Why do people continue to drink and drive? In an earlier article I argued that the UK should adopt a zero-tolerance rule, like some of its contemporaries like the Czech Republic and Hungary.
But having read another news item the other day, now I realise, that while it would undoubtedly help in someway, the most serious offenders will still continue to do as they please because, no matter what the limit is, they disregard it anyway. It is irrelevant.
Different people have different alcohol tolerances. An eight-stone woman and a twenty-stone man are likely to feel quite different from each other after a pint of lager each. In addition to this, other factors like how much the person regularly drinks can have an effect on how much alcohol impedes someone’s reactions. But this should be no excuse. As has been pointed out, if alcohol doesn’t affect you after one pint, what’s the point in drinking it? Have a soft drink instead. There is evidence that some people may start to feel the effects of alcohol after only half a pint of beer. And while others may think they’re ‘fine,’ they aren’t fit to drive. You don’t need to be blind drunk and unable to speak to qualify as being over the legal limit.
It is a major social problem these days. In the last couple of weeks the papers and news sites have been full of reports of drunken drivers causing horrific crashes on the roads. One commentator even suggested that car manufacturers should probably start fitting breathalysers to their cars. These devices, he argued, would be connected to the vehicle’s ignition and starter systems so that if the driver failed the breath test, he would be unable to start the car. Surely, he argued, in this day and age, such a piece of technology would not be too fantastical.
What steps can we take to lower drink-drive crashes?
I agree that something more draconian is needed to curb the problem of drink-driving, even though it is not as big a social problem as it used to be, back in the days when law enforcement in this area was rather lax. However, I also think that the sort of people who drive home after heavy drinking, having no regard for the safety of others, would not be averse to a bit of breathalyser-tweaking to ensure that their fume-laden breath didn’t cut the car’s ignition. It would need to be a pretty sophisticated piece of kit to work accurately and furthermore be deeply ingrained into the car’s system. If it was a simple add-on that could be removed at will, then it is likely that only the kind of people who don’t drink-drive in the first place would be the ones leaving it on.
But, done properly, there can be no doubt that it would be a valuable asset in the drive to cut car crash deaths.
Date Published: October 29, 2010
Author: David Brown