Cycling is about "Safe exercise" and "Safe low-emission travel" The Health and Fitness objective is UNDERMINED if the means of exercise is UNSAFE! This blog STRONGLY OPPOSES certain reforms VicRoads is currently considering: “cyclists could be allowed to treat red lights as Give Way signs. And the same could also APPLY at pedestrian lights."
Also "PERMITTING cyclists, riding cautiously, to proceed past a stationary tram;" "allowing teenagers to ride on footpaths"(Herald Sun)PDowe
Monday, September 17, 2012
.02 Drink Drive Limit. Case For/ Against Herald Sun
SO far this year we have had 197 people killed on our roads. And that doesn't account for the thousands of people who have been seriously injured as a result of road trauma.
Things need to change.
I have promoted the community debate and encourage people to think about reducing the current .05 blood alcohol limit.
Like many others in the community, I am committed to saving the lives of those that are most precious to us all.
This is consistent with the approach outlined in the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-20, which identifies the link between reducing blood alcohol limits and lessening the impact of road trauma. Particularly with those drivers under 26 who are most at risk on our roads, research suggests a zero blood alcohol level would prevent the loss of many lives across Australia.
In Sweden they reduced their .05 blood alcohol limit to .02, they have seen a 10 per cent reduction in fatal crashes.
To put this in the Victorian context, potentially we could save 28 lives each year and possibly prevent 500 from being severely injured -- surely this is important for all of us.
There needs to be a shift in the thinking about the social responsibility of all drivers and passengers.
Here in Victoria there has already been change in this space.
The use of the graduated licence system means all 18-year-olds must have a 0.0 limit and professional drivers must also have a 0.0 limit.
People are starting to separate drinking alcohol and driving a motor car.
We are educating our young people in the community and I believe that we need to build on this momentum to make it socially unacceptable to drink and drive beyond the current probationary driving period.
We need to think about whether it is safe to drink and then drive a car on our complex road system in Victoria.
Every day we are faced with a myriad driving distractions and driving a car on our road system is a challenge. This is further complicated if a driver is under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol does affect your ability to concentrate and your capacity to safely drive a vehicle.
Research from 2011 indicates that if you have between .01 per cent and .05 per cent alcohol in your system there is one to three times more chance you will be involved in a collision.
Over the years in Victoria, we have moved through a series of road safety initiatives all focused on preventing all of us from suffering directly or indirectly from death or serious injury on our roads, from seat belts to random breath testing to road safety cameras. As a consequence hundreds of lives have been saved and many more spared from debilitating injuries.
Road trauma is a global issue and is not particular to Victoria. In 2011, the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration commenced a Decade of Action for Road Safety involving more than 100 countries with a goal to prevent five million road traffic deaths by 2020.
Victoria Police is committed to working with the community to stop preventable deaths and to save people from the trauma of injury.
Victoria Police will continue our enforcement approach of random breath testing, deploying booze and drug buses and targeting recidivist offenders.
Risk-taking drivers must be taken off our roads otherwise they will kill themselves or someone else. We are committed to maintaining a focus on road safety.
Victoria Police is encouraging all Victorians to participate in the Government's road safety survey and provide feedback on how we can change driver behaviour in a bid to create a safe road system and ultimately save lives.
Robert Hill is Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner
WHEN I was very young and very unemployed I was lucky to get a job at the Coroners Court one summer, photocopying the files of people who had died in car accidents.
It was a grim task but it gave a fascinating insight into the many ways people can use motor cars to kill themselves.
Having grown up watching years of television advertisements that painted horrific pictures of the consequences of drink-driving, I was expecting that most of the deaths would have been caused by drunks.
I was wrong. As become clear to me over that summer, the vast majority of people who diein traffic accidents are stone cold sober.
Even more surprising, however, were the blood alcohol readings of those who had gone west driving after imbibing.
Since the legal BAC level is .05 you might have expected fatal car accidents to start kicking in at around .06, might you not?
But it wasn't so. In the 12-month period I examined, I didn't find a single deceased drink-driver who clocked in at lower than 0.1 - twice the amount of grog we are allowed to have in our blood stream when we get behind the wheel.
Recent TAC statistics back my casual observation of 20 years ago. According to TAC figures, in 2009 a quarter of the drivers and motorcyclists killed on the roads in Victoria were over .05.
Of those dead, more than two-thirds were more than twice the legal limit, while half were three-times over .05.
Fewer than 20 people were killed that year while driving or riding a motorbike with a blood alcohol content between .05
and .1. And of the deaths that occurred in that range, we can't say for certain if the drink-affected drivers were at fault or if the accident could have been avoided if the drivers were sober.
In other words, cutting the amount of booze in our system down to .02 can have almost no effect on the number of people killed driving between .02 and .05, because at that level there are almost no deaths to prevent. And not many more up to .1.
The real reason road traffic campaigners want to cut the BAC level to .02 is because there is some evidence that lowering it from .05 might reduce the number of really drunk people who die on the roads.
This was what happened in the early 1990s when the ACT moved from .08 to .05 - deaths between .05 and .08 fell a bit but the number of people who died driving over .08 plummeted by 40 per cent.
In other words, for the purpose of deterring seriously pissed people from driving, the law-abiding majority had to endure a curtailment of their hitherto legal - and reasonably safe - right to have a few at the pub before driving home. (The UK allows people to drive at .08 and their rate of fatal car accidents is by some measures lower than ours.)
And now, after 20-odd years of putting up with the ridiculously low level of .05 to deter these drunks, the rest of us are now being told we should move to .02.
If three standard drinks an hour is enough to get most men to .05, will we now only be allowed one? What about women? Will they be reduced to one shandy?
And then there are the thousands of us who drive to work each day - perfectly safely - at .02, having enjoyed ourselves the night before. Who now will dare risk the third bottle with dinner?
And Blind Freddy can see the next step will be 0.00, which in a car-dependent country like ours would mean restaurant meals without wine and trips to the pub without beer.
Now, of course it is a dreadful thing when anyone is killed or injured on our roads, but for the majority to have to endure a booze-free existence to deter people who are already breaking the law is a gross over-reaction.
Instead of penalising us it would be a better use of police resources to start aggressively targeting the serious drink-drivers responsible for nearly a quarter of the deaths on our roads.
James Campbell is opinion editor for the Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun