Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Friday night road warrior

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  • BenWilson,

    Yes, it's pretty clear that the total number of drunks netted will mostly be a reflection of how much the cops focussed on catching them, not how many there are.

    Statements by senior coppers on the current perils facing society seem to have about as much credibility as any conservative with an opinion. In other words - just an opinion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Statements by senior coppers on the current perils facing society seem to have about as much credibility as any conservative with an opinion.

    And where did that come from? I'd hardly blame Police management for desperately wanting any PR that doesn't involve what Michael Laws so repulsively describes as 'sensual excesses' in the provinces.

    Anyway, yes I do think Russell has a point - but at the same time, I also have a fair amount of sympathy for frontline police officers who feel as if they're bagged for policy decisions made well over their heads, and no matter what happens it's always their fault.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Not just an Auckland problem, apparently rioting broke out with the police fully stretchedin the little country town I live in
    Closer examination of the facts reveals that three were arrested ,a tire were slashed and one window was broken
    Pretty normal especially after a local rugby win
    It all seems like a media beat up to me and (tongue in cheek) and an obvious try by labour to distract from the bad polls etc

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Craig, sure, cops have a hard job, which they freely chose to pursue. It doesn't mean their opinion is more correct or even relevant than anyone else's.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Journalists, statistics, alarmist headlines... (screams and falls frothing to the floor). Here's a thought: when the APN "outsource" their subbing to contractors in Mumbai, we might just get some subs who are numerate (phds in stats?).
    And maybe not as desperate to sell the paper. Who knows?
    "Checkpoints arrest simply almost as many as they did previously!"
    "Arey! New Zealand's Drunkest Driver: asleep at the wheel!"

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2088 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I actually think there's a pitch for a lowering of the alcohol/driving limit behind this; that's in the police's 2006 alcohol strategy. And while a lowering of the limit might have merit in its own right, I'd rather it wasn't promoted with claims of uncertain merit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    "I actually think there's a pitch for a lowering of the alcohol/driving limit behind this"

    How do you figure? Not that I disagree, just want to know what claims of non-uncertain merit you formulate that thought from.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    __Statements by senior coppers on the current perils facing society seem to have about as much credibility as any conservative with an opinion.__

    Anyway, yes I do think Russell has a point - but at the same time, I also have a fair amount of sympathy for frontline police officers who feel as if they're bagged for policy decisions made well over their heads, and no matter what happens it's always their fault.

    That's two ships passing in the night. 'Senior coppers' and 'frontline police' are by and large non-intersecting sets.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    That's two ships passing in the night. 'Senior coppers' and 'frontline police' are by and large non-intersecting sets.

    Oy vey, quote that for truthiness - especially when you've got a couple of cops around for dinner, cocktails and a bitch session. ;) But I don't think that's a distinction the media always makes.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • JR,

    That museum video is equal parts horror & comedy.

    Since Jan 2007 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Moore,

    As the designated driver for some beautiful party people, I wound up covering a few miles on Friday night

    Aw shucks, liking that description there Russell. And thanks for your sensible driving skills, cool head, and soothing aura!
    I think the Bonnie Scarlets may have pipped the Coshercot Honeys in band of the night status, but whatevs- both were freakin great!
    Indie rock still rules...

    Ak • Since Jan 2007 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • nz native,

    The police are always making strange claims which when mixed in with un-referenced statistics, slanted storys and general media hype gives us the next moral issue/threat that we should all be wringing our hands about.

    The police and the media are a bit like the blind leading the stupid.

    Drink driving attitudes have changed enormously in a generation and although there will always be a hardcore group of idiots who keep at it drivers and particularly young ones can be proud over how much less drink driving goes on nowadays compared to our quite recent past.

    I get quite tired of reading or hearing police spokes people spouting utter bullshit in the papers and on the radio, most of it I would classify as fear mongering and it all seems to lead in one direction .......... more

    More police ................more powers

    Since May 2007 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    It's a bit like how a single car crash "shows that New Zealanders just aren't getting the message to slow down" as one officer opined on the 6 o'clock news the other night.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    "Drink driving attitudes have changed enormously in a generation and although there will always be a hardcore group of idiots who keep at it drivers and particularly young ones can be proud over how much less drink driving goes on nowadays compared to our quite recent past."

    Indeed. My impressionable young cousin, who I confess to converting towards boy racerism, just bought himself a Legacy GT. He showed it off to me with the most responsible driving I've seen in a kid, like, ever. And when I asked him about drinking and driving he said that drinking was for old folks. His buzz is surfing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Rickai,

    I love getting stopped when driving drunk people around town. I usually make sure I go past some key booze bus stations. In my experience, any place where you can't see the cops until you're right on them is best. In Auckland - Hopetoun Bridge, outside the entrance to the Okahu Bay Marina, back of the Zoo, and the Arch Hill Motorway underpass are all winners. Motorway on and off ramps are gold too. Especially in the morning for some reason.

    Since Jan 2007 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    "I actually think there's a pitch for a lowering of the alcohol/driving limit behind this"

    How do you figure? Not that I disagree, just want to know what claims of non-uncertain merit you formulate that thought from.

    I think the Herald in particular has editorially got behind the lowering the limit (which, as I said, is also a strategic target for the police).

    But I'd just like to be more competently convinced. The Herald took its stance in an editorial that contained this howler:

    The present limit of 80mg per 100ml of blood allows men up to four standard drinks, each containing 10g of alcohol, and women up to three, in the first hour. Thereafter, there can be up to one further drink an hour if a person keeps on drinking after the first 60 minutes. Ten kilograms is roughly the amount of alcohol the body can absorb out of the blood in an hour.

    Ten kilograms? So, er, what's that in the old money, sonny? And have the subs left the building already?

    It continues:

    That weight of international opinion suggests that this country, which has traditionally adopted many road-safety measures from Victoria, should again be casting an eye across the Tasman.

    Experience there, where there has been a 14 per cent drop in alcohol-related crashes since the 1980s, reinforces the fact that a lower limit must be accompanied by sterner enforcement, especially if inroads are to be made against repeat offenders. Such drivers must believe their apprehension is a strong probability, if not an inevitability.

    I hope that Australia has done a hell of a lot better than a 14% drop, because according to the Ministry of Transport factsheet, every number on NZ alcohol related road accidents has at least halved. Fatal accidents with alcohol as a contributory factor numbered 238 in 1985 - in 2003, they were 100.

    Interestingly the number of blood-alcohol convictions didn't fall as sharply, but in 2003 was 4500 lower than in 1991, even with a far greater degree of enforcement.

    So ... tell me "we can still do better", but please don't pretend there is some unprecedented crisis. It's not like this stuff is hard to look up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    His buzz is surfing.

    Dude! Get his opinion on toking & driving!

    :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    russell, re internet traffic limits
    you have noted in a previous column are not the norm overseas. ie most plans in the US and Asia are open limit plans, usage is not an issue etc.

    Have you seen any figures quoted as to what it costs per meg of traffic to telecom for international traffic, this being the reason given for imposing limits on our internet usage and essentially stalling any progress for nz on things like streaming video and internet radio.

    I'd be interested to know how much of $10 for 5 gigs extra actually goes toward the real cost of 5 gigs of traffic and what percentage is pure profit.

    Telecom are perfectly capable of providing high speed internet but choose to imply that there just isn't the bandwith available and that it costs them greatly when people actually use the internet to its capacity, ie for more than just emails and web browsing.

    Those who want to do that are charged pretty harshly.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Sam Farrow,

    The quote from the policeman in this article:

    I have never seen a person so drunk in my life

    Reminds me of a story that was told to me by a proffessor at Canterbury Law School

    A notable member of Christchurch's white bread community was arrested and charged with drunk driving, and hired the services of one of the best barristers in town, pleading not guilty.

    The prosecution case proceeded as planned; until the flash barrister stood up to cross-examine the doctor who had taken the evidential sample of blood from the “innocent” accused.

    “Come now doctor” the barrister began, “my client wasn’t that drunk was he?” The doctor, somewhat shocked, stared blankly for a second.

    The barrister continued, “My client hardly appeared drunk to you, isn’t that right?”
    “Are you kidding!” the doctor exclaimed, “He was so intoxicated he didn’t know what he was doing!”
    The triumphant lawyer turned to the judge and said “I make a motion to dismiss this case on the grounds that my client, given the testimony of the police doctor, cannot have had the intention to drink and drive.”

    The case was dismissed forthwith.

    As an aside and having registered specially to make this comment - I am very surprised to see html not supported here - it is a global standard and your method seems beta'ish

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Russell, did I misread you? When you say "there's a pitch" you aren't backing it, just saying "this is what they're aiming at", they being the Herald and it's mates the cops. If so, excuse me.

    Not that I especially disagree with a lowered blood alcohol rating. These days having a designated driver is becoming so common that insisting on a stone cold sober driver is probably not a bad idea.

    Sam, I've heard that the flash lawyer was none other than David Lange, but the way I heard it he said "my client couldn't possibly have been drunk in charge of a vehicle, since he wasn't even in control of his own bladder". All hearsay.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Russell, did I misread you? When you say "there's a pitch" you aren't backing it, just saying "this is what they're aiming at", they being the Herald and it's mates the cops. If so, excuse me.

    Yeah, that's what I meant.

    I'm open to being convinced of the merit of a lowering, but I get antsy about being bombarded with factoids.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    I believe they are getting ready to introduce random roadside testing for cannabis (and other illicit drugs). As with alcohol, those tests will be unable to measure actual impairment, just blood metabolyte levels.

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    "I'm open to being convinced of the merit of a lowering, but I get antsy about being bombarded with factoids."

    Likewise. Dressing opinion up as fact, just because a cop said it, is weak, even if the opinion is good. I feel the same way about cops and guns. If they could show that more cops are getting more injured on the job, that would be much more convincing than just because the cops, as they always have, want them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Chockasunday,

    Regarding the museum, when I lived in Texas, I went to a state park with dinosaur remains southwest of Fort Worth.
    There were fossilised footprints in the riverbank, it was really impressive.
    Nearby was a Creation Evidence museum, purporting to show that man walked with the dinosaurs 4000 years ago. It was quite small, only one room. The evidence was nothing but a few dioramas.
    Unfortunately I wasn't as atheist as I am now, or I would've told them what I thought!

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    creation museum = oxymoron

    It's a theme park which I wouldn't mind if they made it R18.

    Really - impressionable minds should not be exposed to this kind of stuff.

    Can't say I'm keen on lowering the drink/drive limit, seems to me those that drive drunk are well and truely over the limit. Anyone know how to get the figures for these questions?

    How far over the limit are the drink drivers who are caught?
    How many accidents caused by drivers just under the limit?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4449 posts Report Reply

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