The Christmas road toll for 2015/16 came in at 12, a figure that is neither remarkable nor unremarkable if you compare it with previous years.

Statistics show there were 16 in the same period last year (and 345 injured), shortly following the new drink-driving limits. In 2013/14 there were seven. In 2008/09 there were 25.

Opponents of the new drink driving limits, introduced in December 2014, will argue that lowering the alcohol limit makes no difference to the death rate, and that the new limits instil fear in drivers of being caught, as well as crippling the hospitality industry, particularly in the country where you invariably have to drive to a venue.

Well, fear is not a bad thing. It might be negative, but fear is part of survival and avoiding dangerous situations. And while it might seem a shame that people will choose to avoid alcohol because of the fear of losing their licence - as opposed to wrecking lives and property - well, punishment is part of committing crime.

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According to statistics, alcohol has been a contributing factor in only 18 per cent of the road deaths these holidays. Losing control of the car was the most common cause of dying on the road. In half the cases, the deaths involved single vehicles.

So it could seem that when it comes to cars and roads, people die through basically being inept as drivers, a situation that doesn't seem to improve.

But in news reportage a senior police officer said the numbers being caught over the old, supposedly dangerous, drink-driving limit was down by about 15 per cent. Bring in a new limit, and that will have a knock-on effect on a higher level.

Unfortunately, it is also part of our culture to drink, be casually average with our driving, and have far cheaper car insurance than countries like England or Japan. Yes, we do seem to crash regardless of alcohol, but over the holidays 18 per cent of crashes (likely to be about 40) were due to alcohol. If police say they're catching fewer people over the limit, then that must translate to fewer crashes.

And that's a good thing.

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