This Could be Interesting

The Government\’s top doctor said England should follow Europe and America and ban teenage drivers from drinking any alcohol at all in order to prevent accidents.

Now it sounds as if such a ban should indeed help. Pass a law, everybody obeys it and Bob\’s your parental sibling of choice.

However, that little addition of "America" (rather than what was actually meant, Canada) provides us with a check. In the US, no one is allowed to drink under the age of 21. So, do they have a zero rate of teenage accidents involving alcohol?

Umm, no, they don\’t….so do they have a lower rate of such accidents?

I\’ve no idea and I\’m not going to pursue the numbers, but that is the way we should measure the value of these proposals. Does a ban on teenage drinking and driving actually stop all teenage drinking and driving….does it in fact reduce the rate at all? I wouldn\’t be surprised to find out that it doesn\’t.

6 comments on “This Could be Interesting

  1. I’d normally agree with you, but you’re not comparing like with like. They’re not talking about banning drinking amongst all teenagers, merely those who intend to drive.

    The zero-tolerance system operates reasonably effectively here in Australia and I support it – not because it cuts down on the number of drunk teenager drivers who die (being a consequence of their own decisions, its hardly the government’s role to intervene) but because it protects those travelling in other vehicles.

  2. The reality of the situation in the US is that the ban on drinking for those under 21 leads most kids in High School to buy a case of beer from their older brother and drive around drinking it with their friends because they have no where else to go.

  3. Ian – given that 80mg/100ml isn’t enough to be anywhere close to drunk, can you explain how the ZT system cuts down on the number of drunk teenage drivers who die?

  4. Flash News:

    Government Doctor Says Ban something.

    The most recycleable headline ever.

    Notice to all doctors, Fuck off and treat patients.

  5. In all honesty, I was probably wrong to say ‘drunk’: any amount of alcohol can affect a driver’s reaction time (which is especially significant with inexperienced drivers). But I want to stress I’m entirely unconcerned with teenagers who drink and kill themselves. That is not my concern, nor that of the government. My concern is when their behaviour causes harm to others, that is when a thing becomes unacceptable.

  6. Fair play – it’s the whole “sober enough to not crash, but too pissed to react properly when some idiot does something stupid problem”.

    And point taken on the “others” vs “themselves” issue, although I fear that it’s more or less lost on the government.

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