IT IS not a popular stance to take but I am taking it anyway.

Just where is the evidence the "new" lower drink-drive limits have done anything other than scare the pants off normally responsible men and women who enjoy a couple of beers or glasses of wine before heading home from work.

It may be there, but I have yet to read anything definitive that proves the road toll, crash rates or whatever have benefited from the lower limits.

That is I suspect because we all know that problem drink-drivers will put away far more than the limit, more than the old limits too and run the gauntlet anyway.


They must be targeted and taken off the road, they are dangerous lawbreakers but it is not them we are talking about.

I was pleased to read that Hospitality NZ chief executive Bruce Robertson was critical of what he saw as police scare tactics over drink limits and, in particular, a less-than-convincing television commercial that has a woman dragged off to the police station being over the new limit after a couple of drinks at dinner.

It's true that police, paramedics and other emergency workers are the ones who have to pick up the pieces from crash sites, as we are so often told, and that must be awful but it is hardly likely the woman shown on the television commercial is going to be the cause of a crash, at least not due to her alcohol consumption.

She may well be a contributor to an increase in revenue gathered from a police checkpoint though.

It is an undisputed fact that since the legal limit was cut from 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath to 250 micrograms that many hundreds, if not thousands, of drivers have been caught driving below the old limit but what does that really prove?

Surely it can't be read as removing dangerous drivers from the roads - they were not considered that until the rules were changed in December last year.

The "standard drinks" measure is cumbersome and no help at all. I suspect most social drinkers would admit they really don't understand the standard drinks measure at all, it's about as accurate as working out the calorie count of a restaurant meal while eating it.