Saturday, January 16, 2016

I got breathalyzed at 1pm on Friday

I got breathalyzed at 1pm on Friday, January 15. The result was "no alcohol".

But a couple of things gave me pause for thought.

In the Lower Hutt  area, a very busy bridge has been temporarily closed for maintenance, and a major diversion is in place. This afforded the perfect place to launch a drink/drive operation. I said to my daughter after we passed, "There are 20 cops there, yes?" She agreed. Some are placed pre- and post testing area (presumably to prevent people u-turning last minute). There are 3 directly testing, with others milling behind, and others around the place any 'positives' are taken to. There were probably 4 police cars stationed alongside  other support vehicles in a large grassy roadside area.

Firstly, the traffic diversion was not working well. One intersection, unused to so much traffic, was backing up badly and begging for a set of lights or a points-man. I thought that would have been  useful job for the traffic police. But no.

Second, I've been thinking about Article 21 and 22 of the NZ Bill of Rights. Why am I and others being subjected to arbitrary detention by the agents of the state that we pay to keep us safe from crime? To monitor and deal with people who would actively abuse personal or property rights? Who would maim and kill and leave innocent people scarred for life?

Third, I am not convinced that the new lower alcohol limit is making any difference at the sharp end. But it has allowed for more tax extortion  and more criminalization.

Crime isn't low enough for me to be happy for  law and order resources to be used this way. I doubt it ever would be. The exercise smacks of picking low-hanging fruit to squeeze revenue from, and general persecution of other road users who aren't fully compliant with state requisites.

Safety appears somewhere  on the list of objectives but not at the top.


david said...

They probably though they might catch someone who had exceeded the new limits by having a chardonnay over lunch and then driving shock horror. Death rates have increased since the introduction of lower speed tolerance and lower drink drive limits and I don't think it is a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

Careful, they might read your blog and next time it will be zee cavity search!!

Mark Hubbard said...

The wowser blood alcohol limit is destroying rural hospitality for no reason. With that, more freedoms of we responsible adults. Karl de Fresne has done a couple of great pieces lately on the new wowserism of Nanny State. I was blogging on it constantly up until my final post. Not enough people want to know anymore. Freedom has lost the day, completely.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree David.

The police for years were very happy to claim that their speed enforcement approach was responsible for the lowering of the road toll. I tend to think it was more to do with influx of newer, safer, better quality Jap cars and improvements to road.

However, if their logic was right in the 10 years leading up to 2014 (ie focussing on marginal over-speeders and marginal over-drinkers saves lives) then the logic is exactly the same proving that:
- the lower speeding thresholds,
- lower blood alcohol limits
- increased police presence to enforce the above

have all killed more NZers. The police and transport policies are wrong and are killing more of us.

Of course there is a more obvious answer - police and transport officials have no idea what they're doing and are clinging to the policies of the past. Ever heard a policeman or a bureaucrat announce they were wrong?

The root problem is the "speed is a factor in most fatal crashes". Lies, damned lies and research carried out by transport officials - the wording " a factor..." is particularly problematic.

I have a counter view - I don't need to carry out any research to be fairly certain that all fatal crashes had a least one of the parties wearing underwear. Therefore I can categorically declare that "Underwear is a factor in all fatal crashes" - should we introduce random police checks to ensure no one is wearing underwear in an attempt to lower to road toll.

This approach has exactly as much merit as the existing policy approach to the road toll, and it has the benefit of not having research showing that the current one is killing us?

Anonymous said...

While waiting to depart Queenstown airport the other day I was looking for a gift for my wife and bought her a book on driving by the Stig. It was an eye opener and shows clearly what works and why (and the opposite). The police here need to read it. Who would have thought that one of the biggest safety factors may be the side of the road we drive on.

In respect of the influence of drinking on driving Professor Batt at Massey did a lot of research many years ago and that showed clear levels where influence was measurable. It also established the relationships between breath and blood alcohol measurements. Its clear that the new limits are just a nonsense and penalising people who are not under the influence of anything except a stupid politicised police force.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

I have sent a version of my post to the Hutt News as a letter and added in the crime statistics for the Hutt Valley. Recorded crime rose 8.5% between 2013 and 2014 (latest available at Police website).

pdm said...

I cannot recall the last time I saw police on `points duty'.

JC said...

As far as speed goes what the cops are targeting is the upside variation of the speed limit.. not the variation from the safe speed.

The Solomon Curve has been around a long time and has never really been challenged in its basic truths, ie, that its the drivers who vary from the *average* speed that have the collisions..

ie, it isn't the legal speed that keeps you safe but the average speed as determined by the motorists at the time. The driver the cops should be looking to pull over is the one who goes faster or slower than the average... certainly its these drivers who anger me when I'm tootling along going with the flow.

Whats more, I have a feeling that even an impaired driver is safer if he sticks to the average speed.


Anonymous said...

if we were serious about stopping crime we'd just give the cops guns, laws to let them use 'em, and tell them to go and sort out the crims.

If we were serious about stopping car crashes we'd just ban any car worth less than $30K from the road.

Anonymous said...

LM at 9:53

So it vill be zee cavity search for you!!!

Jigsaw said...

Between our place and Auckland - some 93 km there are now 6 different speed zones. Our gravel road is rated at 100kph (open road)-even though that would be stupid,then its still 100 kph on the SH, then 90 for some km then 70 through a small town, then 90 again, then 100 on a section of new road, then 90 again and then 100 on the motorway. In that distance there are still 2 passing lanes. The result is that it is more dangerous than it has ever been (although labelled a 'safer speed zone!) and the police have an absolute field day with speed cameras. There can be no other explanation other than revenue gathering. No doubt at some point they will proclaim the idea a huge success-for road safety reasons of course!

Redbaiter said...

"Second, I've been thinking about Article 21 and 22 of the NZ Bill of Rights. Why am I and others being subjected to arbitrary detention by the agents of the state that we pay to keep us safe from crime?"

Not one comment on this, to my mind the most important point in your post. What an apathetic anti-liberty place NZ has become. Full of ignorant complacent fuckwits who don't have clue what they are throwing to the wind.

They deserve everything that is coming to them.

workingman said...

Always follow the money. Who pays for road blocks? Is it ACC?

I was recently talking to a policeman in Perth, WA, and he said the road blocks are paid for outside the police budget. So the more road blocks the police do the more they get paid. They are especially popular towards month end uf the budget is stretched or there has been overtime due a major incident