Too drunk to drive?

The new lower alcohol limits for drink drivers is having its expected effect.  People who are perfectly fine to drive are now having to pay money.

Some drivers caught out by the new limit were “surprised” to discover they were too drunk to drive, he said.

At the weekend, Canterbury police launched an operation to crackdown on drink-drivers.

The total number of motorists caught drink-driving across the city was not available last night, but a checkpoint in Halswell tested 1763 drivers over a three-hour period with one driver returning an excess breath alcohol of over the old 400mcg limit, and three others giving a result of between 250mcg and 400mcg.

Canterbury police have vowed to test drivers at any time of day that they are pulled over.

Drivers who fail an alcohol test between the new and old limits avoid a criminal conviction but receive a $200 fine, 50 demerit points and are banned from driving for the next 12 hours.

This isn’t about saving lives.  All it has done is turn people who drank responsibly before into people who now get fined.   And the true problem drivers are still out there, exceeding the old limits.

At Wellington’s St Johns Restaurant, Bar and Hotel last night, Thomas Tondu said he was surprised to be stopped by police at a checkpoint on Lambton Quay yesterday morning.

“It was a bit of a surprise at eight on a Sunday morning. I can understand four or six,” he said.

Tondu said he was not a heavy drinker but doubted many people would consider they might not be safe to drive to work the morning after a big night out.

“It doesn’t cross your mind at all.”

Another punter, Peter, said he had modified his drinking behaviour to fit the new limits.

“If I’m drinking, there’s no way I’m driving. If there’s beers after work, I’ll just have one and leave as opposed to when I used to have more.”

And yes, I get it.  Just don’t drink at all.  And just don’t speed at all.   The problem is that police use the justification that it saves lives, when it demonstably doesn’t.

What it does do is

  • Lift money out of people’s pockets
  • Turn drivers into nervous wrecks as the goal posts are shifted
  • Continue to place Police in a position where they lose public support

Copping a $200 fine and demerits on the back of two beers or getting fined at 101 km/h isn’t actually achieving anything except mad moods and money for the consolidated fund.


– Talia Shadwell, Michael Forbes, The Dominion Post

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.