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Germans want absolute ban on drink-driving
Photo: DPA

Germans want absolute ban on drink-driving

Published: 02 Oct 2011 13:58 GMT+02:00

The poll, conducted by Emnid for the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, showed 77 percent of those asked wanted to see the blood alcohol level at which people are allowed to drive, reduced to zero.

Men feel less strongly on the matter, with 68 percent of them in favour of an absolute ban. Of the women questioned, a massive 85 percent were in favour.

The European parliament voted in favour of a rule for newly qualified drivers and professional drivers to be banned from drinking and driving. This should be achieved by all new cars being fitted with breath-test equipment which would prevent a driver with alcohol on their breath being able to start the engine.

The move is just one of many in an attempt to reduce the number of people killed on Europe’s roads each year. Another is to push down the speed limit in all residential areas to 30 kilometres an hour.

More than 35,000 people are killed in road accidents across the European Union each year, while a further 1.5 million people are injured. The cost is estimated to be around €130 billion a year.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:37 October 2, 2011 by Englishted
Who and where the question was asked can and does affect the answer.

The E.U.'s stated aim is no deaths on the roads of Europe ,this can be achieved only by a ban on all traffic on the roads ,aiming high is one thing but this is dreamland.
14:42 October 2, 2011 by berfel
A stupid an ineffective means of introducing another control measure that forces people to abandon long-standing and safe behaviour, because some people like to dictate how the many should live.

The 35,000 is called a "Trojan Number". It's a big one.

In 2010, there were 346 traffic deaths in Germany. Three hundred and forty-six. One percent of the Trojan Number. Figures via DVR sourced from the Federal Statistics Office.

But how many of those 346 were from a blood alcohol level between 0.02% and 0.05%?? If you diligent media types go and ask for the detailed staistics of measured BAC from those involved in crashes, especially in Germany, you will very probably find that most of those with excessive alcohol in their blood (> 0.08%) were very much over that limit.

From bads.de:

"Blutalkoholwerte (BAK-Werte)

Im Jahre 2007 hatten 2/3 der Kraftfahrer, die unter Alkoholeinfluss in einen Verkehrsunfall mit Personenschaden verwickelt wurden, zum Zeitpunkt der Blutentnahme einen BAK-Wert von mindestens 1,1 ‰ und waren damit nach den Kriterien der Rechtsprechung absolut fahrun-tüchtig."

Which confirms my suspicion. Two-thirds of those in a traffic accident under the influence of alcohol had more than 0.11% BAC. Got it? They were already over the existing limit.

I have no problem with a BAC limit of 0.02% on professional and novice drivers. But a zero limit is unreasonable (and impractical - as "zero" is impossible to determine without a total blood transfusion) to impose on the population as a whole, who behave sensibly and drink in careful moderation if they expect to be driving.
16:30 October 2, 2011 by pepsionice
There's a great way to fix this problem. Put up a constitutional amendment to ban all alcohol in Germany. Then you can be fully sure about the problem and the solution.
16:41 October 2, 2011 by flipinwotsit
No good having rules and regulations if you have no police to enforce them...here you can get away with anything behind the wheel....
19:38 October 2, 2011 by Dlocal
Right pepsionice....wait this might happen....its already no alcohol sale after 10:00

True Berfel....some people dictate others...

As always in Germany.....good intentions...pathetic execution.....no improvement in the end.

People will find alcohol (even after 10:00) and WILL drive if they are idiots...so why bother for idiots!!

Ah I know...... because they might cause injury to innocent... true! so the only way is to treat is making people realize, which most people here do!!
19:51 October 2, 2011 by Simon_Kellett
No-one commented on the typo yet?

> the blood alcohol level at which people are allowed to drink, reduced to zero.

I am guessing that they mean "drive", not "drink" !!
20:45 October 2, 2011 by ovalle3.14
Well what are the benefits of allowing people to drink (a little) before they drive?
20:50 October 2, 2011 by auslanderus
One idea, get caught drinking/drunk, you loose your car. Car is then sold by auction and the monies go to hire more ploice to catch more drunks.
21:44 October 2, 2011 by wxman
@ berfel already made the point, but here goes more. Throughout the US in the history of the automobile, those driving under the influence who are fined or in accidents have ALWAYS been over the legal limit. For those who have trouble understanding this concept, it means that violators DON'T CARE what the law is. It's no different than making carrying a weapon illegal. The law ends up only affecting the law abiding, not the violator. There are those busybodies among us who "feel good" trying to control our lives with useless laws that do not eliminate or reduce the problem whatsoever.
10:23 October 3, 2011 by zeddriver
But I thought that is what the world at large wants. The gov. should run business, health care, schools, hunting, guns, cars, the skies and the seas, insurance. Why is everyone shocked when the government then decides to run our personal lives.

The USA tried to ban booze at one point. That's when organized crime got it's start . That was a bad decision. But people like to sweep bad history under the rug. Never to be mentioned again. Until we repeat said bad history.
12:01 October 3, 2011 by The-ex-pat
The interesting thing to read here, is that the general feeling is that we are being told what to do, or it will be ineffective. But no one has jet managed to justify having a beer and then getting behind the wheel. So far the argument is effectively, why can't "I" have a beer and drive. Rather odd I think. Alcohol plus car = impairment. So, who can answer this question; What is an acceptable number of deaths or serious injury to the ratio of the number of people inconvenienced by a law. Oh and whist you think about that one, decide whilst looking at your children/wife/husband.......
12:59 October 3, 2011 by Asgarli
If this will save a life of even ONE child, I think it worth doing it.
13:35 October 3, 2011 by delvek
@ ovalle, whats the harm?

If I go out to eat and have a dinner and a beer which in no way hinders my ability to drive then what are you solving or preventing? Lets teach responsibility not mindless regulations.
14:41 October 3, 2011 by ovalle3.14
I didn't say it was harmful. I just want to know why the law allows for something which obviously presents zero benefits, but can lead to much trouble.
14:43 October 3, 2011 by Englishted
How many accidents on the motorways are caused by sleepy drives ?,ill drivers,

old, or useless drivers.

Where are you to draw the line? there is a limit if you are over then you have committed a crime fair enough.

But to @Asgarli the what else would you stop? smoking,eating fast food ,the list would be endless if you want 100% road safety then ban all vehicles from the roads.
15:19 October 3, 2011 by AudiS4Guy
@delvek. Totally agree... I love knowing I can go out to dinner and have a beer and not have to get a 20euro taxi ride home and figure out how to get my car from an expensive parking lot. I'd much rather see old people taken off the roads than the guy who had a beer with his schnitzel haha!
15:49 October 3, 2011 by zeddriver
@the-ex-pat

Nothing involving the human existence is ever clear cut and simple. When my parents were raising me. They set limits or there were consequences. And no! I was not beaten or abused. That is not the norm any more. There are lawyers out there that are willing to take parents to court on the behalf of the kids. Of course with the liberal mind set these days. We are not allowed to met out any discipline what so ever. And so for many decades we collectively have not set any limits for our kids or ourselves. As a result people do very stupid things and when they get caught the first reaction is to blame someone else. There was a case a few years ago in the states. A person got drunk and drove. Had an accident. Then tried to sue the auto maker because they were not warned by said auto company that it was dangerous to drink and drive.

I was raised to be a responsible person. Therefore if I go out for a beer. I have a beer. Not a dozen. Because I was taught that my actions have consequences. So it will not be a quick fix. But if we start taking responsibility for our actions. And start teaching our children the same. It can change. But it's up to we the people. Not a government worker at the ministry of child responsibility.
16:38 October 3, 2011 by Wise Up!
LOL!!! LOL!! History starting to repeat itself! Going back to the facist roots, are we?? Sturm und Drang! By all means, go for it. Just ban everything. LOL!!!
16:43 October 3, 2011 by auslanderus
"zeddriver" you are totally correct. Nothing will change till parents become parents again and children as children. Not the other way around. Then things will change for the better. What happened to RESPECT?
17:49 October 3, 2011 by zeddriver
@the-ex-pat

Sorry. I meant to answer your question and promptly went another direction.

Just as in my last post. It is not easy to give an exact figure. It's more subjective than raw numbers. But life is full of risks. What risks you take may be far different than what I'm willing to accept. This nonsense of banning anything that could possibly harm me or someone else is just that. We as a society must realize that we cannot legislate away death. And balance safety and freedom. There should be severe penalties for breaking the drink drive laws. I choose to not live in a plastic bubble protected by all that may harm me. I will oppose those that live in said bubble tell me that I must live in a risk free bubble myself. I'm sure that an insurance company actuarial could regurgitate an exact figure for you. But their main concern is minimizing monitary risk to their company.
20:46 October 3, 2011 by delvek
Good discussion but I am afraid that thoughts like this and phrases like zero tolerance are scary in that it leads to extremism something we certainly know, if unchecked, can get Germany in trouble.

Fact is, there is nothing wrong with my drinking a .5 liter beer with my schnitzel and driving home, loosen the belt and take things into perspective because its not people like me taking to the roads smashed.
21:35 October 3, 2011 by baddaboom
just have your car babtized in the name of christ immerse it in water and drink and drive since your car has been SAVED and BORN AGAIN and if you die in a horrible accident that also kills many others its the WILL OF THE LORD. since it is the BLOOD OF JESUS that washed over all of you in that bloody awful smash up and he took your souls to HEAVEN to BE WITH HIM at the RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER

just before that ol meany satan burst the car in flames and snatched your corporal body to the flaming depths of hell BUT you OUT SMARTED ol satan since YOU WERE SAVED by driving a REDEEMED BORN AGAIN car.

blessed be the sinners unto the hour of our death in the name of the father the son and the holy spirit amen
08:55 October 4, 2011 by auniquecorn
You all are not seeing the big picture, ZERO Tolerance, means that if you even smell like beer, you will be fined, get it? Fined.

It´s only a simple solution to add more revenue to line their pockets.

its not about safer driving.
09:25 October 4, 2011 by delvek
@ baddaboom, you have serious issues. Its sad, I hope you find peace.
11:43 October 4, 2011 by zeddriver
@auniquecorn

You're correct. Most folks can't see the forest because of all the trees.

Just think. The police could be stationed outside your church waiting for you to leave after having taken communion wine. What about when you freshen your breath with scope. It has a high alcohol content. It might trigger a breath tester.

Most people don't like gill net fishing. Or clear cut logging. As it kills everything just to get at one thing. Such is the world of zero tolerance laws.
03:24 October 5, 2011 by tsbarker13
I feel a BAC greater than 0.05% should be the "line in the sand'. Zero is not realistic, as some medications have an alcohol-based solvent, thus someone on that medication would be greater that zero, but way less than 0.05%
12:13 October 5, 2011 by Eastard
Suggested Solution...

Why not teach people how to drink and drive...? If folks know their limits... drinking is certainly no worse that prescription drugs (legal)... This may sound foolish but for a socially conscious population who love their beer... I find it difficult to believe in an ultra low BAL being realistic... There are those who will abuse any standard... and in their case I would make the punishment proportional to the crime... The higher the BAL the longer the loss of license and greater the cost... Learning to drink moderately and drive carefully (or not drive if you go over your capability) is the best solution... It is 100% for sure that one cannot prevent all traffic accidents.

Another suggestion... I believe that licensing per person should include registering prescription drug usage and people should be tested if involved in accidents... especially if mixed with alcohol... We may be blaming the wrong chemical as the cause when masked with drugs...

Last suggestion... Licensing should have a multi-tasking checklist... I see much to much poor driving where people are doing more than driving... Some people simply cannot do concurrent tasks and do not know it..
14:38 October 9, 2011 by raandy
baddaboom funny, religion can solve all our woes.

Drinking alcohol in any amount puts you under the influence ,driving under the influence puts others under risk, including yourself.Simple rule "Don't drink and drive" paying 20 euros for a taxi is far cheaper than an accident involving alcohol.

or maybe the guy's who think they can handle it would rather play drink and drive roulette with other peoples lives.

Old people,,if you do not do something stupid or get killed by a drunk driver you may become one.
14:15 October 11, 2011 by willowsdad
Don't be fooled: they'll use the drinking/driving to usher in a campaign against alcohol in general. That's exactly what happened in the US.

The World Health Organization has targeted alcohol, smoking and "obesity" as targets (cholera, dysentary and other things that afflict poorer countries are now passe, as there's more money in wealthier countries) and all members are urged to make war on the majority of their citizens.
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