A French Idea Worth Trying?

After a record low in the year preceding it, 2011 saw an increase in accident fatalities involving a driver with too much alcohol in his / her blood. The Institute of Advanced Motorists says we should be worried.

According to bossman Simon Best of the IAM, “any rise in drink drive casualties is worrying…”. That his reasoning isn’t true per se – I mean, had there been an increase of one casualty, I wouldn’t have found that worrying immediately – is forgiven, because an increase of 30 on a total of 250 in 2010 (+12%) is indeed worrying. In tandem, the number of accidents involving drink drivers – clearly there can be multiple casualties per accident – increased from 220 to 260 (+18%).

There was a time when I just couldn’t understand people getting behind the wheel after having anything to drink, let alone an amount above the limit of 80 mg. But eventually I figured one beer – mind you, not a pint, we deal in half pints in the Netherlands! – isn’t all that bad, especially not if I have another coke afterwards and spend another half hour with my colleagues discussing the week gone by. Makes me wonder though, would such cases be counted in the drink driving accidents and casualties stats? After all, you’re not doing anything wrong when driving with an alcohol concentration below the limit.

Anyway, that’s not the point here. According to Mr. Best, many of said accidents occur in the morning after a nightly session of heavy drinking. People think it’s safe to drive by the time they get their smelly corpses out of bed, but in reality – at least according to the law – they’re still hammered. I bet that’s something most people wouldn’t even consider.

Maybe the French idea isn’t so bad after all. Having an alcohol test in your car allows you to make sure before you turn the key and it can just make that difference for a lot of people that would otherwise drink drive without knowing – though perhaps still suspecting.

Problem is, these tests seem all out of stock anywhere outside of France.


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