As part of the escalating war on drinkers, various pressure groups are keen for the government to reduce the legal blood-alcohol limit to practically zero. This is gesture politics and nothing more. There is no evidence that driving ability is impaired at the current 80mpg limit and the unspeakable twats who maim and kill through drink-driving are invariably plastered. No one knows that better than coroners, like this chap:
"Of those fatal accidents where alcohol is implicated, it has been on very rare occasions, and I have been doing this job for 17 years, that I have come across inquests where people have been killed with a blood alcohol level of between 50 and 80mgs. Normally, the blood alcohol level involved in these deaths is between 150 and 350 mgs"
A sane policy would, therefore, be to get the police to enforce the law as it already stands. That, however, would involve tackling a hardcore of morons and alcoholics, would be expensive and would involve a little bit of effort. And since the task of policing the roads has long since been handed over to little yellow machines, there is fuck all chance of it happening. So, let's go after people having a shandy with their Sunday roast, eh?
Drink-driving statistics were announced last week and campaigners would have loved it if the number of fatalities had gone up, because then, of course, "something would have to be done". Alas, for them, drink-driving fatalities dropped sharply—by 18%—but since the whole war on booze is being fought at a time when alcohol consumption is falling, they were hardly going to let the fact that drink-driving is rare and getting rarer get in the way.
In fact, you probably didn't hear about that statistic at all because it was completely overshadowed by a small survey conducted by the insurance company Green Flag, and promoted by a group called Brake. Consequently, a dramatic fall in drink-driving deaths was reported under headlines like 'Call for cut in drink-drive limit', '40% women take wheel after drinks' and 'New plea for drink-drive crackdown'.
According to Sky News:
"As many as 42% of female motorists admitted getting behind the wheel while over the legal limit."
Or, as The Mirror put it:
"Soaring numbers of women get behind the wheel of a car after boozing, according to a study yesterday. Over 40 per cent of women motorists admit to drinking and driving."
Nearly half of women motorists are driving around pissed?! No wonder the news about drink-driving fatalities going down got short shrift.
But it was all bollocks. If you delve deep into Brake's website, you can find the actual results of its survey:
"Respondents were asked 'Within the past 12 months, have you drunk alcohol before driving, and if so, how much?' 2,406 male and 2109 female drivers were questioned.
41% of male drivers said they had not drunk alcohol before driving, compared to 58% of female drivers
17% of male drivers said they have driven after a maximum of one small glass of wine, or equivalent, compared to 28% of female drivers
25% of male drivers said they have driven after a maximum of two small glasses of wine or equivalent, compared to 11% of female drivers
8% of male drivers said they have driven after a maximum of three small glasses of wine or equivalent, compared to 2% of female drivers
9% of male drivers said they have driven after four or more small glasses of wine or equivalent, compared to 1% of female drivers"
And the penny drops. We are talking about drivers who have drunk any quantity of alcohol in the last year. And as the results make clear, the vast majority of drivers had not broken the law, or come close to doing so. 2% of women had slightly exceded the legal limit, and only 1% had driven while being anything like pissed. Shame on them, of course, but this is hardly evidence of a "soaring" number of women driving around "after boozing". 3% of the total admitted to driving while over the limit, not 42%—not quite the crisis that you may have been led to believe.
So what was that Sky headline again?
"As many as 42% of female motorists admitted getting behind the
wheel while over the legal limit."
Create a problem. Promote some illiberal bullshit. Get your policy through. Above all, fuck the facts. Fiddling the drink-driving figures is hardly the Reichstag fire but it's a fairly typical example of how these people operate. And this is what they want, according to their "head of campaigns":
"The most successful campaign would be one that had a clear message that no amount of alcohol is acceptable—any amount affects your reaction times and judgment. For such a campaign to work, the Government needs to reduce the drink-drive limit, which is currently crazily high. This is a battle for a lower limit and a simpler communication message. No alcohol is the only possible safe amount when driving."
Utter horse-shit. The current limit is very simple. You can have one standard drink, whatever you size or gender, and that's it. That would not be the case if the limit was 50mpg or 20mpg. The limit in the UK is not "crazily high" by any stretch of the imagination and there is absolutely no evidence that reducing it would save a single life. The problem of drunk-driving is caused by people who are fucking drunk, not by people who have had one drink. Come up with some evidence to contrary and we'll talk. Until then, who the fuck are you to tell me what's "acceptable"?
Then there is the plea for solidarity with our European neighbours:
"The UK limit is higher than a number of other EU countries, with Poland, Sweden and Norway setting their limit at 20mpg."
Well, fucking bully for them. This country—thank Christ almighty—is not Sweden, Norway or Poland. We'll have a stab at making our own laws if it's all the same to you.
Let's get this straight. For people who have to drive to work, a 20mpg limit will effectively criminalise having a few drinks in the evening. Some medicines would make you a 'drink-driver'. That's how low the limit would be. We are talking about trace quantities here. The Swedish police might not feel inclined to set up road-blocks at eight in the morning but you can be damn sure the twats in this country won't think twice.
But since you want to cite a minority of European nations as a template: the USA, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and numerous other countries have a limit of 80mpg or higher, so what exactly is your fucking point? And a quick check of the figures shows that Norway has a higher rate of drink-driving fatalities than Britain. And would you care to guess who has the highest rate of drink-driving fatalities in the whole of Europe? That's right—good old Sweden. For the record, Luxembourg has the lowest rate of fatalities and they have the same blood-alcohol limit as us. So, really, the whole theory that bringing the limit down is going to make any difference whatsoever is a bit of cock-suck, isn't it?
So what have we got? Good news downplayed. Bad news made up. Lazy hacks who can't even read a press release properly. An insurance company gets a bit of cheap publicity. Before you know it, they'll be another pointless law which will make a lot of people's lives just a little bit more miserable. This is how activism works.
There's an air of inevitability about the government bowing to pressure from these pricks. The usual interfering, puritantical bastards at Alcohol Concern and the British Medical Association are, of course, right behind the campaign. The BMA don't want us to have more than one drink a day whether we drive or not, for fuck's sake. That androgynous, bible-bashing cretin Ruth Kelly is now in charge of the department of transport, and she is exactly the kind of pointless New Labour bitch who would leap at the chance to enact some "tough" legislation. And no doubt our glorious boys in blue will be only too happy to be handed another excuse to get up to their favourite past-time of hassling motorists. (So much easier than solving the murder of a certain television personality.) The main losers will be pubs and country folk, but the government has been systematically butt-fucking both of them for years so why stop now?
No, they'll get their ban, don't you worry, and they'll do anything to get it.