Matt Greenop on motoring

Matt Greenop is editor of Driven magazine

Matt Greenop: Bigger effort needed to get rid of drunk drivers

By Matt Greenop

Dropping the drink-drive limit has long seemed a no-brainer to me. The Aussie limit has been in place for donkey's years and it became obvious to me while I was living there how effective a sensible limit could be with the right type of promotion.

Queenslanders like a drink just as much as Kiwis do. But the fact that driving home was not an option had been drilled into those who liked to tip a couple back at my local pub and had changed the habit of a lifetime for many.

There was still the odd doofus who tried to sneak out, keys in pocket and drive home, but the punters had almost become a self-policing group and would step in and call the trier a few choice names.

The roads around my neighbourhood were kept a little bit safer as a result.

After all, if a couple of people get caught driving drunk, it means checkpoints and more grief for locals. Keep the idiots away, there's more peace.

But in country towns where the spectre of booze buses and similar is a rarity, drink driving often remains almost acceptable. Just like it does in New Zealand.

It will take a big change in attitude among a lot of Kiwis to keep drunks from killing and injuring people on our roads, and it will probably require an even bigger effort to stamp out drink-driving completely.

Over the years, we've all seen drink drivers who have landed in court after multiple offences and, often, the penalty seems little more than a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket.

What we need to do is make sure these dyed-in-the-wool repeat offenders get the message.

And the only way this can be successful is through the courts.

I reckon if we increased the penalties for each offence and made them really hurt, there would be a change in behaviour.

If there isn't - lock 'em up.

Perhaps making a change so a second drink-drive offence within five years attracts double the licence loss would work.

If there's a third, double it again - that's up to two years for a base-level offence.

If they've got a second offence, there's no option for a work licence - catch the train.

What are your thoughts on what could be done to change the behaviour of our worst drink drivers? Let us know in the comments section of this story, or tell us on Facebook at facebook.com/DrivenNZ.,

Jaguar has chosen the eve of the 2013 LA Auto show to showcase  the coupe version of their oh-so-gorgeous F Type. The unveiling of the new coupe will take place on November 19. Like the convertible, the coupe will feature all-aluminium construction and  the same V6 and V8 power units.
Jaguar has chosen the eve of the 2013 LA Auto show to showcase the coupe version of their oh-so-gorgeous F Type. The unveiling of the new coupe will take place on November 19. Like the convertible, the coupe will feature all-aluminium construction and the same V6 and V8 power units.

- NZ Herald

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