Sunday, March 14, 2010

Reading The (Road) Signs


Back in November, one predicted with regard to suggestions the Queensland driver blood alcohol limit should be zero:

...(when,)after a wide ranging and vigorous debate /sarc, the Bligh Labor government reduces the limit to .02 instead of zero... It's part of the softening up so the populace will accept a smaller excrement sandwich that they'll be grateful for it not being bigger.
Now this in the Queensland Sunday Mail:

QUEENSLAND will consider a new blood alcohol limit for motorists as low as .02 in a bid to cut the state's horrific road toll. A Drink Driving in Queensland discussion paper, to be released today, looks at the possibility of lowering the general alcohol limit from .05.
Quite aside from the fact that the 'horrific' road toll has been trending down for years even based on the statistically dishonest raw figures, one significantly telling aspect of the Courier Mail/Sunday Mail's spruiking for Anna Bligh's Labor Government is a shift in the equally dishonest selective cherry picking of evidence to support its case:

Norway and Sweden have the lowest road toll rates in the world and both have a blood alcohol limit of .02. The Scandinavian countries have four road deaths per 100,000 population – Queensland has eight.
Bligh is trying to whitewash the mistake made by her Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson back in November when he cited Sweden and Denmark as the poster children for low BACs for drivers and low road tolls. As I noted then:

Mr Atkinson said Australia could look to Scandinavia, which had far lower road tolls per head of population than Australia. The alcohol limit in Sweden is .02 and in Denmark .05. Their road toll deaths per 100,000 were four, Mr Atkinson said, compared to eight in Queensland.

The Danish BAC is the same as Queensland's. Their experience plainly indicates factors other than the BAC affect the road toll.
They also continue to support their case by comparing apples with oranges in counting the death rate per 100,000 of population instead of per 100,000 kilometres driven.

The dishonesty of politicians is not surprising. Neither one supposes is the dishonesty of journalists from the Courier and Sunday Mail who pretend they're reporting news when they're just acting as the media wing of State Parliament.

-- Nick

No comments: