A LOT has changed in driving over the past 30 years, and one thing that’s made an enormous impact on road safety is the change in attitude to drink driving.
Many of you will remember the Transport Accident Commission’s “If you drink, then drive, you’re a bloody idiotâ€ť campaign, and how it shocked a generation into realising that having a few too many drinks and then getting behind the wheel was just plain stupid.
That was in 1989, a few years after the blood-alcohol limit was reduced from 0.08 to 0.05. This week there’s been a lot of discussion about whether the limit should be put back up again, but in my view that would be a terrible idea.
Research shows a person’s crash risk spikes if they’re driving at 0.05 and increases sharply from there.
Alcohol impairs judgment, it can slow responsiveness, it can change the way you see risks, it can slow down reactions and for some people impairment kicks in well before they reach 0.05. Need I go on?
Too many families are suffering the grief of losing someone to a drink-drive-related crash. Their pain goes way beyond the road toll statistics and the research reports and we mustn’t let ourselves be distracted by unhelpful calls to allow more alcohol back on Queensland’s roads.
The discussion over whether the limit should be raised needs to be flipped. We should be talking about how alcohol affects us all differently.
The safest way to enjoy a drink is just to do away with the car altogether and make other arrangements to get home. Because just as it has been for three decades, if you drink and then drive, you’re still a bloody idiot.