VICTORIA’S top traffic cop has called for a reduction in the blood-alcohol limit.
Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill’s push for the blood-alcohol limit to drop from .05 to .02 comes from research which shows that when Sweden reduced its BAC limit, road deaths and serious injuries dropped by 10 per cent.
Assistant Commissioner Hill believes a similar move could save 28 lives a year in Australia.
Australian Hoteliers Association Ballarat president Ian Larkin holds a firm stance against the assistant commissioner’s idea.
“For people in rural towns it means they can’t go out for dinner and have one glass of wine or a beer and drive home,” he said.
“These rural areas don’t have public transport running at night or access to taxis, so how do they expect country pubs to stay afloat?”
For central Ballarat, Mr Larkin believes that by taking away the convenience of a car, fewer people will drop in for a couple of drinks at their local pub.
“Ninety nine per cent of people do the right thing,” Mr Larkin said.
“You always find one person that you can’t control, but most people know their limit. People know they can have one or two beers and they’re responsible. Overall, the number of people who come in for a drink know when to stop.”
Mr Larkin’s greatest concern is with the impact it will have on the hospitality industry.
“Once you go back to almost zero, you will destroy the hospitality industry, and we’re one of the biggest employers, and you can imagine the effect that will have when people have to start being laid off,” the Irish Murphy’s publican said.
However, Mr Larkin believes the BAC will remain at the current level.
“I don’t think it will happen for the sake of sanity and if they look at the big picture, it just won’t happen,” he said.
“I am all for responsible serving of alcohol and responsible driving, but we’re doing that with the limit we have now.”
Ballarat Taxis chairman Steven Armstrong said he supported the proposed drop in the blood-alcohol limit.
“A lot of road accidents are because drivers have alcohol in their system and anything that reduces the road toll or accidents is a good thing,” he said.
Mr Armstrong said 90 per cent of Ballarat Taxis’ work came from people out for a few drinks on a Friday or Saturday night who aren’t able to drive home.
“A drop to .02 could be a good thing for both sides of the coin – good for the community and good for our business,” he said.