Do we need more state control over us -- curfews in Tauranga; lpublic liquor bans in Christchurch; raising the drinking age; a "review" of the liquor laws -- all of this just to stop a few idiots? Or should people (and journalists) just start breathing through the nose.
How many idiots are there exactly? What's the trend?
Well, there is a trend, a very clear trend; sadly for journalists and the members of Mayoral Task Forces, the trend goes against both headlines and hysterics:
- In 1985 there were 274 road deaths with alcohol as a factor. In 2005 there were 115.
- In 1985 23% of the drivers affected by alcohol were 15-19. In 2005, the figure was 20%.
- In 1985 there were 8.3 road deaths with alcohol as a factor per 100,000 population. In 2005 there were 2.9 per 100,000.
[Source Lindsay Mitchell]
UPDATE 1: Russell B has more figures that buck the headlines:
This is not to dismiss the problem of young people dying on the roads. But young people have been dying on the roads for a long time: the number of 15-19 year-old drivers involved in accidents has always been disproportionate. (you might also note that three times the number of fatal crashes involving young drivers occur in rural, rather than urban, settings).UPDATE 2: Sione Vatu makes a series of great points in the comments section below. I recommend a full read.
But the number of 15-19 year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2005 was half what it was in 1984. The proportion of fatal crashes involving young drivers in 1984 was 19.3%; in 2005 it was 15.5%. Over the same period, there has been a 60% reduction in the number of 20-24 year-old car drivers involved in fatal crashes and a 96% reduction in fatal motorcycle crashes for the same age group.
It's all here.