It must be Australia week and, finally, a story that is not so much about weird culture as a weird misappropriation of science. Apparently officials in the Australian state of Victoria are not interested in following up on the idea of introducing a far lower blood alcohol content (BAC) limit:
The two men and two women registered blood-alcohol readings of more than .02 a half an hour after their drink, which they had consumed over 15 minutes. Light beer drinker Derek Byrne, 26, said although he was drinking on an empty stomach his reading of .035 was a shock. "I was surprised one light beer sent me over," Byrne, a carpenter, said. "I would have thought a light beer was definitely safe."
Who said it was unsafe? All that was shown is that 0.02 BAC could be measured. That is the thing about these systems. The "how it works" and "why it works" are not well discussed so folk leap to conclusions. Sure, Sweden has a BAC limit of 0.02 but that seems to be a way to deter all driving after drinking rather than to criminalize dangerous drunken driving directly. Does lowering the limit achieve that? Probably - but is that the only route? What if we think about the punishment rather than the crime. What if we leave the limit at 0.08 but make a mandatory minimum sentence of a month in jail for a first conviction. Who messes with that law? Far fewer - which, statistically, is also likely to lower deaths related to alcohol. What other factors are at play? This mid-90s discussion on the Swedish scene seems to suggest there are plenty of issues going on.
So, maybe it is about cultural weirdness after all. The sort of weirdness that allows people to permit the criminal law to act preventively rather than as a reaction to bad behaviour. Or the cultural weirdness that allows a bad-o-meter used by a lab coated lobbyist to convince someone that having one light beer is unsafe.