Graham Hurdle's blog: 16 December 2013 - Should we prosecute or educate drink drivers?
16 December 2013
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
December is well underway and that means the police will be into their month-long drink driving campaign.
Thames Valley Police reported the average nabbed driver was twice the legal limit of 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.
The question has to be whether these drivers are totally irresponsible and ignoring the law or if they actually believe they are below the drink drive limit when they get behind the wheel?
Some drivers are simply irresponsible and there is not much we can do to stop them. Obviously you can ban them from driving, but the worst offenders are as likely to ignore the ban as they are to drink and drive again.
However, I believe a very large proportion of drink drivers are normal people who have simply made an error of judgement.
Whether that's taking a gamble of 'one for the road' when, in reality it's very out of character for them to do so, or simply not realising they've had too much - either after one extra at the pub or getting into their vehicle the morning after a heavy night before.
But why do drivers make errors of judgement about drink driving? Surely it's not an easy mistake to make because there is a legal limit and all you have to do is stay under it.
Unfortunately it's not as straightforward as that, because the amount different people can drink and remain below the limit varies.
This is due to many factors such as:
- gender (men tend to process alcohol faster than women)
- stress levels
- whether you've eaten recently
- age (younger people tend to process alcohol more slowly)
Don't get me wrong, I am not defending drink driving in the slightest. If you get caught over the limit then you deserve all you get.
In fact my stance is that you do not drink at all if you are driving, but on the basis that people will drink to some degree and then get behind the wheel, we need to look at ways of addressing this.
My view is that there should be more investment in education. But if the Government were to spend a bit of money on road and alcohol safety, how should this be invested?
Alcohol awareness courses for offenders? That seems a bit late to wait for the offence to be committed before educating people not to do it again.
My belief is that there should be far greater investment in proactively educating everyone about road safety and alcohol - not just those drinking and driving.
I say this,because road safety is for all road users. It is not just drink drivers that are involved in alcohol related accidents.
Alcohol impaired cyclists and pedestrians also get killed and injured on our roads and everyone needs to understand the dangers of being under the influence of alcohol.
We've produced a free online alcohol awareness course. If you would like to find out more about the dangers of drink driving I recommend you and your colleagues have a go yourselves.