New research shows Australians are evenly divided on whether reducing the legal blood alcohol limit to 0.02% (from the current 0.05%) would save more lives on Australian roads. 48% of Australians say “Yes, more lives would be saved on Australian roads” compared to 49% that say “No, more lives will not be saved” according to a special Roy Morgan telephone poll conducted in late September.
However, men and women show a significant divergence on the question with 54% of women saying more lives would be saved compared to only 43% of men who say the same while a clear majority of men (55%) say more lives will not be saved compared to 43% of women saying the same.
Breaking down the figures by age and gender further shows that 35-49yr olds are the most sceptical about the proposed change with only 41% that say “Yes, more lives will be saved” — including only 35% of 35-49yr old men and 46% of 35-49yr old women. In contrast young women not yet on their full license — 14-17yr old women — are strongest in backing a reduced blood alcohol limit with 76% that say “Yes, more lives will be saved” far higher than the equivalent aged 14-17yr old men (53%).
Looking at a breakdown by State shows a majority of respondents from SA (64%) and WA (53%) agree that more lives would be saved by a reduction in the legal blood alcohol limit compared to 47% of Victorians & Queenslanders and 45% of people from NSW.
A majority of respondents in New South Wales (52%) say more lives would not be saved compared to 50% of Victorians, 49% of Queenslanders, 47% of Western Australians and just 34% of South Australians.
Geoffrey Smith, General Manager — Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“The idea of reducing the maximum legal blood alcohol limit for Australian drivers to 0.02% (from the current 0.05% in all Australian States and Territories) has recently been suggested as a way to cut the number of fatalities on Australian roads.
“The latest research by Roy Morgan shows Australians are evenly divided on the question with 48% of Australians saying ‘Yes, more lives would be saved on Australian roads’ compared to 49% that say ‘No, more lives would not be saved’.
“Robert Hill, a Victoria Police Road Policing Assistant Commissioner, raised the prospect of lowering the blood-alcohol limit for drivers from 0.05% to 0.02% to cut fatalities on Australian roads citing a similar decision in Sweden which reduced the level of fatalities and serious injuries by 10 per cent.”
This Roy Morgan telephone research was conducted on the nights of September 17-20, 2012 with an Australia-wide cross-section of 801 Australians aged 14+.
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