Editorial: Change in liquor laws overdue

By Corey Charlton

It has taken a long time for the government to move to lower the drink driving limit.
It has taken a long time for the government to move to lower the drink driving limit.

It is remarkable it has taken this long for our lawmakers to move to lower the country's legal drink-drive limit.

From next year, drivers over 20 will have to adjust to the lower legal blood alcohol limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100mls of blood.

Under the new law, drivers testing between 50mg and the current limit of 80mg will receive a $200 fine and 50 demerit points, while those at 80mg and above will continue to face criminal charges. Drivers aged under-20 will still be subject to a zero alcohol limit.

The change in law is well overdue and this has been made all too obvious by recent media coverage showing adults consuming, in some cases, up to 10 standard drinks and remaining under what is an absurd legal limit.

Last summer I passed through a police checkpoint conducting mandatory breath testing. I was surprised to see the two ciders I'd drunk didn't even register on the breathaliser. Did that mean my personal limit of three drinks before driving could be extended?

Perhaps. But our restraint should not be driven by a fear of breaking the law. Rather, it should stem from our social conscience.

Education must be conducted in tandem with legislation and this is where real ground has been made in recent years. To great effect, my generation has grown up repeatedly warned of the dangers of drinking and driving through TV advertising campaigns.

I am glad to see the legislation is catching up.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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