August 01, 2014
Alcohol limit cut
A cut in the alcohol limit for drivers is being hailed as the most important alcohol reform in a generation.
The bill lowering the limit from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 microlitres of blood was passed on Wednesday with little fanfare.
It comes into effect in December.
Professor Doug Sellman, the Director of the National Addiction Centre at Otago University, says it will save dozens of lives and millions of dollars in accident-related costs.
It’s of particular importance to Maori because of disproportionate levels of harm.
He says the Government seemed almost embarrassed about passing the bill, which had wide support across parties.
"No one really wants to make it an election issue because they know that the alcohol industry will make such a big deal about it and will try to embarras any political party that tries to make alcohol a political issue. It's a tricky number and we've just got to battle on but what we've seen here with the drink-driving limit coming down, sustained advocacy for alcohol reform will work in the end," he says.
Professor Sellman says modeling shows the lower blood alcohol limit will also reduce consumption across the whole spectrum of drinkers, as people become more careful about drinking and driving.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH DOUG SELLMAN CLICK ON THE LINK
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