Well, it certainly appears that way, looking over the leading stories in the Sunday Times.
I’ll deal briefly with the first one of these…
First of all, panic not.
Labour cannot implement the new rules until after a 12-week consultation, meaning that the change will not take place before the election.
But don’t take too much comfort from this:
Theresa Villiers, the shadow transport secretary, said she was “not convinced that a change would be justified” on drink driving.
In other words, let’s not be seen to agree with Labour over this, even though we actually do. After all:
The drink-drive changes — which would not require new legislation — would bring Britain into line with almost all other European countries, which have a limit of either 50mg or 20mg.
But let’s keep it in proportion – since Labour replaced traffic coppers with yellow-painted cash converters, the chance of being breathalysed in the UK is zero, unless you’ve already had an accident.
Let me also remind you that this proposal has, like so many others, surfaced every year or two for at least the last 10 years, probably far longer than that.
What is rather more concerning is this proposal, which takes me off on something of a tinfoil-hatted tangent:
The expected new rules would make it illegal to drive under the influence of prescribed drugs or in excess of a specified drug limit. The present law penalises only drivers whose performance is impaired by illegal drugs.
This opens a Pandora’s box – what prescription drugs could be included in this? Xanax? Diclofenac? Anti-depressants? Is it possible that vast swathes of people who have been driving safely for years, while taking prescribed meds for chronic conditions, could be swept off the road by the stroke of a minister’s pen?
And how could it be enforced? Oh that’s easy – NHS Summary Care Records will carry a list of what meds you take. If you are stopped by a copper, they could get your meds info as part of their PNC check.
Further, as the driver named on a speeding ticket from a camera, could you be arrested on suspicion based on being the driver and being on these meds?
And even if none of these proposals make it through the consultation and into law, it does raise an interesting question. What if the insurance companies got access to your NHS IT records? Even if they acquired the information unethically, after a stolen laptop turns up on Ebay?
Now consider that your medical records are being uploaded to the NHS database without your consent.
All things considered, I’ll be thanking Old Holborn for pointing me towards the form that enables me to opt out of this electronic clusterfuck.
I’ve not read through this properly yet, so I may come back and edit it – you know; finish sentenc
4 thoughts on “No news today”
If I remember rightly the alcohol limits on the continent are lower, but I also seem to recall that they hit people with fines rather than bans for 50mg. I think the ban level is about the same as the UK, maybe a little more, in which case the government are comparing apples and oranges. Now if they wanted to bring in a lower limit with a lesser penalty than being off the road for at least a year and often much more then I might credit them with having actually fucking thought about it for a few minutes. But only a few minutes, because if they’d thought about it properly it would have crossed their minds that an alcohol limit is always going to catch people it didn’t really need to and miss people that it certainly does need to catch. The Yanks have got the right idea with the roadside impairment tests because all that really matters is whether or not someone is okay to drive, and if the answer is yes then it shouldn’t matter how much they drank. More importantly they’re not going to get away with driving pissed if they’re a two pot screamer that gets shitfaced on half a shandy. It would also pick up anyone whose driving is crap because they’re stoned, too tired, too old or doped to the eyes having eaten a whole day’s prescription at once in case they forgot later.
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