Skip to main content

Is One Pint too much?

There is a discussion going on about whether or not the limit for blood alcohol should be reduced from 80mg/dl to 50mg/dl.

It is argued by some that this would reduce substantially the number of people who die in road accidents.

The problem is, however, that this is not generally accepted to be true.

There are two aspects to such a change. The first is whether there is a problem with people whose blood alcohol is between 50mg and 80mg causing large numbers of fatalities. The second aspect is whether making such a change would have the effect of reducing drink driving overall - a laudable objective.

The other question is whether it is worth introducing a particularly low limit for novice drivers of say 20mg/dl which says basically don't drink at all if you are not an experienced driver. I think there is a good argument for this as it would get new drivers into the habit of not drinking and driving.

To me, therefore, the key question for the 50mg/dl change is whether that would save lives or not.

There are those that say it would. At the same time, however, a report was written by Daniel Albalate into the effects of reducing the limit in other countries from 80 to 50.

He concluded

My main results show that lowering BAC limits to 0.5 mg/ml has been an effective
tool for saving lives in some road user groups. Of these groups, we emphasize
the cases of males, especially in urban areas, and all drivers between 18 and
49 years old. However, the 0.5 mg/ml BAC limits are not found to be statistically
significant for the whole population when one controls for other concurrent
policies and infrastructure quality, which can confound policy effects. Moreover,
I find some reasons to believe that a short time lag exists, and the biggest impacts
are not achieved until the third year following adoption of new BAC limits.

Interestingly also

The only country that established a lower BAC limit is Sweden, whose limit had been 0.5 mg/ml since 1957. Sweden decided to decrease it again, to 0.2 mg/ml. Portugal also passed a reduction in 2001, in an effort to force zero consumption, but after 1 year they returned to the 0.5 mg/ml. level because of economic pressures and no significant effectiveness.

What is also important to note is that road fatalities in the UK went down substantially after the above report was produced. Given that the UK was used as a control for this research it does warrant a further review.

There is more work to be done on this, but am unsure as to whether it is reasonable to rely upon the government's research in changing the law to prevent experienced driver from drinking even one pint of beer. It is clear that the opinion is not unchallenged and it warrants a more rigorous review.

Not least we should look moreso at the question of the novice drivers. There seems to be good evidence that they are more likely to be involved in drinking and driving and, therefore, warrant some attention.


Popular posts from this blog

Homelessness vs Selling Books

Candidates in elections tend to find themselves very busy with lots of things to do.  It is, therefore, necessary to prioritise things to ensure that the important things are dealt with.

To me the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping is an important issue.  Therefore, when Birmingham's Faith Leaders group contacted me to ask me what I would propose and whether I would work with them to make things better I was pleased to respond with my views and indicate that I would work with them after the election.

The Faith Leaders Group (Bishops and other religious leaders in Birmingham) have now sent out their report.

Sadly, according to their report,  I was the only candidate for Yardley to respond.  The group in their report said:

"Particularly disappointing was the lack of response from some of those candidates seeking re-election as MP for their respective constituencies."
It is worth looking at the priorities of my opponent.
Interestingly today she has decided to be at th…

Millionaires and politics

The Labour Party spent most of the last election criticising me for being a successful businessman (aka millionaire). That is business in the private sector employing over 250 people. It is worth looking at the situation for the Labour Candidate now:

For the year 2016-7 Annual Income from Parliament74,962Specifically for her book51,250Other media income etc5,322.82Total declared income131,534.82

Traditionally anyone with an annual income of over £100,000 has been considered to be a millionaire. I did not use my position in parliament to increase my income.

I have been asked for sources for this. This BBC piece looks at how one should define rich. It was written in 2011 so the figures will be slightly out of date. There are perhaps 2 relevant pieces:
"In 1880 a rich person would have had £100,000 in assets or an income of £10,000 a year, he says. About a hundred people a year died leaving £100,000 and by 1910 this was 250 - "a microscopic fraction of the number of death…

The Labour Candidate's Book Promotion Tour and Why It Matters

In the 2015 General Election the Labour Candidate criticised John Hemming for having an external interest and made a pledge that she would be a "Full Time MP for Yardley and my only other job will be mom & carer ...".  Here is a copy of that pledge:

Since that point she has been working on paid Television Programmes and has also written a book. John Hemming has made no secret of the fact that he chairs the board of the company he founded in 1983. This involves one meeting a month. When he was the MP for Yardley he was a full time MP and the Job of being MP for Yardley came first. The Labour candidate has reported 1,274 hours of work other than being an MP in the two years she has been elected and her income in the last year was over £131,000.

Ignoring the question as to how she reconciles that with her "pledge" the question is raised as to what extent her external activity conflicts with the role of Member of Parliament for Yardley. She is supposed to de…