on the recent introduction of the new 50mg limit were out in force, carrying out roadside "safety checks" on drivers and their vehicles on route to work. Of course, it wasn't about "safety checks" - it was a fishing expedition to get suitable positive breath test figures on this the first day. The last I heard it was 5!!. And the legality of those breath tests was, at best, borderline! But you're absolutely spot on - "hang them and flog them" isn't the answer. Penalties, particularly with drink drivers are disproportionate when comparing offenders at the bottom end of the offending scale to those driving with alcohol levels four or five times the limit. Zero tolerance will not work.

From one who used to be an old time copper, this kind of enforcement ain't on - historically, the fight against crime in these isles is a partnership, between the police and the public, each relying on the other and this calls for a good partnership between the police and ordinary members of the public - stunts like this only serve to broaden the rift which unfortunately has been going on for a good number of years now - things like speed cameras and call centres do little to encourage good relations and the politically correct attitudes on the part of some senior officers, especially when it comes to a lack of investigating complaints of child and young person abuse because of a fear of being labelled racialist. 

 

I have always said that the police service as a whole needs to return to basics and go back to the principles established back in 1829 when the foundations of a British Police Service were first laid down - first and foremost he is a citizen, a member of the community just like anybody else but with powers to assist him in the protection of life, the protection of property, the prevention of crime, to preserve the Queen's peace which is the normal good state of society and finally the detection and prosecution of offenders.

 

For the first 140 years or so it worked well with, for the most part, the police being held in high esteem by the public - they were often visible and approachable, which meant the police could get to know the people on their patch as the people could get to know them. Then enter the panda car and the neighbourhood beat systems, which was not altogether a bad idea, had those on the neighbourhoods been free to work their areas but as things were it meant that they were the first to be called upon to do other duties when the need  arose, which to an extent diluted their effect.

 

The introduction of the CPS in England and Wales was introduced (Because Scots law is different, they always have had a procurator) but I never did fathom the reason for this. Under the old system, the police were responsible for preferring charges and summons in the majority of cases except where, in law the Fiat of the Attorney General, or sanction by the Director of Public Prosecutions was needed. The more simple cases could be dealt with quite efficiently by the police, who had sufficient knowledge of the law and expertise, in magistrates courts and in cases where the offence was more complicated and/or was committed to a higher court, local solicitors where engaged on a case by case basis. This had an advantage that those engaged invariably had experience in both prosecution and defence which meant they had a better all round perspective. Not only that to run the CPS and a police prosecutions department increases the costs quite considerably, which to my mind we have yet to see any overall gain in efficiency; in fact at times where the CPS lose files or have not properly prepared a case it appears anything but.

 

Then we get the introduction of Police and Criminal Evidence Act which formalised what could be done and what couldn't be done, effectively hamstringing the police when dealing with suspects. A lot of law relating to suspected persons was repealed and despite the reasons given for it, it was basically good law provided it was used for the primary purpose for which it was intended and used relatively sparingly.

 

Then to top it all, the politicians, in their wisdom decide to introduce police commissioners, who despite the fact that the police service is supposed to be an apolitical organisation, the vast majority of these are affiliated to one political party or another, thereby introducing another layer of bureaucracy costing yet further money. Again I cannot fully understand the reasons - prior to this for the supervision of police forces as a whole each force had its police authority and there was and still is the overall view supervision by the HMI's office at the Home Office. 

 

At the same time, over the years, the rights of the victims appear to have been superseded by those of the defendants, many senior officers of police have become so politically correct that it is twisting their judgement when it comes to dealing with gangs coming from an ethnic background systematically abusing and raping young females.

 

Over the years I formed the impression that many who did not really understand police work were making decisions about the future of our police service, relying more on academics and lawyers, who have a vested interest in securing acquittals to enhance their reputations and bank balances, whilst paying little regard to what the rank and file of police service may have to say, to the extent that today it is less efficient and more costly than what it was in the old days, despite the fact that now with modern technology and scientific advances we could really have Bill Sykes and his bag of swag on the run and I would have given my right arm for (figuratively speaking). 

 

However, the police service as a whole was let down by underhand methods used by some of the MPD and other large police forces, bringing the police service as a whole into disrepute through officers cutting corners and taking short cuts resulting in the hamstringing which to quite an extent has destroyed a lot of the initiative and moral of many of those serving at the sharp end. 

 

Too many knee jerk reactions, too little of an overall perspective, too little knowledge and too little of a long term view have reduced us to our current state. The majority of people now rarely speak to, or see a police officer now, unless they are the subject of his attentions. How can a system relying on the historical partnership of the police and the public working together remain sustainable under the current systems? 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Very rarely I say this. But top post MIke

 

And coming from another old-time copper I would happily agree. As outlined in Mike's post, here in UK we police by consent. The police rely on having Joe Public on their side, and sad to say (15 years after my retirement) that it is blatantly obvious that during this 21st century we are on the slide: The public are becoming increasingly alienated. Fewer police officers - at the expense of pseudo-police in the guise of CPO's - whose appearance is in itself created to fool the unsuspecting public. Foot patrols? Almost non-existent. "Rural" police officers?  Disappearing along with the police houses they once occupied - Sold!!  The local nick in the town - where you could pop in for "a word" or some advice - Gone! Most of my service was spent on traffic. I was the "villain" behind the radar gun - the bobby waiting to hit you with a breathalyser! In truth - I never ticketed anybody for anything less than 42 in a 30. A good bollocking, (providing you remained civil!!)  and you're on your way - another feather in the cap for police-public relations. Today's cameras don't have that discretion  it's 32 mph - 3 points, and a speed-awareness course!  As for the likelihood of being breath-tested - NEVER without good reason. Random checks in UK are illegal - up here they are common!  Road-safety checks as described in my previous posts are nothing less than fishing expeditions, pushing legality to the extreme! Inevitably, they will catch one or two low-level offenders, but at the expense of inconveniencing many members of the public. It's those same members of the public whom the police rely on, those same police officers who the public rely on, and increasingly they're being pushed apart. Policing by consent? It's disappearing fast!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

And coming from another old-time copper I would happily agree. As outlined in Mike's post, here in UK we police by consent. The police rely on having Joe Public on their side, and sad to say (15 years after my retirement) that it is blatantly obvious that during this 21st century we are on the slide: The public are becoming increasingly alienated. Fewer police officers - at the expense of pseudo-police in the guise of CPO's - whose appearance is in itself created to fool the unsuspecting public. Foot patrols? Almost non-existent. "Rural" police officers? Disappearing along with the police houses they once occupied - Sold!! The local nick in the town - where you could pop in for "a word" or some advice - Gone! Most of my service was spent on traffic. I was the "villain" behind the radar gun - the bobby waiting to hit you with a breathalyser! In truth - I never ticketed anybody for anything less than 42 in a 30. A good bollocking, (providing you remained civil!!) and you're on your way - another feather in the cap for police-public relations. Today's cameras don't have that discretion it's 32 mph - 3 points, and a speed-awareness course! As for the likelihood of being breath-tested - NEVER without good reason. Random checks in UK are illegal - up here they are common! Road-safety checks as described in my previous posts are nothing less than fishing expeditions, pushing legality to the extreme! Inevitably, they will catch one or two low-level offenders, but at the expense of inconveniencing many members of the public. It's those same members of the public whom the police rely on, those same police officers who the public rely on, and increasingly they're being pushed apart. Policing by consent? It's disappearing fast!

Pleased to make your acquaintance Speyweather - we'll have to form a NARPO section on NW. :)

Edited by mike Meehan
Link to post
Share on other sites

The legality of random breath tests is indeed questionable:

https://www.gov.uk/stopped-by-police-while-driving-your-rights/breath-tests

but the "if the police think you've been drinking" clause is open to interpretation.  Note that there is some pressure in Scotland to change this law and to allow police the legal right to breathalyse motorists entirely at random.

 

The cynic in me would expect it to be broadly popular with the general public regardless of how morally reasonable it was.  The vast majority of people will fall outside of the "innocent people who got inconvenienced due to being randomly pulled over" bracket, and of these, most will think, "It hasn't affected me, and for the people who complain about being pulled over, that's life, because the minority have to spoil it for everybody else, and we would rather 1000 drivers be unfairly stopped than have 1 low-rank offender be missed and kill someone".  The only exceptions are likely to be those who are actually pulled over and those who think hard about the humanitarian issue and think that the inconvenience to random drivers is unethical and/or outweighs the potential benefit of more low-rank offenders being caught.

 

On the other side of the coin, I am left wondering whether there was a significant element of drivers being checked at random in the hope of making arrests, or whether the police largely kept to existing guidelines and the increased checks/arrests were mainly a result of increased police presence.  The media are notorious for exaggerating these sort of things.  On balance, I think that advertising the new law and an increased police presence are good ideas, but I don't think it's very ethical to move towards random breath tests- for example there is evidence that ethnic minorities have a habit of being disproportionately targeted in "random" checks.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
Link to post
Share on other sites

Regardless of random tests being carried out, IMHO I regard that as a mute point. If your caught behind the wheel of a vehicle with excess alcohol in your system you deserve to be held to account. I am a firefighter, I do see the after effects of drink driving all to frequently (more so this time of year). If you know your going to be having a drink leave the car keys at home.

It's usually the innocent victim that comes of worse in my experience, the drunk driver usually walks away. A lower limit isn't there to catch more people out per say but to make people think "is it worth it".

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

A friend of mine who part owns a taxi company had a narrow escape in the early hours of yesterday. Driving along with three passengers in tow they were hit head on by a drunk driver. The car was a write off but by some miracle nobody was killed and only suffered minor injuries were sustained. I expect the drunk will be fined and license taken away for twelve months.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Put simply, the problem with random testing is that it would result in increased incidence of completely innocent people being pulled over and inconvenienced despite not doing anything suspicious.  This would be a price worth paying if it would be likely to significantly increase the chances of genuine offenders being caught, but in practice this is likely to be heavily offset by the increased waste of police resources on policing the wrong people on the basis of a low probability of them being drunk.  Pulling drivers over if they appear to be driving suspiciously is a very different matter since they are more likely than average to be drunk.

 

From the last couple of responses I am guessing that my objection was misinterpreted along the lines of, "Gah!  We don't want random testing because we are worried that we might get randomly caught breaking the new drink-drive limit!", but I hope the above makes it very clear that it's not the issue at all.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...