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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 22:30 
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PeterE wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Dusty wrote:
The increace in "risk" between drunk and sober is smaller than the variation between that of a poor and a competant driver.

I doubt that's true. There are very real and very substantial increases in risk at higher BACs. The curve here suggests a 40x increase in serious crash risk at double the present legal limit. Obviously at still higher levels we'd expect it to be far worse.

Indeed, but the difference in risk for a given driver between a sub-40 BAC and a BAC of 81 or 100 is much less than the difference in risk for a given driver at age 17 and age 30. So if we are talking of marginally illegal levels Dusty does have a point.


Yep. Agreed.

Although the idea of a 30 year old negating his valuable experience by having a drink doesn't sound very clever. This is an argument that would need very careful framing and presentation if it isn't to be immediately shot down in flames.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 22:39 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
PeterE wrote:
Indeed, but the difference in risk for a given driver between a sub-40 BAC and a BAC of 81 or 100 is much less than the difference in risk for a given driver at age 17 and age 30. So if we are talking of marginally illegal levels Dusty does have a point.

Yep. Agreed.

Although the idea of a 30 year old negating his valuable experience by having a drink doesn't sound very clever. This is an argument that would need very careful framing and presentation if it isn't to be immediately shot down in flames.

Which is why the argument has to be made at a population level rather than getting down to "if only he hadn't had that extra drink" with all its emotive possibilities.

It could equally be argued that the difference for an individual between 0 and 81 mg is less than the difference he experiences if he has a heavy cold or has had a bad day at the office.

At 150 mg the risk difference shouts from the rooftops, at 50-80 mg it is, to be honest, lost in the noise of other factors. It is not what would be considered significant in terms of scientific experiments.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 22:48 
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PeterE wrote:
It could equally be argued that the difference for an individual between 0 and 81 mg is less than the difference he experiences if he has a heavy cold or has had a bad day at the office.


Could it? Not for me, I'm sure.

As a very occasional drinker I'd be quite significantly impaired at 81mg/ml soon after drinking. At 81mg/ml the morning after I'd probably be stone cold sober.

Equally I bet there are alcoholics out there who are pretty much stone cold sober at 120mg/ml.

I don't see how these differences could be resolved with the present legal structure. The problem is that we seem to have got stuck with a proxy measure for drunkeness.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 22:59 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
PeterE wrote:
It could equally be argued that the difference for an individual between 0 and 81 mg is less than the difference he experiences if he has a heavy cold or has had a bad day at the office.

Could it? Not for me, I'm sure.

The stats suggest that the risk is about 1.5 times higher at 80 mg than at zero. I would suggest depending on mood, metabolism etc an individual's risk factor varies by more than that during a typical week's driving.

SafeSpeed wrote:
I don't see how these differences could be resolved with the present legal structure. The problem is that we seem to have got stuck with a proxy measure for drunkeness.

Indeed, and given the difficulties of identifying alcohol-related impairment that in itself is not unreasonable. But as the proxy measure is drawn lower and lower it results in more and more injustices.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 23:03 
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PeterE wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
PeterE wrote:
It could equally be argued that the difference for an individual between 0 and 81 mg is less than the difference he experiences if he has a heavy cold or has had a bad day at the office.

Could it? Not for me, I'm sure.

The stats suggest that the risk is about 1.5 times higher at 80 mg than at zero. I would suggest depending on mood, metabolism etc an individual's risk factor varies by more than that during a typical week's driving.


Yeah, but that's a population average. Worse than that for light drinkers, better than that for heavy drinkers.

At a wild guess I'd reckon my own crash risk would be at least 10 times normal at 80mg/ml.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 23:41 
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I think it reasonable to assume the majority of the population drives with about nil mg in their system. This change of law focuses on a minority who arguably might suffer a marginal amount of impairment.


Not completely unrelated:

I've been reading a funny yet fascinating book "Why men don't listen & women can't read maps". Within it contained a striking fact:
Quote:
There are well documented studies showing that women suffering PMT are four to five times more likely to be involved in a car accident when they are behind the wheel.
P176

So by the same token should women with PMT be banned from driving? :bunker:
Could/should that notion ever be taken seriously?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 02:49 
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smeggy wrote:
I've been reading a funny yet fascinating book "Why men don't listen & women can't read maps". Within it contained a striking fact:
Quote:
There are well documented studies showing that women suffering PMT are four to five times more likely to be involved in a car accident when they are behind the wheel.
P176

So by the same token should women with PMT be banned from driving? :bunker:
Could/ should that notion ever be taken seriously?


Maybe on 24 days out of 28. On the other four it isn't worth the risk. :hehe:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:56 
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smeggy wrote:
I think it reasonable to assume the majority of the population drives with about nil mg in their system. This change of law focuses on a minority who arguably might suffer a marginal amount of impairment.


Not completely unrelated:

I've been reading a funny yet fascinating book "Why men don't listen & women can't read maps". Within it contained a striking fact:
Quote:
There are well documented studies showing that women suffering PMT are four to five times more likely to be involved in a car accident when they are behind the wheel.
P176

So by the same token should women with PMT be banned from driving? :bunker:
Could/should that notion ever be taken seriously?


It is absolutely true as PMT affects spatial awareness and ability to concentrate. Being bad tempered is partially due to frustration as normal tasks become more difficult. Men would have to be banned from driving altogether as they can't multitask :wink: I'd also say stress was also a factor as being stressed made me much worse a driver as I couldn't concentrate so well and would find busy situations overwhelming to the point I'd cut down observations to lessen the load. I'd find myself dropping into tunnel vision mode and would just concentrate on what was happening in front rather than what was happening all around the car. I actually think general population stress levels are a factor in the lack of falling accident rates.

The problem with drink driving is having a test for impairment which is foolproof. But without testing the person stone cold sober then there isn't a relevant test. I'd imagine a quick chat with them about their driving and a few other topics with a motor skills test would show you whether they were properly impaired. Reactions aren't the most important thing it is whether the person can think ahead. Perhaps the driving test hazard perception thingy would be the best to give someone when collared?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:08 
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Firstly we don't need the right amount of alcohol to drive, but we do need the right amount of speed. If we can cut down on drink drive, then I'm sure we can cut down on crashes. Cutting down on speeding is actually making matters worse.


Well actually, if you look at the “Big Picture” you do need to have a degree of tolerance towards Drinking and driving (unless you are to have full “Prohibition” which opens its own particular can of worms!). The risks have to be balanced between individual risk and the wider socio-economic consequence. Just like the speed issue infact!

Consider this. The current system bans 100,000 people a year. Most of these people will have had only minor accidents or even none at all (serious accidents will have received more serious penalties) Most of these will be bread winners, many will lose their jobs, some their homes. Families are split up. Innocent women and children end up in B&B, children may even end up in “Care homes” (which for most will represent a “fate worse than death” which will scar them for the rest of their lives)

I would imagine that there would even be a fair number of suicides amongst both the “Banees” and their dependents. (Not to mention deaths of "Banees" who die while trying to cycle to work when they are not used to it)

I have no idea what the true scale of the full socio-economic consequences of the current policy are (I suspect government goes to some effort to hide it) but it would not surprise me in the least if the cure is far worse than the disease!

Lowering the limit could easily make this 10 times worse without actually having any noticeable effect on road fatalities.

One of the serious consequences of making “Legal” drinking and driving more difficult is that more people will drink at home. Not only will this damage the viability of rural pubs with all the socio economic consequences that go with this (In rural areas, alternatives to driving yourself are not really practical. QC's on £500,000PA spouting on about the virtues of Taxis doesnt really help :( ))

But people who get into the habit of drinking at home tend to drink more. Excessive alcohol consumption is a serious issue. Not only because of personal heath issues but also with issues of domestic problems.

I read recently that over the last ten years the numbers of people dying prematurely due to the effects of excessive alcohol consumption have increased by over 4000 people/year. Making “Legal” drinking and driving more difficult could increase this number substantially.

Now, I read recently (I will stand to be corrected, but it doesnt actually alter the argument that much) the number of “Bystanders” killed in (allegedly*) drink related accidents is around 300PA (most D&D “victims” are the driver himself and the “Voluntary” passengers in his car. Whist a death is still a death, personally I cannot see, say, a mountain biker who hurtles down a precipitous hill only to break his neck falling off at the bottom as a “victim” of a cycling accident, Going on to use the details of his accident to justify the argument that “Cycling is dangerous and should be banned” is a bit naughty)

Now, heres the question. Just how much socio-economic damage, how many woman and children do you want to see dispossessed of their homes or even orphaned by suicide or sent to care homes, how many rural communities do you want to see the heart ripped out of? Indeed how many premature deaths!?

In order to save "one" of those 300?

Its not an easy question

(My own feelings on this are complex (and even a bit contradictory) I shall expand later if anyone is interested. This post is already a bit long!)

* A proportion of D&D accidents will actually have a diferent primary cause, How big a proportion I dont know. But in our "Box ticking" culture if the driver is over the limit that is how the accident will be described. so we shall never know!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 12:46 
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I've been reading a funny yet fascinating book "Why men don't listen & women can't read maps".


I think my other half was trying to tell me about this the other day, but I was watching TV :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 16:58 
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Excellent thread.
And a truly excellent post just now by Dusty.

My "in a nutshell" view of things is as follows:
- the whole idea behind not drink-driving, breathalyzers etc. was originally to mitigate the phenomenon of people who had clearly drank too much getting behind the wheel.
- the existence of a transport system, be it horse and cart, steam engine or internal combustion engine is always going to carry some extra risk. By definition, motion and mass are involved, and these need to be managed.
- the management aspect can be adversely affected by many psychological and physiological factors (e.g. skills, attitude, mood. alertness, physical handicaps etc.)
- measures taken to attempt to reduce certain risk elements come with side effects. Intelligent analysis is needed to prevent inflicting great negative affects on society for negligible benefits.

Encourage responsibility and positive attitudes, and stop criminalising the safe masses (safe as in not driving dangerously).

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