Telegraph’s Tim Blair floats Pedestrian 08 Policy on line

And unfortunately doesn’t go into any detail about the four key components of the policy:

  1. All venues to have available, near blood test quality, audio visually capable, BAC Testing Machines for self testing by alcohol users.
  2. A simple, easy to understand limit on where “Responsible Drinking” ends, put into law.
  3. 80% of the program budget spent on educating users about staying under Point 08, and the risks of binge drinking.
  4. 20% of the program budget spent on targeted, on street, pedestrian RBT.

No information given letting readers know that only campaigns with a hard legal edge work! (WHO)

No information about the failure of RSA nor the litany of tragic outcomes from this failure of government policy.

No information about how P-RBT could routinely detect and divert, underage alcohol users, goon baggers – nor how it would clean up Kings Cross, other Sydney and NSW trouble spots, including public transport.

It’s not serious is it? Just an absence of facts about a deadly serious subject.

Meanwhile, Healthland reports this finding:

Exposure to alcohol in utero leads to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in about 40,000 newborns every year in the U.S.


For every one additional drink the mothers consumed between their 43rd and 84th days of pregnancy, their babies had a 16% greater chance of being born smaller than average, which may put them at greater risk for mental and physical problems. Their infants were also more likely to have birth defects, such as a 25% higher risk of a smooth ridge linking the nose and upper lip, a 12% increased risk of an abnormally small head and a 22% greater chance of unusually thin upper lips.

Which would undoubtedly be of great concern to some challenged individuals at this blog

6 Responses to Telegraph’s Tim Blair floats Pedestrian 08 Policy on line

  1. Ltw says:

    Product data sheet on the machines please, an actual manufactured and available for sale one. Research is good but sort of useless when you’re mandating it. They have to be on the market. Plus how they stand up to constant use, people betting each other taking swigs and blowing into the machine. The sensors in these things. How often do they need to be calibrated?

    Limit for me? Up to about 0.2%, that’s probably time to go home. I’ve never thumped anyone, there or above. The existing system of “you are obviously impaired or violent” is probably better than a hard limit, which if I had to I would set at about 0.25%. Do you like those numbers? Maybe a hybrid test of <0.4% and you don't look too bad would do.

    I doubt the motorist point 05 campaign had to provide multiple teams of 12 police officers on King St – just one location – to enforce a Ped08 law. If you think it would take less than that, just ask the cops who patrol there. Then factor in traffic management – you'll have a queue, can't have suspected drunks wandering on to the street – oh, right, queuing control, what will you do about runners? Fairly easy to control in cars because you can block the exits but how to do that with peds? So I still don't believe your 80/20 split for costing. The police will set up some lovely "blitzes" with flashing lights everywhere in the name of safety in a few key areas and chew up your budget. You really think you'll send out individual/pair police to RBT pedestrians? They`ll refuse unless they have massive backup .

    • pedestrian08 says:

      Ltw, do some research, the data sheets are about.

      Calibration: at least one manufacturer provides for multiple self testings per second. Immediately, it fails its own tests, it shuts itself down. Pretty impressive!

      Your self estimate is a problem. Then again, the same sort of arguments occurred during the proposed setting of Motorist Point 05 limit. An individual or two, claiming they could hold their liquor to higher BAC levels than others. Often under empirical testing, the self confidence shown by these individuals didn’t match their tested reality…

      Insofar as policing goes, I have belief in the ability of VicPol at least to be able to work out best approaches and achieve a safe result. For instance, the idea of Pedestrian RBT is not to get everyone at once, but to randomly select individuals for testing in accordance with the resources on hand. And it must be randomised. Yes, some intoxicated folks would escape detection from time to time. Just as some intoxicated drivers sometimes escape testing on our major roads. Not everyone is tested all the time Ltw!

      But eventually, you will be. And if you stagger past someone copping a thousand dollars plus of penalties, even in your inebriated state, it just may register with you that you could be next. Certainly, it would be less likely that the fined binge drinker would be doing the same thing, the same way the next day…

      Which is the point of the whole thing.

      • Ltw says:

        Wow, I’d forgotten all about you. Lucky I signed up for this email notification thing.

        Why should I do research? You’re trying to convince me aren’t you? Give me one link to look at then. Just one.

        Yes, I know that drunks’ self confidence in their ability often exceeds reality. Those numbers were there to stir you up. Nonetheless, the development of tolerance is a fact, which is why some can walk and talk at levels that would kill most people. Setting a hard limit for everyone makes sense when you are endangering others, but not yourself. This is the dumbest, and most totalitarian, aspect of your whole campaign.

        The difference being that driving a car you are endangering others. Walking home (or staggering as you like to put it) I can’t see the harm. Or the need for the police to stop me, as if they wanted that hassle. There are plenty of laws there already for them to pin on me if I cause trouble. By staggering (or sleeping) in the street I wasn’t hurting anyone.

        “Certainly, it would be less likely that the fined binge drinker would be doing the same thing, the same way the next day”

        You don’t know much about actual alcoholics do you? I’ve mostly given it away but that would never have stopped me.

      • pedestrian08 says:

        Highly unlikely that I’d convince you Luke…
        However, given your laziness, here comes a link for an audio visual equipped BAC machine…
        The development of tolerance etc. Well, many people could vastly exceed the abilities of others whilst driving heavy machinery including cars at or beyond point 05.
        You’d be aware of recent moves to reduce the motorist BAC limit to Point 02?
        Why? Because it would save around 40 lives per year in Victoria alone:

        Victoria Police Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill says a similar decision in Sweden saw the level of fatalities and serious injuries on the road drop 10 per cent.

        Why? Because your decline in reliability, performance and judgement doesn’t kick in at a given number. These decline of these characteristics are track-able from the first drink onwards.
        Where do you draw the line in the sand?
        Pedestrian 08 is based on the point where Jo(e) Public cannot reliably navigate their way home on their own.
        If you believe that number is too low or too high, then justify it.
        VicRoads have changed the above link.

        In order to combat your lack of initiative I’ll provide this quote from their page:

        Over 30% of pedestrians killed have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level above .05, with the majority being more than three times this.
        Common features of crashes involving intoxicated pedestrians include:

          they occur more often on weekends and at night and the early morning
          often happen close to urban drinking venues
          often involve regular drinkers from a hotel or licensed venue
          occur on the near side of the road as the pedestrian begins to cross
          the majority of victims are male.

        As to the rest of your comments:
        Pedestrians are walking home now, routinely, with unsafe BAC levels in their blood.
        This is being done on the largest possible, commercial scale.
        Endangering themselves, in ignorance and otherwise, plus others who have the misfortune to cross their path.
        These include:

          Train and Bus Drivers who often have to run them over;
          Taxi Drivers, Pedestrians, Commuters, who are bashed and murdered by them;
          Ambulance and Hospital staff who have to look after them – and are often bashed by them;
          Police, who, according to now former Deputy Commissioner Victoria Police, Kieran Walshe, constitutes about 70% of police work.
          And who, of course, have the most immediate and physical involvement with these products of the Responsible Service of Alcohol.

        Finally, you don’t know much about this problem do you Luke?
        The problem isn’t (largely) alcoholics, but, binge drinkers.
        Pedestrian 08 will see the end to commercialized binge drinking, wherever it is deployed.
        This is what is needed, and needed now.

  2. Ltw says:

    I have a some problems with these points. Using your numbering:

    1. Firstly, do “near blood test quality, audio visually capable, BAC Testing Machines” actually exist? I very much doubt it. Not much point having a campaign if it’s not technically possible. Secondly, you say “all venues”. I often go round to the local cafe – a walk of maybe 800m – and have a few (or 4, or 5) glasses of wine reading a book. They have like 5 tables. They have to have one of these super-expensive whiz-bang machines so I can walk 800m home? Of course they’ll ditch their liquor license instead. The unintended consequence of what you’re calling for is the concentration of drunks into “booze supermarkets” that can afford the equipment (again, if it exists). Now that couldn’t possibly be a violent situation could it? Plus I’ll probably drive there.

    2. Reasonably fair point, I guess, certainty is good. I don’t like your limit though. Lots of people are functional and definitely non-violent way past that point. It may not be good for them, but this is about safety for others yes? Not about protecting people from themselves.

    3&4. I’ll wrap these together. Of course it sounds good to say where you’ll spend the budget and in what percentage, but you don’t actually get to control that. You get to pick how much you spend in education, then after that enforcement costs what it costs. If you don’t spend enough, people won’t take it seriously. Numbers like 80/20 don’t impress me.You’re either going to be ineffectual – you nab me weaving slightly on the way home from the cafe, at no benefit to society, or cost a fortune – you spend enough to enforce this law in King St, Burwood, Sunshine, lots of other places in other cities, then spend *four* times that much on education as well? That ratio will not hold. It will end up all enforcement, in selected areas, and nothing else.

    • pedestrian08 says:

      1. yep the machines exist and are working.
      More work, both from technical and research point of view may be needed to link a specific set of messages with the detected BAC Level.
      Nothing major.
      2. Thanks, Limit? Just come up with one you can justify. See the blog for why point 08 is the point where pedestrian safety comes in.
      Not sure if you really know what BAC levels are – what they mean. For eg, it is an oft reported observation, that as the BAC goes higher, the potential for a very sudden outburst of violence increases. So the affected alcohol user looks functional, happy etc. Then he has thrown one punch, someone is dead, injured etc, and he is on his way to the police station. So, what you observe may not reflect reality of this problem.
      3&4. LTW, this is based on Motorist Point 05 Campaign. This is how it works.

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