Articles and Initiatives on Drinking and Driving

June 16, 2005:  State-Specific Results

on the Issue of Impaired Driving

     State-specific results from four national surveys of criminal justice professionals on the issue of impaired driving are now available from the TIRF. Sample size permitting, jurisdictions that participated in these national surveys can now request results specific to their state that will assist them in identifying priority problems and practical solutions.

     Survey participants included: 2700 police officers from 16 states; 390 prosecutors from 35 states; 900 judges from 44 states and 890 probation and parole officers from 41 states. This information can be useful to those states wanting to make improvements in their DWI system or planning to undertake a statewide review of it.

     The surveys were part of a comprehensive research project by TIRF that looked at ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. criminal DWI system for dealing with hard-core drunk drivers.

     To find out which U.S. jurisdictions have state-specific information available, click here.


 flag_thumb-usa May 24, 2005:  The American Beverage Institute

More Interested in its Members’ Profits than in Lives?

     The American Beverage Institute have issued another press releaseimplying that all efforts in the fight against drunk driving should be focused solely on particularly heavy drinkers and repeat offenders.

     Drive and Stay Alive challenge this approach on the grounds that many thousands of people have been killed in the USA by drunk drivers who were certainly over the legal limit but did not have as much alcohol in their system as the group to whom the ABI seemingly wishes to divert all of the attention.

Read the full article here.


 flag_thumb-canada March 16, 2005:  Prince Edward Island Doctors Propose a

Tougher Drunk-Driving Limit

CHARLOTTETOWN – Doctors on Prince Edward Island have asked the province to toughen the rule that defines impaired driving….

     The federal Criminal Code defines impairment as anything more than 0.08 per cent of alcohol in a person’s blood. The P.E.I. Medical Society asked a committee of the legislature to introduce a provincial legal limit of 0.05 per cent.

     Dr. Gerry O’Hanley said… “The fatal crash rate doubles for each .02 per cent increase in blood alcohol tolerance,” O’Hanley said. “Your vision starts to get impaired at .03, your steering accuracy decreases at .035.”…

     Most European countries have set the legal impairment level at 0.05 per cent….

Full article, from CBC News


flag_thumb-uk  January 11, 2005: A Fresh Look at Drunk-Driving Deaths in

Britain and a Call for a Lower BAC Limit

     To coincide with the Second Reading of the Road Safety Bill, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety today publishes a fresh look at the likely reductions in deaths and serious injuries in drink-drive crashes if the Government lowered the maximum permitted Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Level from 80mg to 50mg per 100mlle of blood[i.e. the equivalent, in the USA, to BACs of 0.08% and 0.05%, respectively — DSA]. The fresh estimates have been made by Professor Richard Allsop of the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London….

Full press release here.


 flag_thumb-eu –vs– flag_thumb-usa   December 30, 2004

European Laws Place Emphasis On the Driving, Not the Drinking

View this very interesting comparison here.


 flag_thumb-uk December 18, 2004: A Major Call to Reduce the BAC Limit in

the UK

     The British Medical Association has urged the Government to lower the drink-drive limit as part of new road safety legislation.

     There is no provision to reduce the limit in the Road Safety Bill which is currently going through Parliament. But, with the Bill due to have its second reading in the House of Commons next month, the BMA, which has been campaigning for a lower limit since 1990, today urged the Government to “use this opportunity to save lives”.

     The BMA reckons that about 50 drink-drive-related deaths would be prevented in the UK every year if the limit was reduced from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood [equivalent to 0.08% BAC] to 50mg [0.05% BAC], which is the limit in [the majority] of other European countries….

[For more detailed information on international BAC limits, click here]

Full BMA report here.


flag_thumb-scotland  December 18, 2004: “My Whole Life Fell Apart When I Was

Caught Drunk at the Wheel”  — The danger of still being intoxicated the morning after ‘having a few drinks’

     One in ten people caught drink-driving in the Lothians [Scotland] are picked up the morning after a night out. Here, an Edinburgh sales representative reveals the high price he paid after being stopped ‘the morning after the night before’:

     If anyone had asked me how my life was going when I got up that morning, I would have said it was pretty good….

     After grabbing a quick shower, I jumped into the car with [my girlfriend], planning to drop her off on the way.

     When I saw the police car behind me I didn’t think anything of it. When it put its sirens on and I pulled over I still wasn’t bothered. I was used to being stopped in police checks for tyre pressure or whatever their latest road safety campaign was, because I drove so much.

     I think they said I had not put my indicator on or something really inconspicuous. When they got the breathalyser out I still thought it was just routine. I didn’t give it a second thought. But then they handed it back to me and said: “You’ve failed.”

     A thousand and one emotions went through me — fear, shock, embarrassment, a whole load of things….

     I was still in a state of shock when the police made me leave the company car by the side of the road and took me to the police station….

Anyone who has not yet grasped that alcohol can linger in the bloodstream even after a long night’s sleep should read this full article, from The Scotsman.


The Drunk Driving Situation in South Africa — a Statistical Snapshot

     Drunk drivers are responsible for half the road crashes in South Africa. A recent survey showed 55 percent of drivers in road crashes in 2003 were under the influence of alcohol.

[Source:  “Seven killed, 20 injured South African road accidents”, published by Xinhuanet, December 3, 2004]

drunk-driving_cant-calculate_uk_dd0604-poster

 

A New Drunk Driving Campaign from Britain — Summer 2004

There is no failsafe guide as to how to stay under the legal alcohol limit or how much you can drink and still drive safely. It depends on your weight, sex, age, metabolism, stress levels, an empty stomach, and the amount and type of alcohol you drink.

Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely as your reaction times are impaired and you’re unable to judge speed and distances accurately. The only safe option is not to drink if you plan to drive.

You can’t calculate your alcohol limit — So don’t try.

The THINK! campaign has launched a new 30 second drink drive TV ad warning that it takes less than you might think for your driving to be impaired by drinking alcohol.

The TV ad, Crash (.mpg – 1.49mb), shows three guys meeting up after work for a quiet drink. One of the guys buys a second round of beers, and our ‘hero’, tries to decline because he is driving but quickly gives in – “After all it’s only two.” The ad dramatises that exact moment of decision making and shows the consequences of that second drink.

How the ad was made

     The new drink drive TV ad was filmed entirely in a pub over two days in early June 2004 using quickly cut camera shots, stunts and state of the art editing. Using stunt people, a car reaching speeds of between 10mph – 20mph was used inside the pub to create the crash scene and capture the crash’s impact. A pub table was then transposed over the moving image of the car to create the dramatic scene.

Source: The UK Think! Road Safety Website

 


July 2004: An article by Robyn Robertson and Herb Simpson of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, entitled “Judicial report on the adjudication and sanctioning of hard-core drinking drivers,” appears in the Summer 2003 issue of Court Review, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 8-15.

This article summarizes the findings from the TIRF report, “DWI System Improvements for Dealing with Hard Core Drinking Drivers: Sanctioning” released in December 2002. The findings were based on the views, insights, and opinions of more than 1,000 judges across the United States. The report is part of a multiyear research initiative designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system by highlighting key problems in each segment of the system and recommending practical, cost-effective solutions.

If you would like a copy of the article, contact Barbara Koppe. There is a minimum charge per order for non-members/non-donors of $25.00 (Canadian dollars) to cover shipping and handling.

Barbara Koppe
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Telephone: 613-238-5235
Toll free: 1-877-238-5235


On December 4, 2003, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report that describes the safety problem represented by impaired driving and provides strategies NHTSA plans to pursue to decrease impaired driving. Full report (pdf)

 


 

Despite the allegations by some individuals that drunk-driving legislation hasn’t worked and that the BAC limits should be increased, long-term statistics show that the existing laws have caused massive reductions in death rates. Click here to view them.

 


 

logo_des-poster_uk

The designated non-drinking driver campaign in Britain, “I’ll be DES”, which is run by The Portman Group, will be participating in World Health Day on Wednesday 7 April. The World Health Organisation is calling for international action to drive down the increasing number of road traffic injuries worldwide.

Click here, or on the poster, left, to visit the Portman Group’s “Des” web page.

Visit DSA’s own “World Health Day 2004” (Road Safety) web page, here.

 


‘Involvement by Young Drivers in Fatal Alcohol-Related Motor-Vehicle Crashes — United States, 1982–2001’ is a report from the CDC. Amongst other things it highlights the fact that between 1982–2001, fatal crash involvement by drinking drivers in the USA decreased by a remarkable 46%. Read more.


The fact that strict long-term enforcement measures, combined with heavy penalties and considerable publicity do significantly reduce the incidence of drink-driving is shown in the ‘Drinking and Driving Policy Paper’ of Britain’s ‘Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ (RoSPA).Click here to view the full .pdf file.


Canada — the third edition of ‘Smashed’ — Editorial page


Lowering the Blood Alcohol Content limit (BAC) in Austria caused a reduction in road accident casualties. Click here to read the article.


In the USA, in 2001, only 42% of all drivers involved in fatal road crashes were tested for their blood-alcohol level, and in Texas it was only 23%. Full report, from the Texas Transportation Institute


A report by Dr. Ted Miller to the NHTSA (in this case concerning New Mexico) shows exactly why the tightening of drunk-driving legislation in the USA can save progressively more lives as well as huge sums of money.


On a larger scale than Dr. Ted Miller’s comments, a powerful report to the European Commission  brushes aside education campaigns as being ineffective and makes nine recommendations that include wide-scale random breath testing and reducing the BAC throughout Europe to 0.02% by the year 2010. (From the Globe Magazine and the Institute of Alcohol Studies.)


 

A report titled “New Zealand Drink-driving Statistics: The Effectiveness of Road Safety Television Advertising” found that “only a tenuous relationship” was found linking any such campaign to a reduction in the rate of offending.Click here to view the report  (pdf).


The UK Department for Transport run a campaign, aimed primarily at 17-24 year-old men, called: ‘Think! Don’t Drink and Drive.’ View the summary here. The success rate of drink-driving legislation is here for all to see and is indisputable.


A Review of the Literature on the Effects of Low Doses of Alcohol on Driving-Related Skills, by Herbert Moskowitz and Dary Fiorentino. NHTSA. April 2000.


Blood-Alcohol (BAC) Limits in over 80 countries, worldwide.


Enhanced Sanctions for Higher BACs

Evaluations of Minnesota’s High BAC Law