PERCEPTIONS OF drink-driving

AND ALCOHOL-RELATED crashes

in Rural Areas of New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ann Blyth, MA(Hons)

Liz Stewart, M.Soc.Sci(Hons)

Caroline Maskill MBChB, BSocSci

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit

Runanga, Wananga, Hauora me te Paekaka

University of Auckland

Private Bag 92019

Auckland

 

 

December 1995

 


 

Acknowledgements

 

This research project was funded by the Alcohol Advisory Council and programme funded by the Health Research Council.We would like to thank Dr Julie Park and Dr Ann Pomeroy for consultation regarding the research.This project could not have taken place without the people in the rural communities who agreed to be interviewed.Our special thanks to them for the valuable time they gave to the project.

 

 

 


CONTENTS

 

 

Page No.

 

Acknowledgements

 

 

Summary...... 3

 

Recommendations††††† 13

 

Introduction 15

 

Methodology 17

 

The Role of Alcohol in the Community. 20

 

Drinking by Young People††††††††† 27

 

Perception of Incidence of Drinking and Driving....... 33

 

Efforts to Reduce Drinking and Driving....... 36

 

Factors Perceived to Contribute to Drinking and Driving

and Related Crashes...... 38

 

Perceptions of Strategies to Reduce Drinking and Driving

and Alcohol Related Crashes in Rural Areas 54

 

Alcohol Advertising and Drink Driving 82

 

Community Support for Action on Drinking and Driving Issues††††††††† 83

 

Discussion and Conclusions 86

 

References. 91

 

 

Appendices


SUMMARY

 

Research indicates there is a disproportionate rate of alcohol-related traffic crashes in small towns and rural areas compared with rates in cities and larger towns in New Zealand.

 

This is a report of a qualitative interview study in which respondents from ten rural communities in the Coromandel, Waikato and King Country region were interviewed for their perceptions of factors contributing to rural alcohol-related crashes. They were also asked for their comments on strategies they perceived might help reduce the incidence of such crashes.Respondents included police, district licensing inspectors, health sector workers, road safety co-ordinators, licensed premise operators and representatives of community organisations.The objective of the report is to help inform planning by rural communities and others to reduce alcohol related traffic crashes in their areas.

 

 

††† Role of alcohol in the communities

 

 

Alcohol was perceived to feature as an important and often essential element in rural social life, partly because of limited opportunities for other forms of entertainment, such as movie theatres, which did not feature alcohol.Most licensed and unlicensed venues and events incorporating socialising, sport or entertainment featured alcohol.

 

In some locations hotels and taverns were perceived as struggling to survive economically with some closing bars and operating only one.Other hotels and taverns had upgraded facilities.

 

Sports and other clubs such as cosmopolitan clubs were considered to have greater patronage in some locations.Some towns were described as `club' towns.Some sports clubs were large complexes with more than one bar, and had become a centre for social events within the area.Alcohol sales were often considered essential to provide funds to run sports clubs and provide facilities for their teams.

 

 

††† Changes in outlets and hours ††

 

 

The 1989 Sale of Liquor Act had brought changes in the number and types of outlets where alcohol was sold, with new drinking venues and applications for longer hours of opening.The increase in availability was seen to result in people going out more often to drink and dine both locally and in neighbouring towns or nearby cities.

 

An increase in off-licences was also noted, with increased competition in some locations leading to cheaper prices andmore off-premise drinking.

 

A common practice reported in the communities was for licensed premises to apply for extended hours in order to have them available at some point, but which were usually not used on a day to day basis.The latest hour of closing was commonly nominated as 1amto coincide with the end of the last police shift, but mention was made of a few 3am closing premises.

 

In some areas there were attempts to limit variable closing hours to prevent people driving from earlier to later closing premises.

 

††† Young people and drinking

 

Considerable mention was made by respondents in all ten communities about young people, from early teens to early twenties, and drinking.Partly because of the limited range of entertainment in rural areas, alcohol was thought to take on a focus for this age group.

 

Many respondents thought there were favourable attitudes towards heavy drinking amongst both young men and young women.Another specific group of young people was mentioned, those that did not drink or did not drink and drive.

 

Keg parties, sports clubs and hotels and taverns were frequently mentioned as occasions or venues at which young people drank.Sports club members and others thought it was often better that young people should be in supervised licensed premises such as sports clubs or pubs, than at keg or other private parties with variable levels of control, or on beaches or in cars with associated drinking and driving.

 

Clubs with young sports teams such as rugby clubs were seen as important venues of drinking for young people.Concern was expressed at some clubs' serving practices, for example, allowing heavy drinking at player of the match awards, but in some cases this practice had been stopped and other measures implemented to reduce problems with intoxication or underage drinking.However young members sometimes then travelled to other clubs which were considered to be more likely to serve them, or drank at private gatherings.

 

 

††† Perception of incidence of drinking and driving

 

Opinions varied in the ten communities on the incidence of drinking and driving, and drinking and driving over the legal limit.Some thought there was a lot of drinking and driving but it was under the limit.Others suggested there was considerable over the limit driving.Overall, there was a perception that both had declined in the last few years.

 

Young men in their late teens to 25 years of age were considered the ones most at risk of having a crash through drinking heavily and driving at fast speeds.

 

Men in their forties and older were perceived to be a group who drove over the limit but who thought, from past experience, they could get away with it and not get caught by the police if they drove slowly and carefully.

 

It was thought there was a hard core of drink drivers who could not be reached to change their behaviour.

 

One reason older people were thought to drink and drive was because they were not well informed about drinking and driving limits or legislation.

 

Under-reporting of drinking and driving related incidents was thought considerable in some areas.

 

Efforts to reduce drinking and driving, such as individuals using designated drivers, or licensed premises running courtesy vans and host responsibility courses were reported in all communities.

 

Intolerance towards drinking and driving was considered to have increased overall.

 

 

Factors perceived to contribute to or reduce drink-driving and related crashes

 

Drinking and driving was considered to be an accepted fact of rural life, particularly because of the reliance on travelling by private vehicle.This meant that people often engaged in driving after drinking even though they knew it was not sensible, or not acceptable or was risky.

 

If people perceived that there was a high and real risk of getting caught they were less likely to drink and drive.

 

Fear of loss of their driving licence, which was considered essential for work in rural communities was a motivating factor for some in not drinking and driving.

 

Being unemployed, feelings of having no future and consequent lack of self-esteem were perceived to contribute to less concern about drinking and driving.

 

In the adolescent and young age group there were perceived to be two groups: those that did not drink and drive and those that did because of risk taking behaviours and/or they suffered from low self esteem and did not care.

 

Alcohol-related traffic crash fatalities in which locals were killed were traumatic events for the communities involved.They sharpened focus on the issue, but were perceived to have only a short term effect on drinking and driving behaviour in the community as a whole, except for those family and friends closely involved.

 

Driving on the open 100 kilometre road was inevitable in many drinking related activities, sometimes for considerable distances.This could be between farms; from farms into town or cities; between rural towns; between rural towns and cities and between outlets and other drinking places in the same vicinity.

 

Young people in particular moved between several drinking locations on the same social occasion, sometimes covering long distances.

 

While courtesy vans and similar transport were used, it was sometimes without regard to other practices such as cheap drinks or happy hours, which could contribute to drinking and driving patrons becoming over the limit.Also often patrons who had been drinking used a courtesy vehicle to a drop off point, and then drove the rest of the way home in their cars.

 

Several problems were noted with having a designated or sober driver, including aggressive drunk friends insisting on driving anyway, and drunk passengers distracting the driver, leading to a crash.

 

Lack of police resources in rural areas to undertake effective traffic blitzes and compulsory breath testing checkpoints was mentioned by almost all respondents as a major factor affecting the incidence of drinking and driving.††

 

Compulsory breath testing was considered to have had an initial impact but people had returned to previous drinking and driving behaviour because it was no longer seen as highly likely they would be caught.

 

Using knowledge of local policing activities, including when police went off duty in the early morning, planning alternate routes along back roads to avoid checkpoints and using the local `bush telegraph' to warn of checkpoints, were all activities rural drinking drivers engaged in to avoid being detected.

 

Most respondents who commented on the merger between Ministry of Transport traffic officers and police did not consider it a success in terms of action on drinking and driving.It was thought visibility in traffic policing was a major deterrent and this had declined since the merger.

 

The combination of some factors with alcohol was perceived to increase the likelihood of a crash or to affect the severity of its outcome.These were type of road, weather conditions, speed, condition of cars, tiredness, local expectations of driving in rural areas and delay in reporting of crashes.

 

 

††† Perception of usefulness of strategies to reduce alcohol-related traffic crashes in rural areas.

 

Respondents were asked what they thought would be effective strategies to reduce drinking and driving and related crashes in rural areas.They were also asked to comment on a range of strategies which might directly or indirectly contribute to reducing drinking and driving and related traffic crashes in their communities.The answers to both are amalgamated in the following strategies which are ranked from what was perceived to be most to least effective.

 

Host responsibility

 

The promotion and implementation of host responsibility in licensed premises and at private functions was considered one of the most important and effective strategies.More training courses for sports clubs were suggested and some suggestions were made for courses in schools for teenagers.

 

Education

 

Mention of education as a strategy often included education on host responsibility measures.Education about the effects of alcohol and dangers of drinking and driving was seen an important strategy for drivers of all ages but especially for adolescents as an age group learning to drive, and to drink.Some respondents thought one off educational activities were ineffective and or thought education efforts needed to be combined with other strategies.

 

Providing alternative transport

 

Providing transportation alternatives was considered an effective strategy but was difficult in rural areas because of limited public transport or taxi services available.Courtesy vans were considered a more viable option.They needed to be cheap for patrons and readily available.Using proceeds of gaming machines to subsidise them and that it be made a condition of licences such services be provided were suggested.

 

Designated drivers

 

Having a non-drinking or designated driver, was thought to be effective strategy for rural areas although some problems were noted.More promotion of the strategy, and free non-alcoholic drinks and other rewards for drivers being a lifesaver were suggested.Single drivers driving to and from isolated farms were still a concern.

 

Drink driving blitzes

 

Blitzes were considered effective but on a short term basis because drinking drivers altered their behaviour only temporarily.In districts where there were networks of back roads it was easy to avoid them.Police tended to think they would be effective but were dependent on having enough officers based locally to carry them out or having extra police brought in when a blitz was advertised.

 

Compulsory breath testing

 

Most respondents thought this effective as a strategy because people did not know when or where to expect checkpoints and would not drink and drive in case.However it was thought there was insufficient police resources in most locations for it to work effectively.However checkpoints that were not advertised, and shifted frequently from one spot to another, partly to circumvent the `bush telegraph' were suggested as a useful deterrent strategy using existing police staff.

 

Local community education and publicity campaigns

 

These were seen as being effective and more relevant than national publicity and education campaigns.It was important they were carried out by locals with access to outside resources rather than by `out of towners.'Using community and rural newspapers and newsletters and radio were suggested to promote not drinking and driving and to reinforce enforcement and other efforts.

 

In some areas there was a belief that locals were not involved in crashes.Finding out and publicising the extent of local involvement in traffic crashes was suggested as a way of encouraging action.

 

ID Cards with photograph for proof of age

 

This was often commented on in relation to enforcing the law relating to underage drinking.Having an ID card with a photograph was considered by many to be an effective and essential part of enforcing the law.

 

Enforcing law re intoxication on licensed premises

 

Respondents who thought this would be effective thought it would help keep a focus on how much people were drinking and help reduce levels of consumption.Some thought uniformed police needed to be more visible in sports clubs and other premises and act as a deterrent.Some publicans were concerned that whilst a person might not appear or be intoxicated, they could be over the limit for driving.Also not allowing to have an intoxicated person on the premises could mean putting a drunk driver back on the road.

 

Community groups such as Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) and Mothers Against Drink Driving (MADD)

 

Having a community group to work on reducing drinking and driving was considered in general to be an effective strategy.Most comments focused on SADD, which were operating in several communities.It was thought important to have students working with their peers.Some wondered if they only had short term effect or were able to reach at risk groups.

 

Community Alcohol Action Project (CAAP)

 

Most thought that a CAAP would be effective, although many did not know much about it.Such projects would help encourage local ownership of the problem and were considered to be successful in areas where they were operating.It was thought they needed to be long-term.Co-ordination of strategies and consultation with a broad range of sectors in the community during planning were important.

 

Driver Education - Professional Driving Instruction, Defensive Driving Courses

 

Driver education was not thought in general to directly reduce or prevent drink-driving.It was thought more emphasis on driver skills could provide opportunities to increase awareness of the dangers or might improve driving skills if people were drinking and driving.Others thought such skills disappeared when people were affected by alcohol.Lack of availability and cost of professional driving instruction were mentioned as limiting factors for some communities.††

 

National Publicity Campaigns

 

There was a range of responses to television and other national campaigns, with some thinking they were effective and others thinking that they had only short term effect.Using images that people in rural communities could relate to was important, and they needed to be carried out in conjunction with local efforts.

 

Some thought graphic television advertisements worked because people talked about them.Others thought they had only short term effect and after a while people ignored even the most horrific details.There was a perception that shock tactics did not work with those who had low self-esteem and could not see how they could change things in life.

 

Health promotion advertisements such as the Alcohol Advisory Council's ones promoting host responsibility, and the 'we don't serve drunks' promotion were mentioned by some as effective and needing more exposure.

 

Increasing penalties for drink driving: jail, fines, confiscation of cars

 

There was no consistent trend in comments on increasing penalties. In terms of rural localities, some thought car confiscation would be effective because people needed a car to get anywhere.Others thought there would be major problems including joint ownership, storage and security problems and negative effects on other family members with such heavy reliance on private vehicles for work, shopping and visits to the doctor.

 

Treatment of alcohol problems

 

The majority thought this would be effective in helping reduce drinking and driving problems by getting people, who were both problem drinkers and drinking drivers, into treatment, although some said it was too late or that resources would be better put into prevention.It was thought by one respondent that many long term rural drinking drivers had a drinking problem but were not caught due to lack of policing resources and never got to treatment.

 

Lack of treatment and related services in rural areas meant the only available ones were in larger population centres and required considerable time in travelling, and financial and personal commitment to attend.Efforts were being made to set up some services in one location, but lack of funding was a problem.

 

Enforcing Law re Underage Drinking

 

Respondents thought the law relating to underage drinking would be effective if enforced more but it was important it was consistently enforced across all premises so that underage people would not patronise more lenient premises.The rules relating to guardianship, especially in sports clubs, presented some with difficulties in interpretation with coaches being considered guardians.It was thought preferable to have one age with 18 years of age being more often mentioned than 20.Some thought twenty was unrealistic in rural areas because of the lack of alternative entertainment to drinking venues and would lead to more unsupervised drinking.

 

Concern was expressed about the role of parents in supplying alcohol for keg and other parties to young people who were not their own children, and the lack of clarity over what was legal and illegal in this situation.

 

Last Drink Survey

 

The last drink survey was well-established in some locations and starting to be implemented in others.Drink drive offenders were asked by police where they had last been drinking.It was seen to help produce a pattern over time of premises that needed attention.A number of respondents tended to think it was ineffective, one reason being that they thought people lied about where they had been drinking to protect their favourite drinking spot and instead nominated others.Others thought that in small locations with few premises that it was a waste of time because they already knew about the problem premises.

 

More speed cameras

 

Most thought speed cameras would not have much effect in relation to drinking and driving.Some thought they would be more effective in reducing speeding in general if there was no signpost warnings given of their presence.

 

Local council restricting or banning alcohol on beaches and reserves

 

Some respondents in communities which experienced a large increase in population during summer months thought these were effective in controlling, in particular, the influx of young men bringing in, or buying large quantities of alcohol.In inland communities it was thought there was little problem with drinking on reserves.

 

Alternative social events without alcohol

 

Most thought this would not be very effective in reducing the amount of drinking and driving because few people would go to them, whereas others thought it important to have such functions, especially for adolescents.

 

Enforcing Graduated Drivers Licence (GDL)

 

Some thought the GDL was effective because young people learnt the rules about drink-driving and were restricted as to how much they were allowed to drink.Enforcement of it in rural areas was considered a problem through lack of police resources and penalties were insufficient for breaches.It was considered the rule about no passengers discouraged life saver or designated driver options.One respondent thought there was a personal safety issue with this rule; with young women and girls being more vulnerable if they were on their own and had a mechanical breakdown in dark, isolated rural areas.

 

Improving road conditions

 

Improving roads in some cases could help prevent or reduce the severity of the results of a road crash but would not prevent drinking and driving.In locations where roads were winding and hilly and slowed down traffic, some thought straightening the roads out would lead to increased speeds and more serious crashes.

 

Increasing the drinking age

 

This was not considered realistic and would lead to even more young people drinking in unsupervised situations.

 

Increasing the driving age

 

Most thought it should not be raised because young people in rural areas were particularly reliant on vehicles to get to school, sports practice, jobs and social occasions.

 

Increasing the price of alcohol

 

Nearly all thought this would not be effective because they thought people would continue to drink and forgo spending money on basics.

 

Other strategies nominated included notices for licensed premises to reinforce don't drink and drive messages, white crosses on roadsides, special speakers and breathalyser machines in outlets.

 

 

Alcohol advertising and drinking and driving

 

 

Alcohol advertising on television was mentioned by several respondents as not helping attempts to reduce drinking and driving, because of the positive messages the advertisements portrayed about drinking.They were considered to be well made and appealing to children and adolescents.

 

 

Community support for action

 

 

Most respondents thought there was support for action on drinking and driving, although they thought the extent of it varied.

 

Adequate and ongoing funding and resources were necessary to support local efforts.Rather than outsiders coming in telling people what to do, it was important they worked alongside the communities.

 


Discussion and Conclusions

 

Many interrelated factors affect the incidence and consequences of drinking and driving in rural communities.A broad range of strategies which are co-ordinated, long term and well resourced are likely to meet with more success in reducing alcohol-related crashes than reliance on only a few short term approaches.

 

Strategies should include:

 

††† those that influence individuals' attitudes, perceptions and behaviour in deciding about drinking and driving, for example use of compulsory breath testing as a deterrent;

 

††† those which affect the drinking environment, for example enforcement of liquor licensing law in relation to intoxication and minors, and implementation of host responsibility measures;

 

††† those which enable communities to encourage and support their members to not drink and drive, for example use of local media and other opportunities to highlight the role of such practices as the bush telegraph in supporting drinking and driving.

 

Rural community efforts to reduce alcohol-related crashes will be enhanced by supportive national policy decisions, for example an increase in the level of resources allocated to compulsory breath testing.



RECOMMENDATIONS

 

 

That:

 

††† Rural communities develop a broad range of coordinated strategies to reduce the incidence of alcohol related crashes involving locals.These should include emphasis on initiatives involving drinking environments, enforcement of liquor licensing and traffic safety legislation and community action, which will be effective long term.

 

††† Rural communities investigate how many crashes involve locals.

 

††† Host responsibility be promoted in licensed and unlicensed drinking locations and further resources suitable for rural communities be developed.

 

††† Emphasis be given to host responsibility training and development of resources suitable for rural sports clubs.

 

††† Police in rural areas be encouraged to enforce the liquor licensing law in relation to intoxication in licensed premises, including regular visits to hotels/taverns and sports clubs.

 

††† Media campaigns be developed in consultation with rural communities to reinforce appropriate driving behaviour, using imagery and themes relevant to those communities.

 

††† Media advocacy be used in rural community media to support policing and other community efforts by drawing attention to practices which reinforce drinking and driving behaviour, such as the 'bush telegraph'.

 

††† Compulsory breath testing as a major deterrent strategy be given sufficient policing and media publicity resources to enable it to work effectively in rural and urban communities.

 

††† Police in rural areas undertake more visible deterrent activity in relation to drinking and driving.

 

††† Strategies for effective implementation of CBT in rural areas be further investigated and developed.



INTRODUCTION

 

 

This report is of a qualitative study which documents the comments of a range of respondents from ten rural communities on their perception of factors contributing to rural drinking driving crashes, and their comments on strategies they perceive may help reduce the incidence of such crashes.The aim of the research was to assist the Alcohol Advisory Council which commissioned the research, and rural communities and other stakeholders in planning to reduce drink drive related injuries and fatalities.

 

Information available on the incidence of alcohol-related traffic crashes in New Zealand indicates there is a disproportionate rate in small towns and rural areas compared with rates in cities and larger towns.For example, Bailey (1995) found that at fault drink-drivers living in minor urban (population 1,000-9,999) and rural areas (population less than 1,000) were involved in about double the rate of fatal crashes in 1991-1993, compared with similar drivers in larger towns and cities.

 

Another study in 1992 found that 66% of traffic crash fatalities and 39% of injury crashes occurred in rural areas (speed limit of 100km/h) (Land Transport Authority 1993).Thirty-seven percent of all alcohol-related road fatalities in 100km speed zones occurred among rural people, although only 15% of people are classified as rural dwellers.Twenty two percent of such fatalities occurred among the nine percent of people living in minor urban areas (Unpublished Land Transport data 1993).

 

Fogarty (1995), in a review of completed research, found that it was unclear whether age differences in rural and urban drink driving were linked to differences in demographic structures or were due to other factors.She noted that attitudes towards drink-driving held by rural people in different communities were unknown but such information was vital for planning and implementing countermeasures.Acceptance of countermeasures is likely to be affected by the level of concern in rural areas about drinking and driving.A low level of concern might mean a longer process of fostering change.

 

 

Intervention in rural areas

 

Overseas studies have shown that there are some successful strategies in reducing alcohol-related crashes such as enforcement of penal provision against service to intoxicated patrons on licensed premises (O'Donnell 1985; Single and McKenzie 1992; Peberdy 1991; Stockwell et al. 1991; Jeffs and Saunders 1983, McKnight and Streff, 1993); server intervention strategies to reduce the likelihood of patron intoxication (Mosher 1983; Saltz 1987; Russ and Geller 1987; McKnight 1991; Mosher et al. 1989; Lang 1990; Stockwell 1992 ); and random breath testing (Peacock 1992; Homel 1988; Homel and Wilson 1987).However, there has been little research on whether these interventions are feasible and effective in rural areas.

 

It may be that national initiatives such as New Zealand's host responsibility campaign and compulsory breath testing do not affect rural areas in the same way as urban areas.Research on perceptions of host responsibility measures indicated rural respondents felt current resources were not appropriate for their communities (Abel et al., 1993).Rural licensing inspectors felt little changes had occurred in their area with licensed premise hosting practice and that more work needed to be done with hotels and taverns.Both Maori community workers and inspectors believed that underage drinking was condoned by police in some rural areas, because it was believed this meant young people drank in a controlled environment.However this informal policing policy may have implications in terms of alcohol-related injury for young people in those communities.There has been some anecdotal suggestion for example, that compulsory breath testing is more effective in urban areas where there are more enforcement resources available than there are in rural areas.This may at least partially, explain the current higher drink-driving crash rates in rural areas.Behavioural, social and environmental factors such as the fewer enforcement staff in isolated areas and heavier reliance on own cars for transport are two examples of why this may be so.

 

For example, Fairweather and Campbell (1990:171-2), in an ethnographic study of public drinking in two rural Canterbury settlements in 1989/90, observed that:

 

"many men in the Methven area, both young and old, continually drink and drive.Local law enforcement only has the time and resources to keep track of a few recognised dangerous drinking drivers...Drinking conversations include accounts of how drunk men escaped from traffic officers.These accounts are applauded ...Less than ten percent of men will arrange for 'safe' transport home."

 

The research covered in this report was carried out to assist in identifying factors in rural New Zealand which are perceived by stakeholders living or working in rural areas, to contribute to or reduce driving and driving and alcohol related crashes.A further intention was to identify strategies which could help reduce the problem.

 


METHODOLOGY

 

Location of research

 

The research was carried out in the Waikato/King Country/Coromandel region which was chosen because of the range of township sizes and township types.Some were mainly rural service sector townships, with others catering for tourism and recreational activities as well.Ten townships in the region were selected, all being minor urban centres (population centres of 1,000-9,999).They ranged from having small populations of just over 1,000 to larger centres of over 8,000.Interviews were conducted in the ten minor urban centres selected.

 

 

Key respondent interviews

 

People with an occupation or a particular role or interest in drink-driving and alcohol-related traffic crashes, for example police, licensees, health professionals and community group representatives in the rural communities, were interviewed for the study.

 

Initially potential key respondents with specific occupational roles were identified by using the Waikato, King Country and Thames Valley Telephone Directory to locate their place of work.Information letters explaining the research project were sent to these people.A few days later the recipients were telephoned to find out if they were willing to participate and arrange an interview appointment.Using a snowball technique, their assistance was requested to help identify other possible key respondents in their community whom they thought had a role or particular interest in the issue.A list was drawn up of potential interviewees from this process and further people were then contacted.There were no refusals, although in some cases the person initially contacted nominated another person as more appropriate in terms of role and interest, and that person was interviewed instead.In one case where a letter had been sent contact could not be established with the prospective interviewee.A total of 59 people were interviewed, of whom 18 were female, and 41 were male.

 

The numbers and primary roles of the key respondents were as follows:

 

Table 1

Primary Roles of Key Respondents

Total

Female

Male

Police Officers

10

10

District Licensing Inspectors

7

7

Publicans

10

3

7

Sports Club committee members and administrators

6

1

5

Cosmopolitan Club committee members

2

2

Order of St John members

3

2

1

Accident & Emergency Nurses

2

2

General Practitioners

3

3

Public Health Nurses

4

4

Alcohol & Drug Community Health Worker

1

1

Medical Officer of Health

1

1

Community Board Chairperson

1

1

Road Safety Co-ordinators, CAAPS, Roading Management

3

1

2

School teachers andsenior students

6

3

3

59

18

41

 

 

In some communities only some of these roles were fulfilled.Some respondents held multiple roles in their community (for example a combination of employment and membership in one or more community groups).So as well as the primary roles noted in Table 1 above, respondents also mentioned that they currently held the following roles:sports club membership (including rugby, bowls, racing, boating), cosmopolitan club membership, RSA membership, Order of St John membership, including volunteer ambulance, budget advice, playcentre (including at Regional level), alcohol liaison committee membership, volunteer fire brigade, service club membership, social services councils, Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) school co-ordinator, district councillor, Federated Farmers Women's Division membership, victim support, police surgeon, environmental health officers, Youth Employment Scheme Organiser and Federated Farmers membership.

 

A number of respondents had been active or employed in other relevant roles in the past and thus had considerable life experience and knowledge to draw on during the interview.Those who were currently or had recently parented teenagers had direct knowledge ofyounger people's drinking and drink-driving behaviour.

 

 

Interview schedule design

 

The interview schedule followed a semi-structured format and questions were open ended to enable respondents to elaborate as necessary.Respondents were asked for their perceptions and beliefs about a range of environmental, social, behavioural and economic factors which might affect the incidence of drink-driving and alcohol-related traffic crashes in his or her community.

 

The interview schedule consisted of four sections.First, a series of questions was asked about drinking environments and practices in the community ('community' was explained as meaning 'the rural areas around the town as well as the town itself').The second section of questions focused on drink-driving practices, local concern regarding drink-driving, and local factors which might contribute to drink-driving.The third section inquired into local factors affecting the outcomes of drink-driving, such as crashes, injuries, and deaths.The final section of the schedule asked for the interviewee's strategies aimed at reducing or preventing drink-driving and alcohol-related crashes in the respondent's area.This was split into two parts.The first part was designed to elicit what the respondents thought were potential strategies for reducing or preventing drink-driving and alcohol-related crashes in their rural area.The second part involved an exercise in which respondents were asked to consider 25 strategies to reduce drinking and driving and alcohol related traffic crashes.They were asked to comment on each of the strategies' effectiveness or non-effectiveness for their rural area.Following completion of the first 19 interviews, the schedule was altered by the addition of a set of questions relating to clubs, pubs, alcohol, and fundraising as this was an emerging theme in the early interviews which was considered needed to be explored more fully.The schedule in Appendix A includes these questions.

 

 

Conducting the interviews

 

Five trips to different parts of the Waikato/King Country/Coromandel region were undertaken during July and August 1995.Each trip lasted about one week and involved interviewing in two or three communities close to one another.The interviews were conducted by Ann Blyth.

 

The interviews were face-to-face and were conducted at the interviewees' workplaces, clubrooms, and homes.Each interview was approximately an hour to an hour and a half in duration.All interviews were audio-taped with the respondent's permission to enable accuracy in analysis.

 

An average of five interviews per community were carried out.In total, 52 interviews were conducted.In some cases, two people were interviewed together, making a total of 59 people interviewed.In most instances, interviews were carried out with people who had lived in the community for a while.However, this was not always possible due to factors such as recent appointments, being employed in one community but residing in another community, and the high turn-over of hotel ownership.††† Two or three interviews were conducted each day, depending on the travelling time required during that day, and the availability of respondents.Some communities were returned to when an interview needed to be rescheduled, but in three instances this was not possible.

 

 

Analysing interview data

 

The interview audio-tapes were transcribed.The interviews were analysed by reading the transcripts and identifying emerging themes and relevant quotes.To protect anonymity no localities or individuals are identified in the report.


THE ROLE OF ALCOHOL IN THE COMMUNITIES

 

This section describes respondents' perceptions about the location of drinking, drinking occasions and the place of alcohol in the rural communities.Many people interviewed believed alcohol was a very important part oflocal social activities as it was throughout New Zealand.

 

††††††††††† "I guess we're no different than any other community, in the fact that alcohol plays a major role.It's a social lubricant."

 

Some respondents believed that socialising was the prime reason that people came together and drinking was secondary.Most social occasions involved alcohol, some respondents commenting many people would find it difficult to envisage a social event with no alcohol.

 

††††††††††† "I think the idea - well, if an event or occasion is dry, you hear about it... I recently heard of some, with incredulous voices."

 

In general, the only venues of entertainment to be found in rural areas also involved drinking.Most locations had no other forms of local commercial entertainment, such as movie theatres.The most readily available entertainment was at licensed premises,other venues being restricted on the basis of membership, or being a private function such as parties, barbeques or weddings and 21sts.Venues serving alcohol such as hotels, taverns and clubs provided a place to talk and discuss things informally, or for holding meetings or as mentioned in one location, a place for self employed men to keep up contacts with people who may provide them with work.

 

In some communities, different people in the same township had varying perceptions regarding the existence of special events where alcohol was a feature. Some stated there were no special events of that kind, whilst others gave examples of gala days, major international sporting events where part of the main street was closed off, with alcohol and food being provided, of special licences being granted for Anzac Day, sports contests such as fishing, and bike races.

 

Sport was considered to play an important role with sports clubs featuring as drinking locations in many communities.One respondent commented on the perception that drink and sport go together.

 

††††††††††† "There is a perception in this community...that you have to drink, associated with sport, particularly a lot of male sport I think. The relationship between alcohol and male sport is still strong, and that message that you need to be in control of yourself, that a sportsman won't drink very much, is lost a little."

 

Race clubs were frequently mentioned as providing special events in rural areas, some holding several meets a year, whilst others only had one or two.A publican described the local annual race and the pub patronage on that day.

 

††††††††††† "We have one race meeting a year down here and it's round the golf course and it's a picnic meeting obviously...They come from as far as Whangarei, New Plymouth, Tauranga. I mean we had 10,000 people down there a few years ago, no I think it was closer to 11,000.It's a lot of people... You know, I can't really shut the place - I mean it's the biggest day of our year by a long way... but it's a dangerous day... You get 300 people which are pretty full.I have bouncers that day.It's the only day of the year I have bouncers.The last five years we've closed early twice - it's been 8 pm closing.And that's probably the only way you can control the fights."

 

Some race days had a special theme, wine festivals being popular.Golf clubs also had special tournament days, which sometimes included facilities such as a wine tent.Large cosmopolitan clubs, and racing clubs also served as function centres for rural townships, being booked for weddings and similar occasions.

 

Whilst there were a few mentions of informal 'sly grog' or 'private social clubs' known to exist locally, in general the increase in legal availability by means of the extension of hours and the increase in number of on and off licensed venues was seen by respondents to leave no necessity for such outlets now.Generally, only publicans commented on the possible existence of an illegal arrangement.

 

Men were considered to patronise hotels and taverns more than women.According to some respondents many women preferred to drink at restaurants and cafe type premises.

 

††††††††††† "If you go into the hotels, on a Thursday or Friday night, the majority are men.You know, it's a social thing after work, they'll all go to the pub for a drink... unless you have a karaoke, then it will be mixed, but just a general Friday night, after work drinks is a very male thing.Yeah, I'm just thinking of some of our cafes, you know women will go in there, because I guess part of it's environmental, there's still that male cultural stuff about women on their own going out, so I guess women will choose places that are safer, so they'll go to cafes and places like that."

 

In some locations drinking outlets such as pubs and rugby clubs were not seen as places for women to go or had only recently allowed women to join, such as cosmopolitan clubs.

 

Generational differences in when people went drinking were reported.Middle-aged and older people, men in particular, had begun drinking when six o'clock closing was still in force, and some had consequently developed the habit of drinking at a venue after work, and then going home for tea.Nowadays younger people (children of middle-aged respondents) were coming home for tea first, and then going out drinking later in the evening.This was described by some interviewees as being "later and longer", having tea before going out meant that people were able to absorb more alcohol before becoming intoxicated, and without the necessity to return home for tea, people were staying out much longer than before.

 

††††††††††† "Just for example, this week we came down - 7 o'clock we arrived, so two hours later, I'm drinking anyway, but instead of staying out two longer, we stayed out four hours longer."

 

††††††††††† "See if you went out at five, by seven, you're hungry, but now they've had a feed and the alcohol is being absorbed with the food, you see, so their ability to sustain a longer period on the drink, or maybe not even get drunk with a longer period is there."

 


Licensed places of drinking

 

††††† Hotel/Tavern

 

Hotels were described as not being particularly well patronised in several locations, whereas clubs were generally seen to be fairly well patronised in comparison.In some communities some older style pubs had upgraded, and were providing a higher class style of venue.Comments were made that some older style pubs had "mothballed" bars.Large booze barn hotels and taverns were perceived as decreasing in size and number and were less well patronised, judging, respondents said, by noticeably fewer cars in their carparks.Coupled with the poor profitability of some more traditional pubs were frequent changes of ownership.

 

††††††††††† "One pub for a start only has one bar open and it's quite a big premise, you know. It has maybe three or four bars, and they have one little bar open. And it's changed hands numerous times, and no-one really makes a go of it."

 

Respondents thought that hotels and taverns played a number of roles in the local area.Some pubs were perceived as meeting places, where people (especially younger people) went before deciding on what they would do that evening.

 

††††††††††† "This one is a meeting place. They all come here first...so they'll all get together and then they'll decide where they may or may not be going, and they'll move on if there's a particularly good band out at X (another pub several kilometres out of town) ...but they may decide to go to Rotorua or Auckland."

 

Other pubs were 'finishing' places, where people ended an evening out before going home.In some cases the 'finishing' pub was the only premise still open.

 

††† Sports and other clubs

 

In a number of locations most drinking by local people was reported to take place in clubs rather than in hotels and taverns.The clubs include chartered cosmopolitan clubs, RSAs, and sports clubs.Historically, in some rural townships, clubs (especially cosmopolitan clubs) were perceived as having formed as a solution to an area being "dry".One publican felt that nowadays cosmopolitan style clubs were becoming increasingly tavern like, and were actively competing for drinkers.

 

In some locations, these clubs and sports clubs outnumbered the pubs, and were considered to have greater patronage.When asked where most people did their drinking, interviewees in these townships typically answered:

 

††††††††††† "This is a club town rather than a pub town."

 

As one respondent explained:

 

††††††††††† "It's a club town.The clubs were here long before the hotel... It is a club oriented town.The hotel came here after and they don't get so many regulars, I wouldn't think.Or they get a different type anyway, ones that are probably not brought up to club drinking."

 

This respondent explained that with clubs there were generations of drinkers.

 

††††††††††† "It's the sort of thing you follow the old man in, and go right through."

 

Even when an area had always been 'wet',clubs and sports clubs emerged as alternatives to pub drinking.A main difference was that the primary purpose of cosmopolitan style clubs was to provide an alternative drinking place to pubs, whereas the sports clubs centred on sports, but with alcohol sales considered an essential part of the clubs' ability to provide facilities for the players.Advantages of drinking at clubs and sports clubs were stated as cheaper drinks, and a more pleasant environment because behaviour was controlled due to membership rules.Some respondents thought there was far less likelihood of violence than in the pub situation.

 

Many sports clubs in rural areas had their own clubrooms with bar facilities.In some cases a number of different sporting codes had combined.These multiple code clubs were reported to be very large complexes, with more than one bar and because of their size in some cases, they became the centre for larger social events in the town.One respondent described a multiple code club as follows:

 

††††††††††† "It's a very large club... it's got rugby, netball, touch, cricket, etc, etc.And also it's the amalgam of two other sports clubs, two previous sports clubs who had their club rooms adjoining each other, and what they've done is join the whole lot up and make one club, joined it physically.So it's become a very big venue... And also it's the only venue to hold a lot of public appearances and things like that in town, so there's a lot of social events."

 

If a club was very small and without its own clubrooms, it used the local pub as its meeting place.The different clubs attracted different memberships, although some people belonged to more than one club.Younger people were perceived as more likely to be drinking at sports clubs, especially rugby clubs, or multiple code clubs.

 

 

Sponsorship and fundraising in sports clubs

 

Respondents involved in sports clubs said that alcohol bar sales were essential to provide funds to run the club.

 

††††††††††† "We rely wholly and solely on alcohol as our revenue to maintain our club. As I said, our takings have dropped...It's had a dramatic effect on our income. Take it away and we haven't got clubs, we haven't got sports clubs.There's a marked difference between drinking in clubs and drinking in nightclubs and hotels. The clubs have committees which are responsible for them while they are on the premises, and they have to maintain and control them and discipline them. Nightclubs and that, all they can do is kick them out and ban them. And all they are there for is to take the money and revenue off them...We have to provide so many services from the revenue... eg on the sports field and everything. So we aren't taking the money off them for our benefit, we're putting it back in their pocket."

 

One respondent mentioned competition amongst the breweries to obtain 'beer rights' in sports clubs which provided some extra income.

 

††††††††††† "The breweries, I guess they wouldn't call it - they don't call it sponsorship, as far as this club is concerned, that's basically beer rights.They give us x amount of dollars to put their products, sell this in our club."

 

Local pubs also provided some sponsorship to sports clubs.In some cases this was quite minor, one example given being the supply cans of beer in the changing room at the end of the game.Some respondents, from a range of roles and locations stated that where this sponsorship was provided there was an expectation that teams would visit the pub.Members of a netball club said when they had been turned down for a club licence they used the pub that provided sponsorship as their clubroom.Apart from being where they socialised, this was seen as repaying the pub.

 

††††††††††† "A lot of the hotels and taverns are sponsoring clubs. Like our daughter's is sponsored by the local hotel, so to pay back that sponsorship, they go up there and drink there. That is sort of like their club premises without actually having a room somewhere else."

 

Some arrangements could be very long-standing, and new publicans often inherited old arrangements.One publican, who was a relatively recent arrival, said that the sponsorship was provided because members already drank at the pub, not the other way around.These sponsorship arrangements were seen by some in the community as being the pub's 'role' in community activities.Some new publicans found they were not able to end established sponsorship arrangements.

 

††††††††††† "One that springs straight to mind is the - Hotel.They've had several new managers, and as each new manager comes in and takes over, they find that they actually have to support the - Half Marathon.They come into the social community and find out that this is their role."

 

 

Changes in outlets and hours

 

††† Outlets

 

The 1989 Sale of Liquor Act had brought changes in the number and types of outlets where alcohol was sold.While it was mentioned there has been an increase in the number of licenses, many of these had been applied for and granted as part of a process of licensing existing outlets, which had been serving drinks without a licence.Some of these were sports clubs although some sports clubs were perceived to still be serving illegally.

 

In some locations a number of new drinking venues had opened in the last few years.These were licensed restaurants, restaurant-bars, bars, and BYO restaurants and cafes, and nightclubs.The locations where these had opened up were either the larger minor urban centres, or locations also catering for tourists and holiday makers.The townships where these changes had not occurred did not have a tourist base, and according to respondents, had unemployment problems.The increase in availability in the communities was seen to result in people going out more often to drink and dine both locally and in neighbouring towns and cities.

 

A few respondents believed that these new ventures might also be affecting the income of sports clubs bars, especially where the new venues focused on catering for younger people.Some sports clubs noted that there had been a substantial drop in their bar take.In one case a respondent from a sports club attributed this to such competition, in another case a sports club respondent believed it was also the impact of drink-driving advertisements.

 

There had also been an increase in the number of places take away alcohol could be purchased, such as wholesalers, supermarkets and superettes selling wine.In one remote township, there was now a wholesaler,and superettes selling wine.Previously a limited range of alcohol for takeaway sale could only be bought at the pub at a dearer price.Competition in some locations between off-licences was seen to have led to cheaper prices and more off premise drinking.

 

††† Hours

 

The 1989 Sale of Liquor Act also meant a change in hours of sale with, for example, hotels and taverns applying for 3 am or later closing.The Act also allowed more flexibility for licensees of hotels and taverns.No longer were they required to be open for set hours as under the 1962 Sale of Liquor Act, but could choose to be open within a range of hours.A common practice reported in the communities was to apply for extended hours, not necessarily to be open for all those hours, but to have them available should they be required at some point.Respondents from a range of venues with licences said that they did not make full use of the hours for which their licence allowed them to be open.

 

In some districts respondents reported that there were a number of 3am licences.Some hotels had tried being open to the full extent of their extended hours, but had found it was not profitable, and that they also had to deal with behaviour problems.Most hotels stayed open until either the number of patrons was too small to be profitable, or closed up when patrons show signs of becoming unruly.One licensee said that it was a relief that they were not required to be open to the full extent of their license.In general, hotels closed earlier in the first half of the week, with later closing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.Even on Thursday night extended hours might not be fully utilised, as one licensee explained:

 

††††††††††† "Although we have a licence until 3am, it doesn't mean we will trade till 3am on a Thursday. We will only go till 1am, and the reason is our clientele...we need them to get to work on Friday, so we don't have their employers on our backs."

 

In one district, the District Licensing Agency had worked with the community boards and the police to try to keep to a latest closing time of 1am, the reason being that they did not have policing resources to cover later closing.Midnight or 1 am was the cut off time for police to be on duty at night except for emergency situations.According to the district licensing inspector, most hoteliers were willing to accept this.

 

††††††††††† "Most of the hoteliers and tavern-keepers have agreed to that and have actually thanked me, saying ,'Well, thank goodness you've done that, because if two or three were to get hours through to 6am or something, then the rest of us would have to do it', and they don't particularly want that."

 

Some district licensing inspectors said they endeavoured to make sure that there would not be a premise open much later than others in an area, in order to prevent people moving on (and thus driving) to another venue.

 

††††††††††† "One of the considerations that I have taken into account in relation to the late hours, is actually looking at the consistency of hours so that you do not have people moving from one club to another, to another.And if I thought that they were requesting a variation that would encourage this, we would have a good discussion so that they actually don't go for those later hours."


Although some districts had endeavoured to prevent having multiple closing times, the decisions of individual licensees to close earlier meant there was still considerable variance in closing times with resulting travelling to later closing premises reported.

 

††††††††††† "The other thing that sometimes happens is that if they've been drinking at one premise, and that premise shuts, then they'll go to another one that has a later licence...In - it's quite noticeable that the one tavern that has a later licence, they get an influx as the other places close."

 

In another location the hotel in town closed before midnight, but another pub a few kilometres out from town remained open until later.Whilst this pub did provide a bus to transport drinkers to and from town, respondents commented that when people using the bus returned to town, they then picked up their cars from the parking outside the town hotel and drove away.

 

Economic and demographic changes

 

Economic restructuring in New Zealand from the 1980s had meant many redundancies for some towns including loss of white-collar workers with branch closures of government departments and closures of other businesses and industries.People on low incomes had shifted into some locations from cities because housing was affordable, even if there were poor prospects job wise.Retired people were also moving into some locations due to the low cost of housing.Respondents considered that some changes resulting from this were in where people drank.Low incomes contributed to some locals turning more to cheaper off licence sales and homebrew and drinking more often at home than at hotels and taverns.

 

††††††††††† "Well it's cost: I actually think too that people are making their own homebrew and I think it's just gathering together in someone's home.Like the whole sort of the neighbourhood gathering in one home and having a few drinks in the garage.That's do it all day and every day."

 

Benefit days were noted by a few respondents as times when hotels and taverns were patronised more by low income groups.

 

In cannabis growing areas, it was perceived there was more money to spend on alcohol in the winter following a successful harvest.

 

††††††††††† "During the winter the drinking tends to depend on how well the cannabis recovery operation went in the summer, that also affects - well I feel it does - with the problems we have during the winter.Less money to spend on alcohol, less problems.If we have a good cannabis recovery, it effectively takes a lot of money out of the community."

 

 


DRINKING BY YOUNG PEOPLE

 

 

Considerable mention was made of drinking by young people (in their early teens to early twenties) by respondents from most communities.Partly because of the limited range of entertainment for young people in this age range in rural communities it was thought alcohol took on something of a focus.

 

††† Attitudes to drinking

 

Many respondents made mention of heavy drinking and favourable attitudes towards consuming large amounts amongst young people.

 

††††††††††† Well we have our young men particularly, and that's late adolescent and the early 20's.To me it's almost like a cultural issue, that at that age they seem to start drinking and drink very heavily...And the girls will be there too.I don't think to the same extent but they do drink a lot.And it's 'I had a really good weekend, I got really wasted' or' I got really out of it' or I was really drunk and I vomited everywhere."That stuff still exists.It still exists as a status symbol."

 

††††††††††† "Because I feel that, talking with my fourth formers, that they feel that unless you have drink there, you can't be having fun.That's their perception that you must have alcohol available before you can enjoy yourself.And so, I'm sure that comes from their parents.There is certainly that perception there in a large number of them.And the drunker you get, the more fun you have.Unless you get blotto, you can't be enjoying yourself."

 

Two respondents, who were parents, described differences they perceived between their age group (middle-aged) and teenage drinking.Their observation of teenage drinking was that the focus was drinking as much as possible, but for the parent's age group the focus was more on socialising.

 

††††††††††† "...we go out for a night, okay, yes, we want our alcohol - Friday night's my night...but you're not hoping, 'hey I'm going to go out and drink six kegs tonight'. It's just to mix with the company because you know that there are other people on that particular night at that particular place, that you've got someone to talk to and just sit there and relax. But I think with the younger ones, it's not the relaxing, it's the 'how much we can..."

 

††††††††††† "...that's what I say, it's everything.It's not what happened, it's how much they consumed, or how many tequilas they had..."

 

††††††††††† "...watching other people throwing up..."

 

††††††††††† "...how many stubbies they got through..."

 

These two respondents thought that both male and female teenagers focused on quantity, the difference being that the males drank beer, whereas the females chose spirits.However perceptions regarding male and female drinking varied.Other respondents believed that adolescent males were drinking more than their female counterparts, or that young females were drinking as much or perhaps even more than young males.

 

While many respondents thought while there were heavy drinking groups amongst the young, there was also a common perception that many young people were not drinking to that extent.

 

††††††††††† "There's certainly more [young people] that are choosing not to drink and I think that there are some that have a sensible attitude to alcohol and drink-driving.But we still have the other groups."

 

 

††† Places of drinking

 

Most drinking by younger people (college age and into early 20's) was reported to be done at parties at sports clubs, or at hotels and taverns either in town or out in the country.In the Waikato, keg parties were particular drinking events mentioned by a number of respondents in the region.

 

††††††††††† "It wasn't the school ball, it was the party after the school ball.So you know, how many kegs are going to be at the party. I don't know about this year, but I know...my two daughters' times, they went to these balls, then they came into the house at 12.30am and out of these gowns that cost you $150 to put them in, and they were into their jeans and tops and off to drink these kegs, about 20 kilometres out in the frigging country."

 

††††††††††† "I suppose, you bring a keg, is a classic one of that, because it is a football game, where the team and all the supporters particularly congregate at one person's place. I suppose this is almost a tradition. They start off at the sports club...and migrate to someone's place. And that's very common - it's almost a weekly thing."

 

Teenage drinking was spoken of in a more general way in Coromandel Peninsular locations, with mentions of parties at weekends, and parents providing alcohol for these parties.Some mention was also made of keg parties.Some respondents from the Coromandel Peninsular also spoke of the large numbers of young people, particularly men, arriving with large quantities of alcohol in their cars during the height of the summer season, and of the extra policing measures that were in place to address the problem.

 

††††††††††† "The police patrols are much more intense over the summer period... so from a certain date in December through till a date in January, there's a total liquor ban out on the street.So as soon as they see young ones in cars, drinking and driving in cars, they're pulled up, the alcohol's taken off them."

 

For younger people, local hotels often provided the only local organised entertainment, in the form of live bands, or disco music.A number of interviewees commented that teenagers (under 20) went to the hotel when there was entertainment of this kind.Although they were underage, this situation was regarded as inescapable when there were no organised or commercial alternatives.It was felt better that young people be in supervised licensed premises than at private keg or other parties with variable levels of control, and which could attract gatecrashers smuggling in alcohol, or on beaches or in cars with associated drinking and driving.One respondent said:

 

††††††††††† "We're talking probably the 16 upward.If they aren't doing anything wrong, where else are they going to go? That'sa parental statement, with reality in mind, that they have got to have some form of entertainment, and we can't provide it all. So a good number of them are not going to get up to any hassle. They will go along and listen to their band and probably won't be any worse than the adults or the over-20's. So that's a problem. Until there's an alternative... they can go to Hamilton...and then they have a long drive home, so they will be tired as well...So it is preferable to have them somewhere local, where they're only going to drive 5 kilometres..."

 

††††††††† Access to alcohol

 

Overall, interviewees stated that it was very easy for people under 20 to get alcohol, including young people purchasing it from off-licences themselves.It was considered this was likely to work as long as they did not look extremely young.In several locations, where it was mentioned that business was precarious due to economic downturn, interviewees believed it was unlikely an underage purchaser would be turned away if the competition would get the dollar instead.If an individual was unable to purchase alcohol due to being underage, friends, and older brothers and sisters bought it instead.As well, parents were often mentioned as supplying alcohol to their underage teenagers (as young as 15-16) to other people's children at keg parties.

 

††††††††††† "When they had the college ball down here, a few years ago if you said you were getting a keg, at that age, it was frowned upon.But now, they get the keg, [the parents] or help them get the keg or assist.They provide the venue."

 

One licensee mentioned parents ringing up and complaining when he refused entry to their underage children (unaccompanied by a guardian).In one location, liquor wholesalers had rung the police to complain about parents coming in and buying alcohol, and then giving it to their children to take to the local high school ball.

 

Some respondents believed that it was very difficult to judge the age of some young people especially females, whom they believed could dress in a manner which made it very difficult to be sure about their age.One respondent, a sports club bar manager commented when asked what sort of premises were having these problems.

 

††††††††††† "In the hotels, in the sports clubs. The fact is for the bar staff it is becoming increasingly difficult. And it's becoming impossible for bar staff to decipher ages. For bar staff it's a nightmare."

 

††† Sports clubs and underage drinking

 

Sports clubs were mentioned as important elements in communities with many young sports teams.Some respondents were concerned about that role in relation to youth drinking.

 

††††††††††† "But the other thing I don't like about, especially your rugby clubs now, and even your netballers, you've got college children playing and they now play in other clubs, not always for college and they are being introduced to alcohol at a very young age.One of the things was, at the rugby club, they used to give them a can of beer.And usually on an empty stomach.And a lot of them can't handle it."

 

††††††††††† "The one area that I think is so negative and it makes me so cross, is the way it is advertised in all sports clubs.It's like to me it gives the message to very young sports people that if you are going to play rugby, league, sevens or whatever, then drink comes along with it hand in hand.And if you take young boys and I am talking about young boys who are 9, 10, 11 or 12, away on a trip for a club, with a club and you go to another club to play a game, when you go into their club rooms afterwards to have a bit to eat and something to drink with the boys, the men will invariably go to the bar and have a handle of beer.It's like they are saying to the boys 'When you've had a hard game of rugby, this is the next thing that you do...And this from coaches, to managers, to all the rest of it.And it just...The last time I saw that was when my son was playing for -, which is a rep team, and I was sitting there steaming...I was fairly new to - and I always think to myself, now don't start going on, rabbiting on to other people because they probably don't want to hear it.But I happened to make the comment to a woman who was sitting next to me and I said to her, 'What do you think of all those men up there at the bar drinking', and boy, did she tell me, and she felt exactly as I felt by it... I though all the women who were sitting around, accepted that as part of the deal, but in fact, this woman sitting next to me didn't, and seemed to be of the impression that the other woman didn't either and they just turned a blind eye because what could they do about it."

 

Teenage rugby players (aged 17-20) were seen by some respondents as being likely to be drinking a lot of alcohol.When there was a limited number of players in an area, a respondent explained how clubs with 'under 21' teams were better able to attract players to their club.For players aged under 20, it was seen as being advantageous to be in an 'under 21' team, as opposed to being in an 'under 19' team.Individual members of an 'under 21' team at the pub were unlikely to be asked their age.

 

††††††††††† "We found that most of the sports clubs didn't want to have under-nineteens in their club - they didn't go out and look for under-nineteen rugby teams, because they would have to be very careful that they didn't supply them with liquor...under twenty-one, there was that thing, they could be sixteen, but they closed it down at 21...What I'm saying is, that it's just the perception that if you walked into a hotel and said you were in the under twenty-one team, you had far more chance of getting a drink."

 

However it was also noted that some clubs and coaches were concerned about alcohol and their younger members and were taking action.

 

††††††††††† "Some of the coaches are very good and will not let them drink at all....I know one of the coaches was in St Johns and his under nineteens were not allowed to have alcohol at all, after a game..."

 

The issue of who could act as a guardian to enable young people to be present on licensed premises was mentioned by several respondents from clubs. A number expressed concern over the definition of who a guardian was precisely.For example, coaches or family members were considered to be guardians by some.

 

Many respondents involved in running clubs (and hotels) said they would rather the age was set at one clear point.

 

Some sports clubs had taken steps to address this situation.One club had largely ceased social activities which were likely to attract underage visitors without guardians to their clubrooms and now concentrated on their members.

 

††††††††††† "Like in our situation now, three or four years ago, we used to have a social function once a month.Whereas now we don't have any, except for a couple of functions like prize-giving that are completely related to our sports involvement... and there tended to be a tendency for some of the younger ones to come... we would have a social, everyone would come in and that would cause us problems.Not with the police or anything, but we felt that we were going to get into problems, so that's why we cut them out.[Interviewer:Because you were going to have too many people that were definitely under age?]That's right.So now all we concentrate on is our own members...so we feel that we cover it, with the parents there, the fathers there - it's a family-oriented club."

 

Another club had decided to have underage people in their clubs although they knew it was illegal.

 

††††††††††† "With our lower grade teams, they come along as a team and they are under their manager and coach and here - we know it's illegal - but they are allowed to have a couple of drinks, and we've always done that.It's against the law, we know it, but we find if they don't have it here they will go somewhere and there'll be no supervision."

 

Respondents from sports clubs were becoming increasingly aware that clubs were liable if an underage drinker they had served was caught driving (or, in the worst scenario, was responsible for a fatal crash or was hurt themselves).

 

An incident involving an underage member of a large sportsclub who had been served at the club was commented on by respondents from a number of clubs, and other roles in several locations.Some respondents from sports clubs were concerned and wanted to ensure that a similar situation did not arise in their club.A player (aged 19) who won the 'player of the day' award drank from a handle which was filled with beer in rounds by other players, and was later seriously injured when intoxicated and a car hit him walking on the road.The council subsequently turned down an application for a late-night licence by the club, and organised a host responsibility course for coaches and committee members which was well attended.The club addressed underage drinking by ending the 'player of the day' award and banned alcohol from the changing rooms.The club intended to make its underage players attend courses next year.

 

In other locations there had been good turnouts for host responsibility courses when these were offered to sports clubs.

 

However respondents reported that one result of their club implementing host responsibility strategies, including not serving underage members, was that younger members went elsewhere, either drinking in garages, or travelling to other venues, including to sports clubs where standards were less strict and a lot of drinking went on.This was of particular concern in one location where such travelling was on open fast roads. A sports club representative with older teenagers stated:

 

††††††††††† "It's hard, we don't know where to draw the line...it was great once we were the club they were drinking at, and this year it hasn't been so great and our takings are down. We suffer accordingly. And so you look down the road, and they're all going ten kilometres out of town now.Is that good, or is that bad? That's the worry...like you're putting it (money) into another club, but they are not providing the means to and from, so there's a real possibility of tragedy to my mind...I know exactly what the young are doing, exactly what the young are doing."

 

The role of alcohol sponsorship in sports clubs and sports teams and the messages portrayed, particularly to young people was of concern for a few respondents.

 

††††††††††† "Yeah, the sports clubs always worry me because there's so much advertising with what's round the fields and flags that are D.B. or Lion Red or whatever.The very young boys talk about what they are going to drink and what they like because they see it all advertised around the fields all the time... really young, really young, seven, eight and nine year olds.My son played league last year out at - and I forget I think it's Lion Red they've got round and my son still talks about Lion Red being the beer that you drink when you are a man and he's 16 now and he still goes on about Lion Red.That's not come from, my husband doesn't drink beer, so he's got the message from somewhere else and he's always played sport, so I would say he's got it from his sporting interests."


PERCEPTION OF INCIDENCE OF DRINKING AND DRIVING

 

 

While all respondents said drinking and driving occurred in their communities, opinions varied as to both its incidence, and the incidence of driving over the legal limit.

 

In some localities respondents thought that the extent of drink-driving in their area was very high, based on their knowledge of the patronage of the various rugby and other sports clubs.This included over the limit drink-driving.One said:

 

††††††††††† "I think it occurs quite a good extent.From what I have observed because people don't worry too much... yeah I have seen them sort of weave out to their cars and away they go.[actual over the limit happens] oh again to a good extent....to be honest, I drink drive myself but hopefully not, yeah as I say, I try to restrict myself."

 

One respondent believed that it may be less for those living out in the country and travelling to and from town, but people living in town were still drink-driving to a large extent.Someone else in the same district believed that the male oriented cosmopolitan type clubs had improved somewhat, by encouraging people to have a designated driver, although some men were still driving themselves home.

 

Some respondents thought a lot of people did drink-drive, but were careful to stay under what they thought was the legal limit.On the other hand others thought the matter was less clear-cut and there was a lot of over the legal limit drinking and driving.A health professional stated that in her experience people tended to talk about who would drive, but not get around to making a decision before they had all been drinking anyway.She believed that whilst people knew there was a 'limit', they really did not know what it was, so although they were watching how much they drank, most of them would be still driving home over the limit.

 

Police also varied in their perception of the level of drinking and driving.In larger towns where they had the staff numbers to run checkpoints and CBT it was perceived to have decreased.In other locations the picture was less clear.In one location, the police officer interviewed stated that the extent of drink-driving was still fairly high, but that the alcohol levels had dropped considerably for those apprehended.In another community a police officer stated that whilst in general there was less drink-driving, over-the-limit drink-driving appeared to be on the increase again, based on what was going through the courts.Most offenders were male, under 40 although there were a few females too. In yet another township, the police officer said that not many people were being apprehended for drink-driving, which he thought surprising, as he believed people to have been more responsible about drink-driving a few years ago than they were now.The level of enforcement activity by police is likely to have some influence on perception of the incidence of drinking and driving.

 

There was a perception amongst respondents in the ten communities that young men in their late teens to 25 years of age were the ones most at risk of having a crash because of the large quantities of alcohol they drank and then driving at a dangerous speed.Many respondents believed that drink-driving was also quite extensive amongst men in their forties and older.A number believed that this group, although over the limit, knew from numerous past experiences that they could get away with it if they drove carefully at a slower speed.They were better at hiding the fact they had been drinking.One respondent believed this was why members of this group had not been picked up by the police as much as younger people.

 

††††††††††† "With the young ones, because they drink fast and they are young, they go out and do mad things and they get caught for various bad behavioural activities, so we always look at them and say it's them that do all the drinking."

 

Several respondents in a range of roles shared a belief that there was a hard core of drink drivers which could not be reached to change their behaviour.

 

††††††††††† "I am sure that there are some people who never take any notice of anything like that, including what the legal limit is, and if you test their blood, they'll be up in the hundreds."

 

††††††††††† "The 'committed' drink-driving person who will never change, who has been doing it for years, and he has never had an accident. And that's more by good luck than by any form of good management."

 

††††††††††† "People are always aware when they drink they shouldn't drive and there's only a certain amount of alcohol intake that you take before you actually stop driving but people think 'oh well, I've got this far and oh yes, I can see straight and yes I will get in the car and drive it.'Basically it's just an attitude thing.Sometimes too... I sometimes think that men think too 'to hell with it, you know, I drove myself here, I'll drive myself home.And sometimes it's the aggressive thing - you're not telling me what to do."

 

††††††††††† "I live up a side road so I know that a lot of drink driving goes on because when I go out early in the morning to shift stock I find empty bottles over my fence and squashed up cans on the side of the road and people think'Oh I'll get up the side road and have a good...' I think that's a particular group of people... Go and drive up and stand-up beside it and drink for the sake of drinking...they are the ones who would be the problem because they disregard all the rules anyway.They disregard the rules by chucking bottles over my fences so they would just as likely disregard road rules wouldn't they."

 

Although some respondents thought young men were at risk, there was also a perception among those interviewed that young people in their teens were more conscious of drink-driving.Some in this age group were reported as making other arrangements to driving, such as being dropped off and picked up, using designated drivers or walking rather than risk being involved in drinking and driving.Young people were perceived by some to be much better informed about what the 'limit' actually was, because they had learnt about it as part of their driving licence.It was thought as a consequence many were a lot more responsible than their parents.

 

††††††††††† "They will remind their parents, they will say, once they have got their full licence, 'this is good, when we go out, I can be the non-drinking driver - this means I'll be able to get you home'."

 

Some respondents also thought older people were drinking and driving because they have not been exposed to the education programmes that young people have and therefore did not have the same awareness of drink-driving limits or legislation.


Women were reported as drinking and driving and being picked up for being over the limit but most respondents considered that women were likely to feature less in drinking and driving statistics than men.

 

††††††††††† Well you only need to look at the paper to see who's been prosecuted.[Interviewer: That's males?] Yes.And I guess part of that comes from the last drink survey, the statistics are there, most of them are males."

 

In several locations respondents thought there had been a decline in drinking and driving based on their knowledge of incidents through their jobs or by observation.

 

††††††††††† "You could bet your bottom dollar for a while, every Christmas/New Year, you would have a fatal accident.And also injuries, but that hasn't happened over the last few years, so whether people are, you know, as you say, becoming more conscious of it."

 

Several respondents had observed an increase in carparks outside licensed premises having cars left until the next day.

 

††††††††† Under reporting of drinking and driving incidents

 

Under reporting of drinking and driving related incidents and crashes was noted by several respondents.In some areas this was thought to be a considerable number.Police and others spoke of finding cars without drivers which they considered sometimes indicated over the limit drinking and driving.

 

††††††††††† "We attend a lot of accidents here, where the cars are just left, and the occupants head for the hills."

 

††††††††††† "I know accidents can go unreported, and therefore people go non-breathalysed."

 

††††††††††† "Quite a lot of our drunk drivers don't actually get identified.The further out you get, the less likely you are, unless it's a major, or a serious, you won't have any involvement, they'll get the local farmer to get a tractor and pull their car back on the road."

 


EFFORTS TO REDUCE DRINKING AND DRIVING

 

 

Most respondents reported sometimes based on their personal experiences with friends that in recent years more people were choosing not to drink and drive and were making alternative arrangements.

 

††††††††††† "A lot more of our friends, where they would have driven before will actually get rides and leave their cars, and also probably they might be more of a responsible age where they are all in their 30 plus age group now where they've got children, wives and things...it could be a combination of tougher laws, family responsibilities.They're at a stage in life when they start thinking that life doesn't go on forever."

 

Respondents thought men relied on women to get them home.Wives and girlfriends picked men up from premises, or if they were out together, they were responsible for getting their husbands or boyfriends home.One reason given for why women did this was because the family could not afford to have the main breadwinner, usually male, lose his licence.A driving licence was seen as an essential part of being able to work in rural areas.Although men might take their turn at being the designated driver when a couple was out for a regular evening, if it was a special occasion, men usually drank more, and women drove. These respondents believed that for under 25s in a similar situation, males were more likely to be drinking and driving.The reason given was the macho behaviour of the males of this age group although some thought this occurred across all age groups.

 

††††††††††† "Men drive even when they've got a female in the car who hasn't been drinking.There's still this macho image, it's their car, they're going to drive."

 

However one respondent compared this attitude to what happened as he and other men got older.

 

††††††††††† "We probably get a bit older, a bit wiser and a little bit more responsible. And therefore we rely on our wives to keep us out of the car."

 

Some respondents believed that women stopped or reduced their drinking in conjunction with child-bearing and rearing.This was another reason why women were less likely to drink-drive, and were often the 'designated driver'.Some respondents said that amongst their own circles, there had been some change over the last few years, with couples sharing the responsibility more.

 

††††††††††† "There is a much greater number of couples, I've noticed, who say, 'your turn to drive tonight' and take it in turns to drive home if they are out together."

 

Respondents also reported on a range of other initiatives to reduce drinking and driving.These included implementation of host responsibility related measures in licensed premises, and other activities such as police enforcement and community action.

 

For example in one location sports clubs were being encouraged to formulate and adopt a Host Responsibility Charter and to put it in on the walls in the clubrooms.One sports club had a free non-alcoholic drinks scheme in place for designated drivers, had a restaurant,and no longer had beer in the changing rooms, non-alcoholic beverages being provided instead.

 

The use of alternative transportation in the form of courtesy buses and vans wasoccurring in several communities.

 

††††††††††† "When people have parties, say a set thing at a pub somewhere or at the tennis club or the gentlemen's club, they actually have buses that take people home now, or the rugby club do.That's another big change because that's a place where they would go and drink and just go home willy nilly.But now the rugby club, you know, touch rugby night and socials at the end of the year, they always advertise and say right we'll put on a mini bus and...it will take you home anytime of the night.I mean that's really responsible from the club's point of view because alcohol's a big revenue for people like that."

 

††††††††††† "Now [the town] hotel just in the last six months have put on a courtesy bus and they came in to - sometimes if enough people rung up and take them out to the pub and return them to their houses so that there are no cars on the roads from there."

 

In one location there had been a police drink-driving campaign, with assistance from Land Transport Safety Authority funding.In another location there was considerable on-going effort being put into reducing drink-driving by the means of a long-term CAAPs scheme with a wide range of community input from the police, district licensing agency, road safety co-ordinator, Victim Support, Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) and the local Community Health section of the health authority.

 

In one district, 14-19 year olds were targeted by a project that was part of a Land Transport (Safety Administration Project.This was because statistics were showing this group as being a predominant risk group in alcohol-related crashes.

 

The last drink survey, which was used to identify the last place of drinking by drink drive offenders, was mentioned in several locations as a useful mechanism to find which licensed premises could regularly be contributing to over the limit drinking and driving through their serving practices.


FACTORS PERCEIVED TO CONTRIBUTE TO DRINK-DRIVING AND RELATED CRASHES

 

 

A range of factors were mentioned as contributing to drinking and driving in rural areas.Some of these are likely to be common to both urban and rural communities, such as some attitudes towards drinking and driving and others are likely to be more specific to rural communities.Some are features of particular communities because of, for example, the geography of the particular area.

 

 

Attitudes towards and beliefs about drinking and driving

 

A broad range of opinions were expressed on people's attitudes and beliefs, both to drinking and driving themselves and towards others who drove after drinking.These attitudes and beliefs were thought to make it either more likely or less likely that someone would drive after drinking or when they were over the legal limit.In general, respondents believed many people living in their communities, even if concerned, accepted drinking and driving as a fact of life, particularly because living in rural areas meant there was a heavy reliance on travelling by private vehicles.

 

However respondents also noted there was a range of attitudes and beliefs which also contributed to people drinking and driving.Some respondents thought there was longheld tolerance of drinking and driving.

 

††††††††††† "A lot of people you know, they have grown up with drinking and driving in their rural areas, a lot of them.I know my brother-in-law stuck his car down a bank a couple of months ago, and he's like, late thirties...He just thought nothing of it.He wasn't very popular at home but I mean, he's grown up with it you know?And that wasn't in a pub, just from one farm to another.I mean it is just ingrained."

 

Some thought drunk drivers were accepted as:

 

††††††††††† "Someone who's okay, a bit silly...that 'if you can get away with it without getting caught, good luck to you'."

 

This tolerance seemed to be motivated partly because people saw themselves in similar situations.One respondent stated that from his observations, people would make a public complaint about dangerous driving, but not about seeing someone leaving a club blind drunk and driving home,the general attitude being:

 

††††††††††† "There but for the grace of God, go I."

 

Others made similar comments.

 

††††††††††† "The archetypal [locationX] male regards it as something that could happen to anyone, and you're caught, it's like a war wound. They rib them a bit about it...but I am not sure how serious it is.Certainly, it's not that there are very many drink driving people caught around here. In the group that I mix with, my impression is that they certainly don't easily forget that they were caught" [Interviewer: Does that extend to their friends?] "I think many of them think, there but for the grace of God, go I."

 

Some respondents believed that some people in the community had double standards about drink-driving, in that they did not condone drink-driving, and thought that enforcement of the law was a good thing, but at the same time would sympathise with people who got caught.A health professional said that people said "tut, tut, tut", at drink-driving incident, and were keen to know all the details, but did not change their own behaviour.This respondent believed that different attitudes operated for different ages.

 

††††††††††† "If they're young people that are getting picked up, I think the community can be quite harsh on them really, 'Oh, you're a bit of a fool, you should have known better, you were asking for it'. Those sorts of attitudes, but it doesn't seem to be taken so seriously amongst the older age group, I'm talking about 25 plus."

 

Respondents thought there were perceptions amongst locals that alcohol-related crashes would not happen to them.

 

††††††††††† "It won't happen to me... it's still that, it won't happen to me"

 

There was some perception that it was outsiders such as tourists and holiday makers travelling through their districts, who had the serious crashes partly because of lack of familiarity with the roads.A police officer was surprised, on checking the figures, to find that approximately two-thirds of the people involved in fatal accidents had been locals and alcohol was a contributing factor in just over half of those crashes.

 

Several respondents commented local expectations were that crashes would be minor.Even if they were to have a crash, all that would happen was that they would take out a fence with no injuries.

 

Respondents thought that concern around drinking and driving focused on the risk of getting caught by police rather than on the risk of being injured or killed.In general it seemed from their comments that there was often a pragmatic attitude taken towards drinking and driving - if there was a perceived high risk of getting caught, people reduced driving after drinking.When that threat was perceived as less likely, people tended to take the chance to drive.Some respondents thought people did not think about drinking and driving except when they saw the police undertaking a road block.Several respondents commented that the police CBT campaign had initially lead to a reduction in drinking and driving but people had returned to their previous behaviour when it was perceived they were unlikely to be stopped.

 

Police were well aware their policing activities were observed by locals who adjusted their driving behaviour accordingly.

 

††††††††††† "The locals are aware of that too.Even though its profile lifted, and whenever they saw my car out and about by night, they all left their cars in the car-parks, and the courtesy vans and the taxis were out and about with extra pick-ups, they realise that I'm not everywhere, and they just keep an eye on me. That's the way it is in a small place."

 

Some respondents said the threat ofand fear of licence loss or a fine was of more concern than the possibility of having a crash.This included the effect on employment due to loss of licence.

 

††††††††††† "It's a real privilege to have a licence now, more so than it used to be, because it's so vital from a job point of view."

 

Another said if someone was caught drink-driving the only concern people had was about insurance.

 

††††††††††† "Did you get breathalised...because if you got breathalised, and it's over the limit, you've done your insurance, you know. So the concern is the monetary thing, the loss."

 

There were others who just did not think about drink-driving at all.One respondent believed drink-driving was not topical because names of convicted local drink-drivers were not being published in the local free newspaper, or regional newspaper.

 

In some locations, high unemployment, having no future, and consequent lack of self-esteem were perceived to contribute to less concern about drinking and driving.One respondent's comments were based on observations made when taking blood tests at the police station. The people being blood-tested were usually from a low socio-economic group.This respondent felt that it was not surprising that this group were less concerned.

 

††††††††††† "They seem to be less concerned, I think. It's just their concern generally, about society, about themselves, and some of them, of course, you can hardly blame them, because what have they got in life? I mean, they haven't got anything, and they are poorly motivated, and they are on the dole - it's a consequence of their situation, often. So I don't want to condemn anybody, or anything like that, I'm just looking at what's happening and why."

 

Respondents' comments also indicated they perceived attitudes towards those who drank and drove included condemnation.

 

††††††††††† "I have got quite a few friends who are in the fire brigade, and having to attend to car accidents where there's been drinking involved, that makes them really angry.I think people are a lot more angry about those sorts of things than they used to be."

 

††††††††††† "Generally, I think they look upon it as an evil, that it really is a no no now.And they don't really tolerate it, or don't want to tolerate it."

 

††††††††††† "Five or ten years ago, a comment would be passed when Joe Bloggs or whoever was apprehended, 'Oh, he was dammed unlucky to be caught', whereas now we frequently hear comments like, 'good job - he's being doing it for so bloody long, it's about time he got caught'. You know, so there has been a definite change in the attitude of the public."

 

One police officer believed that there was a change in attitude occurring as people were beginning to telephone the station and report people who had been drinking and were driving.Nevertheless he did not think that local people saw drink-driving as being of major concern, there being other issues that they thought were more important, such as family violence, and property crime (in areas with unoccupied baches).

 

In those locations where something had occurred to sharpen focus on the issue, respondents believed that there was greater concern within the community about drinking and driving.Alcohol-related traffic crashes in which local residents were killed or injured were traumatic events which significantly raised its profile.


One respondent mentioned a crash where a local

 

††††††††††† "...drove himself into a post and killed himself...and it affected the whole of the club that he was associated with.I think it probably made them pull their socks up a bit because it's a small community, I guess people know that it happens and it's more visible in a small community.It's more personal."

 

One respondent who was a school teacher believed drink driving was an issue with local school pupils due to knowledge of serious crashes that young people from the school had been in.

 

††††††††††† "The kids' attitude basically is that they don't think that it's right to drink and drive.[How long do you feel that attitude has been amongst the school pupils?]I think it's growing and it's getting stronger.One girl, for example, was involved in an accident... she'd been on a motorbike, I think with her boyfriend and he'd been drinking and driving.And she was made into a paraplegic.She came into the school and spoke to the kids and that had quite an impact on the kids."

 

However others though there was a division in attitudes and behaviour towards drinking and driving in this age group.

 

††††††††††† "It's like there's two sectors in the community.There's those that are responsible and will always have a non-drinking driver, and then there's another group of at risk behaviours in a lot of areas, not just drink driving.Like if I work with a group of young people, there's often quite a clear division.There's those that don't care, or don't appear to care, and then there's those that are quite responsible, 'I don't drink and drive' or 'I don't drink at all."

 

††††††††††† "If you talk to the reasonably, oh how shall I put it, the kids who are reasonably intelligent and want to do well and are reasonably academic at school and so on, you will hear them make comments like they always use designated drivers and I am talking here about the SAAD students down at the College and so on and they are very responsible.And most kids, it's not so much that they don't want to drink and drive, but it's the fear of the enforcement and what the Police are going to do when they actually catch them.None of them want to have no licence, it's a big fear.And it's fear that motivates them, let's not drink and drive, rather than "Gosh I could kill somebody" for a lot of them.And then you get the other side of the coin, the access type courses and things I have been into, where the school system has failed a lot of these kids.They have this really blasť attitude about it, they couldn't care, if they need to go somewhere, and they have to go, what are they supposed to do, walk?And that's their attitude."

 

Fatal crashes were thought to bring about changes in drinking and driving for those close to the victims and the drink-driver.For the rest of the community, the effects were believed to be short-term, with people eventually drifting back to their previous behaviour.

 

††††††††††† "A week.A week, fortnight at the most: we're never going to drink again.But with families that have actually had a victim, that takes them a long time."

 

††††††††††† "When a local is killed... a motor accident where drink has been involved, or not, that really drives it home.But unfortunately it's just for a short time."

 

Several respondents thought the absence of such crashes for some years in their localities was a reason for a more blasť attitude towards drinking and driving.

 

 

Driving to participate in leisure activities involving alcohol

 

Driving to socialise at leisure activities involving alcohol frequently meant travelling on the open 100 kilometre road at some stage, even for short distances.This could be from farms into town, from town to town, between towns and cities and between venues in the one vicinity.Respondents mentioned a number of elements associated with travelling.

 

People living in outlying settlements or working on farms, fishing, forestry, and quarrying, travelled into the main township to socialise with friends and other people.

 

As one respondent said:

 

††††††††††† "Because if you are in a farming community, you probably are fairly isolated, you could well be isolated from your neighbours as well.They might not be the people you want to drink with anyway...I know a lot ofyoung farm workers do come in and get off the farm and yes, they do have a need to socialise.I guess their access to their booze too, they have to come into town to get it. They don't have liquor outlets in the middle of nowhere."

 

Many young farmers or farm workers living out on farms were also involved in sports and used their car to get to practices and games at the sports club.

 

Some respondents said that commuting from one township to another for work was common in the Waikato.As well, some people lived in town, but worked in the rural surrounds, and vice versa.People living in smaller townships close to larger centres, usually separated by a few kilometres of 100 kilometre zone road, or who lived in small settlements with little variety in drinking venues, also travelled to other townships for variety in drinking venues.In some locations, winding and hilly roads were considered to restrict long-distance travelling, so that people would travel into the closest main township to drink, but would not usually consider travelling to another main township just for variety.

 

Drinking and driving within a certain short distance was sometimes mentioned as being accepted.One respondent explained that there was a 'line', about 5 kilometres out from town, which locals perceived that it was alright to drink drive within.The open road zone began immediately as one left the built up area, so there was potential for considerable travel in a 100 kilometre zone within this 'line'.Beyond that 5 km 'line', people might get someone to pick them up, or make some alternative arrangement.

 

The lack of local entertainment options meant that people either went to local venues where alcohol was served in order to socialise, and for organised entertainment such as bands, or travelled to other townships or cities for entertainment.Where access to a city was easy in terms of a combination of reasonable distance (within an hour) and good straight roads, travelling to a city for entertainment and wining and dining was frequently mentioned for young people, and for middle-aged people.This was common in the flat or rolling inland areas of the Waikato and Hauraki plains.Respondents explained thatyounger people might start out at a sports club, go into town to apub, or a bar-restaurant, and from there go to a city.Some younger people avoided driving back while under the influence of alcohol by arranging to stay the night at friends' flats, while other young people returned home in the early morning hours.

 

As well as travelling to cities, beaches were reasonably accessible from some locations, being only 45 minutes to one and a half hours away.Aside from the mass exodus to beaches to stay for the Christmas holiday period, it was common for young people to drive to a beach and then back home for something to do.It was mentioned that parents only found out when something went wrong (e.g. a crash) that their teenagers had left the local area.

 

In some locations, there were sports clubs with bar facilities out of town.Young people went to the outlying clubs, so there was considerable travel occurring in the 100 kilometre zone as they returned from such clubs to town, or home, or travelled between these outlying clubs.

 

A senior student at college describedyounger people's typical activities moving between drinking venues.

 

††††††††††† "People go to parties, and say earlier, or towards the end of the evening, come into town, and perhaps go to one of the pubs or bars, or something. Or the other way, start in town and move out to where the parties are, in the country perhaps."

 

As well, a lot of younger people, mostly under 20, came into town late in the evening after parties to get food, or to stay with friends.

 

 

Reliance on private vehicles

 

Access to public transport other than private vehicles was very limited with the exception of Intercity buses and limited taxi services in some locations.This was seen by respondents as a major lack in comparison to the situation for city residents who had access to regular taxi or bus and train services.Driving anywhere usually meant by private car or other vehicle.

 

††††††††††† Everyone knows it's a dumb thing to do, and that it's dangerous, and it's stupid, but when you're at a party, 20K out of town, and you've got no way of getting back into town, and you need your car the next morning - so people drive."

 

Comment was made about the realities of living in rural communities, especially for young people.

 

††††††††††† "I have mixed feelings about the issue of drink-driving.If you think about it, it's almost giving it a mixed message.Because they're saying, 'Don't drink and drive'. but 'you can drink this much before you're not allowed to drive.'†† So it's very much a mixed message.But then being a person in the rural community, I understand how difficult it is.And it's much harder for younger people.They'll go to a party, they won't plan, they won't leave their car, or even if they haven't got a car, they will get in a car with somebody who's drunk so that they get home.Because of the distances they will travel for entertainment, because there's not a lot happening for them, they're late teens, theoretically they're not supposed to be in hotels.There's not a lot happening for them, so they party up and they drink and then they drive."


Having access to cars was mentioned as a significant element in rural adolescent life by several respondents and one which had increased since their teenage years.

 

††††††††††† "And see, driving at fifteen, a lot of them get Mum and Dad's car, and away they go, well, they end up in Waihi, they end up in Thames, Hamilton.You know, where we as young people had a bike or our legs as the saying goes.And we stayed in our local community but now people have been rung up at night to say:your child's been in an accident in -.No, my child's not in -, my child's at a party, say out here in -.But they're not; they've got sick of that and decide:ooh, we'll go and have a bit of fun and off they go.It's the transport at that young age."

 

††††††††††† "As you go home, go past the college and just see how many cars are at the college.And not cheap cars.And those children, nine out of ten of them could come on the bus to school...or walk or bike.I mean, it's not far.We used to walk miles to school and think nothing of it.But they don't now."

 

††††††††††† "They get paid, the farm kids, and we've got - oh I don't know what percentage - a lot of them.They work hard for their money and they get money, and a lot of them, that's what it goes towards and they write about it in their journals - they get their car... a particular type of car.A bright pink Morris Minor is not sort of cruising, sort of babe mobile sort of stuff, and be able to take your mates places, take them home."

 

Mention in most locations was made of designated drivers being used by teenagers.Some comment was made in relation to other options for this age group, including being picked up by parents.During high school health education classes, a health professional raised the issue of getting parents to pick up teenagers at night.

 

††††††††††† Yesterday we were talking about this and I said - cos my kids are in their twenties now - when my youngest girl used to go to parties she used to ring me up any time of the day.'My God' they said didn't you get angry?I said 'Well she's safe'.They said 'Oh yeah'."

 

At another college some students had told their teacher about their parents' reactions on being rung up in the middle of the night.

 

††††††††††† "You ring up and you're going to get an earful.'Well what were you drink driving for?Who's been drinking?Where did you get it from?Do you know it's bloody 3 in the morning?'The nagging the raving, and all the next day, 'I'm bloody tired because I had to get out of bed'."

 

Private vehicles were used throughout communities by other drinkers as well.A number of reasons were given for taking cars to drinking venues, including that it was easy parking in small towns. Another reason was that people preferred to take the car in case they decided to go on to somewhere else, or that people needed to get the car home rather than leave it overnight because it was needed the next day.Another problem raised in some locations was concern about lack of car security if one did leave the car overnight.Vandalism, tyre theft, and car conversion were the expected results.

 


Lack of and difficulties with alternative transport options

 

Respondents stated that there was no likelihood of there ever being a comprehensive public transport service in their communities because the population base was too small.In spite of this, many respondents mentioned use of alternative transport but noted there was some difficulties with it.

 

Although taxis were available in a small number of locations, in others there was either no taxi service, or no service that ran late at night.In one location, a respondent said it wasn't financially viable for the taxi service to run really late, as only a few people would request it.Even if the taxi was available to take people out into rural areas, the price was seen as prohibitive.Often the only way of getting home after drinking was to drive the car.

 

In one subsidiary town (several kilometres from town centre), a courier service had been set upas a local business venture to ferry people between the two places.The subsidiary town was not large enough to provide enough business, and the venture folded, so people used their own vehicles again.

 

††† Courtesy Vans

 

Some licensed venues were providing courtesy vans in the communities.In one location, a courtesy van service had been begun recently by one club, but available to anyone who wanted to use the service.At $2 per ride, and going out to at least 5 kilometres past the town boundaries, it was seen as being very good value by a respondent who was making use of it.However, there was only one courtesy van to serve the entire local population.In another location, a courtesy van had been tried by a club, but was discontinued due to lack of patronage.In yet another location, a courtesy van service which went to the limits of the built-up area, was being used by the pub and clubs, and had started running extra vans to cope with the demand.The fee was $2 a ride.††

 

Some publicans with vans ran patrons home, as long as they were ones which the publican considered to be 'well behaved'.One publican explained that by the time he closed up, he had been working for many hours, and was past wanting to put up with bad behaviour.Another publican did his best to get people home, despite their behaviour.

 

††††††††††† "And you know, some of them are arseholes too and you've got to put up with them, you know.You know, if I throw someone out of here, I can't just throw him out on the street...so sometimes I've got to throw them out and actually drive them home, you know.And a couple of months ago I stopped about three times, threatened to throw him out and what not, but I got him home in the end, but it wasn't the nicest of jobs to take him home... he basically abused me the whole way home and that was about 20 kilometres."

 

It was noted that although buses were used to transport spectators to sports events such as horse races and rugby matches, passengers then got in their cars and drove the rest of the way home.In another location similar concern was expressed when some patrons left their cars parked outside an earlier closing establishment, and then drove home from there, after being dropped off by a later closing establishment's van or bus.

 

††† Designated Drivers

 

Many respondents mentioned there was more use of designated drivers in their communities, where one person did not drink and would be the driver for the others who were drinking.Some mention was made of problems with using designated drivers.One was that because people were spread out over a big radius, there could be a number of people leaving one premise, but they were unable to share transport because they were going home in different directions.

 

Lack of planning about how to get home was mentioned by several respondents as a factor which could mean the lifesaver or designated driver idea did not always work so well.Some observed that sometimes couples or groups had started drinking before they decided who would drive home. Alternatively people would plan to only have, for example two drinks, but would then meet friends and continue drinking, leading to the likelihood of driving over the limit.

 

Another problem mentioned was that even when a designated driver had been chosen,and that person stuck to the plan, the drinker became difficult by the end of the evening and insisted on driving anyway.

 

††††††††††† "You have a few drinks and you're twelve foot tall and about six foot wide, you know, 'take me on'."

 

††††††††††† "They try and take the keys off them and have big arguments and even have punch ups but it's all because of the drink driving thing.One particularly bad case we had here, two guys, one drank, the other did not drink. The one that was not drinking was the guy that was driving.They left the premises and went around the corner, had a bit of an argument.They changed driver and I don't need to say what happened sort of 3 Ks down the road off the road.And the drunk was driving but the other guy perfectly sober sitting right beside him.What more can you do?"

 

Police spoke ofbooking people who had a sober passenger who had intended to drive.

 

Yet another concern mentioned (especially in relation to younger people), was that while the designated driver might be sober, there could be a large number of passengers resulting in an overloaded car and a lack of enough seat belts.Furthermore if the passengers were drunk and unruly, they could distract the driver, which could lead to a crash.Two respondents related the following story.

 

††††††††††† "What worries me sometimes is the driver's okay but if he's got drunk passengers, they can, like that boy that died out there from head injuries...He was a passenger.And he hadn't been used to drinking, I would say, and he had been drinking that night and he opened the door, didn't he?And then took his seat belt off."

 

††††††††††† "It was more the young chap behind who they'd stopped for once, because he vomited and the driver heard him.The driver hadn't drunk that night.They'd decided before they left that one person wasn't going to drink.And he sort of took his eye off the road, I think, because of distractions going on."

 

††††††††††† "No, they had taken them [seatbelts] off.Yeah, the driver didn't, but the others had taken them off when the guy got sick and hadn't put them back on again.Because when they had the accident, he got flung out on the road and he lived for 12 months after and was almost a vegetable, you know.It's that sort of thing... And if it's a teenage driver, how's he going to cope with that?"

 


Lack of police enforcement resources

 

Almost all respondents mentioned the activities of police undertaking checkpoints and other enforcement measures were significant in reducing drinking and driving related crashes.Many noted the effects of enforcement.

 

Some commented that people reduced drinking and driving when CBT was initially promoted by police but the effect had diminished.

 

††††††††††† When CBT first came in, it had a dramatic effect.That's worn off.People have returned to their original habits.It's just the whole campaign, when it first came in, they were told that the police could breath test anyone anywhere, anytime.There was quite a dramatic drop off in the hotels for about six weeks.People were really concerned.They were really aware they could get pulled up, and that's worn off.So people have returned to their previous habits.

 

In larger townships (6,000-9,999) which had more police officers, police believed that there was less of a problem with drinking and driving because of more enforcement using CBT and blitzes.Some police said they were able to do some education and carry out some drink-driving campaigns but that their resources for such activities were limited.

 

However most said police resources in rural areas were inadequate to be as effective as enforcement personnel could be in larger population centres.A number of specific factors affecting rural policing were mentioned.

 

††† Hours of policing

 

Respondents in most locations said there was very little chance of getting caught drink driving at any time, and that in particular there was no policing after 1am unless the police were called out.Because people knew there was little likelihood of being caught, they took the risk of drink-driving.

 

††††††††††† "In the city... a lot of people don't do it because they know there's a reasonable chance they are going to get caught.Basically in a rural town... a lot of the police stations, they are basically closed after a certain time... so if you are driving around at 3.00 a.m. in the morning... unless they have been called here for some reason they are not actually here... it feels like a safe, it's very wide sort of town streets and flat roads and you think oh yeah, there's no problem I can drink around here, there's no traffic."

 

Police officers explained:

 

††††††††††† "There's probably a lot we're not catching...because I finish at 1am, there's that older generation who say, 'oh well, we'll go just wait till 1am, they'll be finished, and then we'll go home'."

 

††††††††††† "The locals are well aware of what our rosters are.All they need to do is drive past the police station and see it in darkness, and they know we're finished for the evening."

 

One police officer commented that because they did not have an evidential breath tester, they had to get a local doctor (often out of bed) to take blood.This was causing friction with local GPs, as well as being time-consuming in terms of processing a drunk driver.He was also concerned that this very real lack of equipment was contrary to what was being portrayed in campaigns against drink-driving.

 

One police officer in a small township explained how he and his colleagues managed to cover two out of three Saturday nights in order to undertake breath testing.

 

††††††††††† "To cover a Saturday, we might work 3 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon, and then 3 hours after tea, and scatter that between watching a TV programme or doing what you can with your family so that we police the town as much as we can. Because there's only one of us working at atime."

 

††† Well-known in the community

 

Some thought that because the police, were part of small community and well known, it could make it less easy for them to enforce the law on drinking and driving.

 

††††††††††† I'm sure that professionally the police would respond, I'd like to think they'd respond, if they found one of their friends that they thought shouldn't be driving and things....that's what I hope they would do.But definitely every one in town knows one or two of the policemen on speaking terms and first names and everything.Which sometimes could be quite a conflict for them, the people they might be stopping.Sometimes things might be dealt with, well definitely in the old days dealt with more with warnings and things."

 

††††††††††† "They know the people in the community, and I'm sorry it does have an effect...I wouldn't like to guess how many people get, 'get off the road, get out of my sight and off the road'...there's no threat there."

 

Some respondents thought that sometimes their local police were inconsistent in their dealings with people stopped for suspected drink-driving.These respondents said that for the same offence (driving drunk) some people were let go, whilst others were booked.Respondents talked about incidents they had heard of.These seemed to be both on an age basis, with the young more likely to be booked and older drivers let go, and on a hierarchical basis with community leaders let go.When this situation occurred, news travelled.

 

††††††††††† "We all know what's happening in the community because people talk, and because that happens...'if so-and-so is going to get away with it, I'll get away with it."

 

On the other hand others believed their local police were diligent in picking up any person.

 

††††††††††† "But I would be very confident in saying that [not acting because of friendship] does not occur here because I have known people who have been really friends in other activities with the [police] at their off duty times who have been picked up with no hesitation... they are very diligent... I believe on occasion they have sort of really waited for somebody who they know perhaps could be a danger."


††† Avoidance of checkpoints

 

Several people interviewed noted a problem with checkpoints in some locations, was that they were fairly easily avoided by taking alternate roads, even if it was a considerably longer journey home.

 

††††††††††† "They'll drive north half way to (about 15ks) and come back down, just to avoid, and probably become more of a hazard because they are driving in unfamiliar territory, whereas we are blocking the familiar territory."

 

††††††††††† "The ones who are drinking and driving a lot do tend to take the long way home."†† Oh they know the roads.They've got the alternatives, they know where to go."

 

††††††††††† "People have got planned routes home which are not the usual routes, they've got the routes planned...even in town.You know, I got up to - with one of the guys in the rugby club.I lived over here.We went out and went up from the rugby club, out that way, and I said, why do you go this way?, and he says, 'well...the police aren't going to pick me up coming out of - street.If I come out there he's probably going to pick me up because I'd probably been at the football club."

 

The network of roading particularly in the Waikato and Hauraki Plains area meant it was thought most unlikely to come across police on these roads.

 

††††††††††† "You can travel round any back road...and you never see a traffic officer or a police car anywhere in the rural areas. So I think a lot of people have the idea that they are fairly safe, they can go out to these rural pubs, like - and so on, and drink whatever, and drive home and they feel pretty safe that they are not going to get caught.And there's a lot of back roads into Hamilton too, which the young ones will say to you, 'Oh we don't come down the main road,we go down the back road'...they're in fairly good condition."

 

††† Local bush telegraph

 

The local 'bush telegraph' was commented on by many respondents including police.When a checkpoint was set-up, people telephoned the drinking establishments and warned everyone who then made other arrangements to get home for that night.This could again involve driving a longer route home.

 

††††††††††† "You know, once you've set up a checkpoint, you only have to be there ten minutes and the hotels know.Phones ring and you know, fifteen minutes is long enough and you have to shift somewhere else cause it's a waste of time... because of the bush telegraph."

 

††††††††††† "They know where we are, and they know when we're out there!If we set up a checkpoint, effectively, they just don't come down through it."

 

††† Traffic-Police Merger

 

Some police officers andsome other respondents commented on the effects of the police-traffic merger on rural areas.Most of these respondents did not see the merger as being a success, commenting that there were less staffavailable for traffic work, less ability to pool resources for a campaign, and more paper work.

 

††††††††††† "...at the moment I am still basically doing traffic work but in the police system I have to put a report administered with every ticket... and that has to be typed, whereas before I would just give it to my boss to look at the charge, read the summary of fact. [It would] go straight through.We don't have a full time staff member here I have to do it myself.And the police really have only taken out what they really want to take out of road safety and that is alcohol and speed but there is more to road safety than that."

 

Some respondents believed there was a tendency for general police work to take precedence over traffic work and police officers were not out on the road in the way that traffic officers had been prior to the merger.

 

††††††††††† "The perception we get from the police is the number of drunk driver cases are down a lot... The police will tell you unofficially it's because they are not on the roads as often as they were... They will tell you off the record that's why ,they're tied up with paperwork, they're tied up with other things and it doesn't have the same practical priority we would say, as when we had two separate units...".I'd love to know the hours they spend on drink driving now compared to what they used to.And I'd be surprised if it was the same."

 

††††††††††† "We basically don't have the staff... to do the check points now because of the merger.Because...prior to the merger, like under the MOT, we had a wide area to cover but we could go in and saturate that area.But now what we have in it is we have boundaries.And under the police you don't go over your boundary.And then you have the break down again, where you have to want to do the job before the job can be done efficiently and it's not being done.[Interviewer: Is that because some people within the force don't perceive it as being part of their work load?]Correct."

 

Others believed that there was more enforcement now because police could do what was once traffic officers' work only.One respondent spoke ofhow, despite the merger, he still thought of various police officers as being either the "traffic officer", or the "police officer".He believed that despite the merger, it was more likely to be the ex-traffic officer that would pull you up.In one location, there was concern that awareness regarding drink-driving had slipped since the merger, with people taking the risk of drink-driving again.Some respondents said that the police flying squad, whilst promoted on national television, either did not come to their local area, or was infrequent and people reverted to their previous drinking and driving behaviour when it had left.

 

One particular difference between pre-merger and post-merger traffic work mentioned by respondents was that traffic officers had followed a policy of being proactive in their work.They hadendeavoured to deter drinking and driving to prevent before driving ended in for example an alcohol-related crash.This could involve being directly outside licensed premises, for example, to deter those over the limit from driving in the first place.Following the merger, some respondents felt that the work now being carried out was reactive instead, catching people once they were already drink-driving.However, others mentioned that police tried to be proactive by for example, driving an intoxicated person home before they got in the car,rather than being reactive, by catching people once they were driving.

 


Combination of alcohol and other factors

 

Respondents raised a number of factors which they believed could contribute to a crash without alcohol being involved, but if a driver had been drinking, the combination of these factors with alcohol use could increase the likelihood of a crash and affect the severity of its outcome.The main factors were the type of road, weather conditions, speed, condition of cars, tiredness, local expectations about driving in rural areas and delay in reporting of crashes.

 

 

††† Type of road

 

Changes in type of road such as flat and straight to winding and changes in road surfaces, such as tarseal to metal required drivers to make adjustments in their driving.Good control was needed on metal roads even when doing 40 to 50 kilometres per hour, although it was considered less likely to have a serious crash when doing this speed.

 

††††††††††† "I know a couple of guys who have had an accident on the way home but that's because they've just lost it on the metal and they've just walked away from it each time, got the tractor, pulled themselves out. But they weren't going fast.

 

Very high speeds could be achieved on straight roads, some of which could be very narrow, with deep drains on both sides, increasing the hazard if a driver lost control.Where roads were winding, respondents thought that people drove more slowly, and that crashes tended to be minor.Some respondents in areas where the roads were winding, believed that road improvements planned for the future would lead to increases in traffic and speed, and thus more crashes.

 

††††††††††† "I think the fact that our roads are so windy, speed is not a great factor when accidents occur, so the injuries are relatively minor.I think if our roads were at all faster, we would have a lot more serious injury accidents."

 

Lack of lighting on all types of rural roads was seen as a contributing factor in crashes.Several respondents mentioned lack of lighting and footpaths increased risks for intoxicated pedestrians in rural areas.

 

††† Weather conditions

 

Weather conditions such as ice, fog, or rain were mentioned as factors contributing to crashes, particularly in inland regions.The combination of wet weather and roads made very slippery by oil from trucks were considered by some emergency services workers to be the worst conditions for travelling.

 

††† Condition of cars

 

Some respondents thought that people of lower socio-economic status were more likely to have older cars andthus were more likely to have a serious crash due to the cars not being road worthy.There was a difference of opinion as to what role late model cars contributed to the likelihood or severity of crashes.Some thoughtmodern cars' better braking and handling made them safer while others thought that the light, powerful cars were a factor in the speeds being driven, especially by young male drivers, and did not withstand crashes as well as more solid older cars.Overloading of cars was also mentioned as a factor contributing to crashes because of driver distraction.

 

††† Speed

 

Speed was seen as a factor in alcohol-related crashes, especially in areas where the roads were mostly straight. This could involve driving significantly faster than the speed limit of 100 kilometres, but could also be driving too fast for the conditions, even though within the speed limit.The sign-posting of 100 kilometre where roads were very winding, was seen to suggest to people that they could drive such roads at that speed.

 

††††††††††† "I don't know why they put that, it's crazy. Yeah, drive up the Thames coast - those 100s have only been up there a few years. And everybody says, 'why put it', because it's like you're encouraging people to drive as fast as the sign says...We asked at the time, why put it, and they said, 'Oh you know, that's open road speed so that's why you have to put it up.'It's silly."

 

In some locations the 100 kilometre zone started immediately upon leaving town, thus people travelling even a short distance to their home would drive part of the way in that zone.

 

††† Tiredness

 

Tiredness, and falling asleep at the wheel was mentioned by several respondents as a factor contributing to crashes.Respondents thought that people living in rural areas were more at risk of falling asleep due to driving long distances.The hours that some rural people worked was also thought to be a factor. For example, in dairying areas, people were up very early to do the milking.One respondent explained how they had nearly crashed just though tiredness.

 

††††††††††† "Yes, well even myself, not with drinking, but we used to go out when we were both young and had young children,and go out, you know, visit at night, and to try to keep awake when you're getting up at four o'clock in the morning, milking cows, is very very hard. You get a long straight road, and your concentration goes.I always remember one night, we both dropped off and the bump as the car hit the side, we were straight for a power pole."

 

An emergency services worker in one location said that there had been crashes in the early morning hours involving young people coming home from city night-clubs.These had occurred when they were nearly home.Along with alcohol this respondent believed that tiredness was a factor.

 

††† Local expectations about driving on rural roads

 

Some respondents said that some people believed knowing the road, especially if it was a back road, made drink-driving all right.One example of this attitude was a courtesy van taking farmers out to a rural "parking spot". From here they collected their cars and drove the rest of the way home down the back roads to their farms.

 

††††††††††† "They look at getting home...and they think,'we'll take the risk', and I think a lot of them do that by going perhaps back roads or whatever, roads that they may have travelled many times before, and they perhaps realise they are on the limit of, perhaps over the limit, but they think...you know the old kiwi attitude, 'she'll be right, I'll make it this time'."

 

Local rural people's expectations about the 'emptiness' of rural roads combined with familiarity and a tendency to perceive rural roads as being 'my road' were also factors contributing to crashes.

 

††††††††††† "I lived in the country before living in town (minor urban) and I never expected anybody else to be on my road, and so I would drive - and this is a narrow country road - I would drive in the middle of the road...if it's 11pm, I know that all the farmers are going to be asleep, and so I think there is a tendency to expect there to be no other traffic on the road, therefore you probably keep less to the left and you may go faster in cornering type situations, and that would be not drink-driving, but would be driving in rural areas.Now, if you combine that with slow reactions because of drinking, then that's potentially fatal."

 

††††††††††† "Country people tend to own country roads. So when you are driving on a country road, you actually have to look out for locals because they tend to forget there are two sides to the road and they are supposed to stick to one."

 

††††††††††† "He'd been to a party and really drank to excess... what did he do, came round a corner, there was a car.Didn't expect it at 2 o'clock in the morning or 3 o'clock... there it was.Over he went, that was it."

 

This included going through intersections because people were not expected to be on a side road.A combination of knowing the roads, and knowing the local patterns of travel, such as when forestry workers finished work, or when Federated Farmers or rugby clubs had meetings, was also thought to contribute to complacency, and consequently a crash.

 

††††††††††† "You have an idea of who's going where, when, and heaven help anybody who breaks the pattern."

 

††† Delay in reporting of crashes

 

The combinations of rural factors were seen to led to more serious consequences in the even of a crash than in urban areas.In relation to crashes, the time factor from having the crash, to it being reported and emergency services arriving, was likely to be an element in the seriousness of the outcome, shifting from injury to fatality in some cases. Some roads had very little traffic on them,and also a vehicle could be hidden from view.

 

††††††††††† "The classic one...he wound up in a drain, and no-one could see the car. And it wasn't until he managed to struggle out and flag down a vehicle...now you may be on a road that may not have a vehicle on it for some time. And that's what I mean by the initial time factor and the reporting of the accident. And the other is, getting to it.There's got to be a greater time factor for the fire brigade, the police and the ambulance, and so forth."

 


PERCEPTIONS OF STRATEGIES TO REDUCE DRINKING AND DRIVING AND ALCOHOL-RELATED CRASHES

 

Methodology

 

This section records the respondent's ideas and comments about strategies to reduce drinking and driving and alcohol-related traffic crashes in their communities.In the interviews respondents were first asked "what do you think would get the message across about not drink-driving?",and "what do you think are the best ways of reducing or preventing drink-driving in your area?".A wide range of suggestions were put forward, some mentioned by several respondents and others by one or two.These are outlined in Table Two.The four most frequently mentioned ones were host responsibility, education, enforcement of drinking and driving legislation and provision of alternative transport.

 

Table Two:Strategies put forward by Respondents

Host Responsibility

Education

Enforcing drinking and driving legislation

Provision of alternative transport

Notices, signs and posters at licensed premises

White crosses marking crash sites

Publicity in newspapers and radio

Use local newsletters

National alcohol awareness week

Television programmes and advertisements about drinking and driving in rural settings

Coordination of approaches

Special speakers

Police anti drink-driving campaigns

Shock tactics - attending Emergency Hospital Departments

Positive reinforcement and rewards

Conditions on liquor licences

Breath alcohol monitors

Increasing penalties

Enforcing liquor licensing legislation re underage

Sleeping over

Compulsory defensive driving for drivers' licence

District Council policy relating to alcohol

Community Alcohol Action Projects (CAAP)

Last drink survey

Liquor licensing liaison groups

Forums between drunk drivers and victims

Reparation via Community Service

Patrolling roads by air

 

 

Comments on effectiveness of strategies

 

The respondents were then asked to sort a set of cards into three categories.There were 25 cards, each with a different strategy which might contribute to directly or indirectly reduce drink-driving and crashes.The categories the cards were to be sorted into were:

 

(1) Strategies that you think would be effective in your rural area.

(2) Strategies that you think would not be effective in your rural area.

(3) Strategies that you do not know enough about.

 

Following sorting of the cards into the three categories, respondents were then asked to give reasons why they thought thestrategies placed in the first category would be effective,and to also give any drawbacks which they thought might reduce the effectiveness of a strategy.Then respondents were asked to give reasons why the strategies placed in the second category were not effective, and to comment on anything that might improve any of these strategies.

 

Reasons were not sought for cards sorted into the third category ("do not know enough about").However, a brief explanation was provided by the interviewer if the respondent requested information about a strategy, and any comments that were then made by respondents were recorded.Some respondents expressed ambivalence about the effectiveness or non-effectiveness ofsome strategies.These cards were put in a separate place, and reasons were requested and recorded after the first and second categories had been dealt with.

 

The strategies on the cards covered a broad range of options which might directly contribute to reducing drinking and driving such as compulsory breath testing, increasing penalties for convicted drink drivers, employing host responsibility measures to reduce consumption and national publicity campaigns.Strategies which might indirectly affect drinking and driving or the consequences of a crash, such as improving driver education and skills or improving road conditions were also asked about.

 

These twenty five strategies were then ranked in order of what respondents thought would be most effective to least effective, based on the number of respondents picking out each strategy (Table Three).They are discussed in the text in that order.However most respondents thought a combination of strategies was important.Where relevant, reporting of the comments on the strategies put forward by the respondents(Table Two) are amalgamated with their comments on the twenty-five card strategies.Comments on other strategies are then mentioned at the end of that.

 

When respondents were asked to nominate the most promising strategies for their rural area, some respondents said "education".However, when they expanded on what they meant by"education", some respondents were referring to education taking place in the following domains:within sports clubs (and in one instance at pubs), at schools, via the media (at national level, and locally).Community groups were seen by some respondents as assisting in carrying out "education".Respondents did not necessarily distinguish host responsibility and education as being different.Education in relation to any form of licensed premises is included above under Host Responsibility.

Table Three:Strategies Respondents asked to comment on ranked from most effective to least effective

 

01=†††††† *Host Responsibility
††††††††††††††††††††††† - providing food
††††††††††††††††††††††† - providing non-alcoholic drinks

01=†††††† School education programmes about drink-driving

02.††††††† Transport alternatives (such as taxis, vans, public transport)

03.††††††† Designated Drivers Scheme/Lifesavers

04.††††††† Drink-driving blitzes

05.††††††† Compulsory breath testing (CBT)

06.††††††† Local community education and publicity campaigns

07.††††††† ID cards with photograph for proof of age

08.††††††† Enforcing law re intoxication on licensed premises

09.††††††† Community groups e.g., Students AgainstDriving Drunk (SADD) and Mothers Against Drink Driving (MADD).

10.††††††† Community Alcohol Action Projects

11=†††††† Driver education -†† professional driving instruction, defensive driving courses

11=†††††† National publicity campaigns

12.††††††† Increasing penalties for drink-driving e.g., fines, jail sentences, car confiscation, licence loss

13.††††††† Treating alcohol problems

14.††††††† Enforcing law re underage drinking

15.††††††† Last Drink Survey

16.††††††† More speed cameras

17.††††††† Local council restricting/banning alcohol e.g., on beaches, reserves.

18.††††††† Alternative social events with no alcohol involved

19.††††††† Enforcing graduated driver's licence

20.††††††† Improving road conditions

21.††††††† Increasing the driving age

23.††††††† Increasing the price of alcohol

22.††††††† Increasing the drinking age


Host Responsibility - Provision of food and non-alcoholic drinks

 

In the card sorting exercise host responsibility was referred to on cards suggesting provision of food and non-alcoholic drinks.Other components such as provision of alternative transport were commented on separately. However respondents often discussed host responsibility as an overall package including providing food and non-alcoholic drinks, being careful not to over serve to intoxication and providing alternative transport.Nearly all the respondents believed host responsibility was an effective strategy to reduce or prevent drink-driving.

 

Running training courses was perceived as a useful activity and respondents involved in running host responsibility courses and Polytechnic Managers Certificate courses reported ongoing demand for such courses.

 

Some sports club members wanted more host responsibility courses run for sports clubs.One suggested that these be held at the beginning of the sporting year (late February/beginning of March), and to be held at a time when the young members were there, such as after training.He saw this as being especially important for larger clubs and clubs with multiple codes, because of the large number of people.A drawback to this was that it could be difficult to run something at a time that everyone can get to it (particularly with sports clubs membership being a leisure/voluntary activity, and people having other commitments). It was also thought that by being more responsible, people would be affecting their own turnover.

 

Some respondents, in several locations including a number of police officers, thought that sports clubs needed to improve their level of host responsibility.

 

Several thought private parties needed to be targeted with host responsibility measures.There was concern that there was only alcohol, often no food, and frequently no parental supervision at teenage parties.Some respondents suggested some form of modified host responsibility course for 5th, 6th and 7th formers at high school would be useful, especially as teenagers were able to get access to alcohol so easily. One worried that such a course could be seen to be promoting drinking of alcohol by school children, suggested it also focus on the harm that alcohol could do to your health, rather than responsible drinking.

 

††††††††††† "By going and telling the school kids they have got to drink responsibly you are then telling them that they can drink as long as they do it responsibly...All they would need to do is modify it and hit them with the health reasons of why alcohol, what alcohol abuse does for you."

 

More emphasis in promoting food and non-alcoholic drinks was suggested.One mentioned how well food and non-alcoholic drinks had gone.

 

††††††††††† "I can recall one social we had and provided food and entertainment and a good range of non-alcoholic drink and that went very fast before the alcoholic drink... Providing food, we actually had continuous food.They tend to stay around longer, spend larger.Your fundraising tends to be very effective and it's not based solely on alcohol."

 

Some respondents, mainly publicans, thought there were some difficulties in providing food.One said one problem was they could provide meals, but it was still up to the individual to partake. Another in a location where there was some unemployment, commented that it was better for his patrons to buy from the local burger bar, than for him to take business away from another by providing meals.

 

One respondent suggested more emphasis be placed on non-alcoholic drinks and local males taking a stand and be seen ordering and drinking very obviously non-alcoholic drinks.She suggested that well-known locals could start this off.

 

††††††††††† "I mean I think it's quite important that you get peers doing it as well, but you might be able to get it started by having the guy that belongs to Lions, not at the Lions club meetings, but you know, going to the pub and having a night when he normally drinks alcohol, but also having a night where it's quite obvious that he's not so that it becomes like a norm."

 

She believed that a problem with non-alcoholic drinks usually served was that visually they "passed" as alcoholic drinks - there was nothing to indicate that the person was not drinking alcohol.

 

A few respondents felt soft drinks costing much the same as alcohol discouraged people from buying non-alcoholic alternatives, because they were not seen as value for money.It was recommended the price be decreased on these items.

 

Including the provision of host responsibility as part of a formal DLA policy to ensure good management of premises was mentioned as a strategy by one district licensing inspector.This policy would be reviewed and altered to best deal with the local situation.

 

††††††††††† "What we're pursuing is the management of premises, we originally had a policy which was mainly formulated on hours - you know, we became a licensing agent and we thought, 'Oh we're a licensing agent' if you know what I mean.Totally new to it, we didn't have a policy for quite some while, because we thought there is no point in writing a policy before we knew a bit about it, and even our first one isn't going to be right, so we are in the process of renewing it and reviewing it at the moment... but one of the things we decided in the fullness of time is that management of premises is crucial."

 

Some comment was made that events requiring special licences may not have people trained in host responsibility measures.One respondent said he had to make decisions regarding special licences on the basis of his knowledge of the person applying and implemented some specific steps to try to ensure coverage of that.

 

††††††††††† "I have laid down some general ground rules, as a result of some problems I had earlier, and now I want to see on the application, a name of a person who has a manager's license.Or if I know that person, even after an interview I have struck up a rapport, that I am genuinely satisfied that I am not going to have a problem with the abuse of alcohol."

 

 

School Education

 

A number of respondents grouped School Education about drinking and driving, Driver education and Community groups such as SADD together, seeing all three as being activities best carried out at school.

 

Nearly all the respondents believed that school education programmes about drink-driving would be an effective strategy primarily because young people were drinking by the age of 15 when they were legally able to start driving and they needed information.School based education was mentioned by some respondents as useful to help young people resist peer pressure.

 

††††††††††† "I think that's the place you would have to start.You'd have to start reasonably young.Hopefully they get some from their parents as well.Bit of shock tactics there maybe - with the students so you've got maybe some peer pressure there as well - that it's not that cool to get boozed and drive.I mean I never had any of that, my school mates and I all used to think it was pretty cool to get drunk and drive around."

 

Some respondents suggested that such education should start in primary school, around age 11 or 12 years of age, with one suggesting that children as early as five years of age were capable of understanding basic explanations, such as "the car went off the road because the driver had drunk too much wine."A few respondents believed that if young people could be reached, then they could put pressure on parents to make changes with regard to drink-driving (an example given of a campaign where children informed parents about safe behaviour was the McDonald's 'Make it click' safety belt campaign.)††† One respondent suggested that students needed to be shown the social side of drinking, coupled with the Alcohol Advisory Council's "Say When" campaign.Some respondents believed that education about drink-driving needed to continue beyond school years.

 

Many respondents did not know if local schools were carrying out anything in this area already.In all locations where teachers were interviewed there was some form of education taking place where alcohol-related problems were covered.

 

Other respondents thought one off educational activities were ineffective and educative efforts needed to be combined with other activities.

 

††††††††††† "Doing one-off stuff is no good.It doesn't work, it's not effective, if you are going to do something like that, you actually have to do it in conjunction with other things and have a flow-on effect.Because just one-off, say a day, educating people about something, is not going to be effective."

 

††††††††††† "It needs to be within the school, needs to be part of the whole curriculum...It needs to be valued, it needs to be seen to be supported by other things.Some basic information about drugs and alcohol, and also strategies so that if they are going to drink, how to keep themselves safe, host responsibility, that kind of thing.They need to be looking at alcohol in other parts of the curriculum, like when they look at Italy or France... So that it's not seen in isolation.

 

Education of young people to show that television advertisements showing that it is "manly" to drink, were not true should also be considered according to a few interviewees.

 

Education at school that children and parents both attended was also thought a good idea, although it was thought the parents who really needed to hear the message would not attend.

 

 


Transport Alternatives

 

Nearly all the respondents sorted "transport alternatives" into the effective category.When asked for reasons why it would be effective in their rural area,many respondents said this strategy would be effective if there was some form of viable alternate transport.

 

Courtesy Vans

 

Courtesy vans were considered to be a possibility and were being used in some locations.Respondents stressed that such services needed to be cheap,and readily available.One difficulty that needed to be overcome was that young people came home very late, 2 or 3 in the morning, and for full coverage a courtesy van service would have tobe operating for those hours. Concern was expressed that it could be difficult for clubs to find drivers willing to stay up that late doing something which was voluntary, or only token in payment. Getting full coverage in the early morning hours was seen as essential by one respondent who attended crashes as part of his employmentas an emergency services worker.

 

††††††††††† "And when are those accidents?Those accidents are at those times.They're at the times when there is nothing else available.That's when the fatals are, at those times.

 

Operating costs

 

Some sports club members mentioned they thought vans were a good idea but were concerned about how a club would operate the running costs of a van, especially in conjunction with other host responsibility measures, which would lead to a reduction in their bar take, the main source of finance for a van.It was believed by one sports club began such a service, then other sports clubs would be likely to start a service too.

 

††††††††††† "That would be one, and that would encourage other clubs who haven't got courtesy buses to get them... Courtesy buses in my opinion have saved a lot of lives already.And that saves an awful lot of work for the police as well.Although once again, mainly they are only taking home people in the townships, whereas if you could charge them, if we could charge $5 to a guy out to - Road say, which is 8-10 K's, that would cover our cost.$5 would pay for that guy's time to drive him there and back... we would be able to afford to go and pick people up.[Interviewer: You could actually run some sort of a two way service, that a car would never have to come to town at all?]That's right.Because the guy's 10K's out plus the fact they don't like leaving their car here because they've got the hassle next day of coming in and getting their car."

 

Some publicans thought allowing pubs to finance a courtesy van from part of the proceeds of the gaming machines would help.This issue was mentioned by other publicans who saw it as an iniquitous that clubs were able to put the funds back into club facilities, including purchasing vans, something the pubs as commercial enterprises could not do.

 

Condition of liquor licences

 

Some believed that host responsibility measures including alternative transport options should be made part of all licence requirements through legislative change.A district licensing inspector wanted the Sale of Liquor Act to be strengthened, so that such things as providing a van, (as well as providing free or reduced price non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers) could be made a condition of the licence.This respondent believed that if places with licences (including clubs) were required to provide these services, then they would budget for it accordingly.

 

††††††††††† "For example, we required a special licence to have a van available.If that was actually strengthened in the legislation in the Sale of Liquor Act that we require that, then we can put into place more of those types of things."

 

Security of cars and using car pick-ups

 

Having somewhere secure to leave cars was also raised.One possible solution was to put in a barrier arm system with pass cards for club parking lots, as this would at least prevent theft of the whole car, although there was still a concern about vandalism.

 

In two locations, respondents said that the service provided in cities where someone else could be hired to drive your car home was a good idea, because it would solve the problem of not wanting to leave your car because of firstly, security problems and secondly, needing it for transport the next day.However the drawback to this idea was considered the likely cost of running such a service, due to the distances that could be involved and needing a driver for car, and another driver to pick up that person.This strategy was mentioned as having happened informally in one location with one person driving people home in their car and another following as a pickup.

 

Individual Intervention by staff and friends

 

As part of implementing host responsibility, some respondents noted the importance of staff and friends intervening.

 

††††††††††† "I've got my son here...he's my assistant manager.I listened to him talk to one of my elderly gentleman in the bar the other night and I was just so proud of him.I heard him saying to this person, `I will be upset if you don't let me drive you home.I will really worry about you so I would like your car keys.'And the way he approached it.And one of the locals was here listening to what he said and he said `God he handled that well.' "

 

One sports club representative said that the senior people in the club, himself included did try to make sure people who had too much to drink did not drive. This was done by approaching the people the drunk person was with, or in the case of a team member, the team manager or coach. This respondent thought it was best to get someone who knew the person well, as there was less likely to be an argument.

 

††††††††††† "We generally go for the people they are with... if the chaps - can see it's going to be a problem, we don't normally - we probably mention it to him, but if we see we are not going to make any progress, we generally go to his mates, or if he's a member of any team, we go to the team manager or coach.That's their job... we just say 'That's your job and that's your man', and they do it, because it's not worth us having an argument with the other fella.They know him better."

 


Happy hours and cheap prices of alcohol

 

The provision of alternative transport was mentioned as a strategy premises were undertaking, but it was sometimes without regard to other practices such as happy hours and cheap prices, which could contribute to driving patrons drinking more.For example, one racing club subsidised public buses from several areas to their race meetings which was felt to benefit the club.

 

††††††††††† "[It's a] very very satisfactory way of getting large numbers to the races, minimising private transport and of course it completely solves the drinking driving".

 

This respondent went on to say that:

 

††††††††††† "When they set off home and get off the bus that's another story...it drops our profit of course but we think its necessary and it's a big help towards drinking and driving, because race meetings are a pretty heavy focus on drinking ... we have happy hours, our general prices are cheaper than hotel prices".

 

 

Designated Drivers/Lifesavers

 

Nearly all respondents thought that the Designated Drivers Scheme/Lifesavers was effective and was already in use.

 

††††††††††† "I've noticed it with 20 year olds that they will come in and they will say so and so's not drinking tonight, he's the driver and no questions asked".

 

Respondents believed that this strategy should be encouraged and extended in rural areas where alternate transport was not readily available.

 

††††††††††† "I feel that's something that could be quite hopeful in our community, if you really got it, to make it like an okay thing to do that.Cos you do hear a bit of it, and that's one of those things that does happen in the city, and it has filtered down to here, that people hear about."

 

Some respondents thought that designated drivers should be rewarded in some way.

 

††††††††††† "If they reward them in some way... if there is a catch phrase or something that happens, okay you've been the designated driver today, and we will buy you a lotto ticket."

 

††††††††††† "The hotels and liquor establishments could all give free drinks to the life savers.If we could promote that a little bit more maybe it would encourage them to designate somebody."

 

A number of respondents thought that the strategy was being used by young people and couples, was used for longer trips, but not so much locally, and that lone drivers from isolated farms were still a problem.

 

People needed to be reminded about using designated drivers.

 

††††††††††† "Perhaps it needs to be promoted a bit more, publicised a bit more.Once again, it's that re-education, re-reminding people...you know the older teenagers start off very well with this concept, but it is perhaps a message that needs to go through a few more times to them."

 

As with "Transport Alternatives", (above) some respondents suggested that Designated Drivers should be made part of the liquor licence requirements.

 

††††††††††† "Maybe if we are permitted by legislation to take a strong stance on this, it would help quite a lot.And to start doing that you start implementing a social pattern on drinking that you are going to have a life saver there."

 

However some respondents also referred to this strategy with caution, mentioning some of the problems mentioned earlier in this report.These centred around those designated as the nominated driver drinking, so they were unsafe to drive, the sober driver being replaced by an aggressive drunk passenger who insisted on driving and passengers drinking to such levels that they became a danger in distracting the driver.

 

 

Drink-Driving Blitzes

 

Drink driving blitzes and compulsory breath testing were often discussed together with similar comments made about them, but differences were also noted.

 

††††††††††† "Drink driving blitzes and compulsory breath testing are very much the same.They have their place and there's probably not enough of them, and they generally concentrate on them in urban areas where they get numbers.Whereas if they were in the rural areas,...they work in a place where people don't have an option.As far as having breath tests out in the rural, its harder.Because the word gets out that there's a blitz and people can circumvent itAnd they won't get the numbers, but it will be just as valuable I suspect..."

 

Respondents thought blitzes were effective but with short term benefit, drivers altering their behaviour only temporarily.In districts where there were networks of back roads, respondents said it was easy to avoid drink-driving blitzes.

 

Some police respondents thought the strategy would be effective, but this was based on either having enough police based locally to run such campaigns (only one location considered they had sufficient numbers), or having extra police brought in when a drink driving blitz had been advertised.One police officer thought that any intense police campaigns needed to be undertaken by outsiders for a different reason.Local police needed to keep up a good relationship with the community.

 

††††††††††† "We seek and rely so much on co-operation from people in this area and if we bombard the locals with traffic tickets for drinking and driving, then it will seriously, I am absolutely positive, it will seriously affect the co-operation we get from people in other avenues. And that is a real problem for us as community based policemen...On the other hand if we go to a motor accident, I see that as absolutely and totally different, because then people say, 'oh well, X and Z have a job to do'."

 

Another police officer thought that more effective patrolling methods by police would help, but that with current staff levels, it was not practical.Their busiest time was during the day (carrying out all types of police duties)and from about 7.30pm onwards there were virtually no vehicles on the road, until the hotels closed.It was therefore hard to justify doing blitzes as they were not having much in the way of alcohol-related injury crashes in this location.

 

††††††††††† "You go on at night time from 7, 7.30 onwards there are virtually no vehicles on the road.To work that time period through to 11 or 12 o'clock when the hotels close, you'd spend 5 say 6 hours basically, a waste of time.It's a bit hard to justify.What it comes down to is how much of a problem are we having with accidents where alcohol is involved.Because we're not having a great deal of injury."

 

However in another community officers were not working full-time during this period of hours, but went off duty for some of it so they could undertake blitzes and other deterrent activity later at night and in the early morning when hotels did close.Some respondents commented that whilst they believed that blitzes were effective to a degree, they needed to take place out on country roads, as well as in town.Winter drink-driving blitzes were suggested by one respondent from a beach location. This respondent believed that locals went back to their old drink driving habits after extra summer police reinforcements left.Some respondents said that nationally advertised drink-driving blitzes at long holiday weekends were only effective in their rural area if there were staff to ensure they actually took place.

 

In discussing effective policing efforts police officers commented it was important they were visible on the roads.One said the best advertising, and the cheapest, was to have him out on the road, being a deterrent against drink-driving, instead of being at a desk driving a typewriter.Another police officer said that the drink-driving issue needed to be kept to the forefront with the police taking an active role, including supporting local schemes such as CAAPs, and giving talks on drink-driving issues.

 

In relation to police visibly as a deterrent, a comment was made regarding processing someone who was charged took the officer off patrolling the road for a couple of hours.One respondent suggested that the process of charging someone as being DIC (Drunk in Charge) needed to be shortened or changed so that police officers in rural areas were not off the road for so long.

 

 

 

Compulsory Breath Testing (CBT) or Random Breath Testing (RBT)

 

In using CBT the police stop any motorist anytime at a checkpoint and using a hand-held alcohol sensor, detect if the driver has been drinking.If they have, a further breath test may be required.

 

Most respondents sorted the "CBT/RBT"strategy card into the effective category because people did not know when or where to expect the checkpoints and would not drink and drive in case. However respondents' response was contingent on there being sufficient police resources to carry such strategies out regularly, so that people perceived there was a very high chance of being detected.

 

Some respondents thought that CBT had had a short term effect and when it was first promoted, people took notice, but as time went on, the perceived threat had not become real.

 

††††††††††† "In the long term I believe that people say 'Oh there's no breath testing going on at the moment, I'll just have a few more extra beers'.I know people really think that when they're drinking."

 

Adapting CBT to local conditions

 

Some police officers and other respondents commented it was important to set up CBT checkpoints for a short time only (fifteen to thirty minutes was mentioned), and then pack up and move to another spot.Checkpoints that were unadvertised, constantly shifting, and occurring regularly over a very long time were seen as preferable to advertised blitzes.The reasons given were that firstly after 30 minutes everybody drinking knew that the checkpoint was in action, and where.This was due to the local "bush telegraph", where the first locals to spot the CBT checkpoint rang the hotel or sports club.Secondly when police continuously set up in the same places, locals knew those were likely spots, and avoided going that way.Thirdly with advertised blitzes, it was considered people altered their behaviour for the period of the blitz, but returned to the old ways when it was over.

 

Some respondents believed that moving checkpoints (both blitzes and CBT) in this way would be an effective deterrent, even if the numbers actually stopped were quite low.One respondent said:

 

††††††††††† "...There could be drink-driving blitzes out there.It would be on a much smaller scale than the booze busts...because there are fewer officers [doing it] very suddenly because they wouldn't have the numbers that they would have to put with on a main road...they would then move off to another place quickly.I suppose you would call it the lightening squad."

 

While some police suggested it was necessary to bring in a large team from elsewhere to undertake it, it seemed that in some localities police were operating CBT checkpoints with existing resources using the above tactics.

 

 

 

Local Community Education And Publicity Campaigns

 

Most respondents thought that local community education and publicity campaigns would be effective.

 

††††††††††† "[Local events are] much more powerful than something that comes from national, because it's local, everyone knows, and everyone's aware of it.So those kinds of things can actually have some impact.Like even within schools, someone's had a party, and someone's been dragged off to hospital, or there's been an accident.Those kinds of things can actually be used as an educative tool."

 

Some respondents suggested that this strategy would be most effective when carried out with other strategies such as CAAPs, school education programmes, and action by community groups.Some respondents commented that it was important that this strategy be carried out by locals with access to outside resources in terms of training and/or funding if necessary, rather than by 'out of towners', who were seen as 'do-gooders' by locals.One respondent believed that this strategy would effective.

 

††††††††††† "I think any form of education, if it is done locally, and done by locals, if it's bred in that sort of situation, then people sit up and take notice."

 

Using local media

 

Several respondents mentioned using local newspapers and radio stations to promote don't drinking and driving and to reinforce enforcement efforts.One thought local radio stations would be a good place to promote not drink-driving as lots of people had the radio on in shops and workshops for background entertainment.

 

Using local newspapers was considered to be one "best way" to get the message across.Local newspapers were generally free, widely distributed and read, people being interested in local identities.Getting the local newspaper to report (with photos) on any local action on drink-driving was considered to be a very positive way to get the message across.Publishing the names (and the penalty) of convicted drink-drivers and any disorder where alcohol was involved in local newspapers was suggested as a way to raise local people's awareness of drink-driving as a local concern.

 

Publicising details of crashes

 

Writing up very specifically the details of what happened when there was an alcohol-related crash was also considered a useful idea.In one location when local people had a fatal alcohol-related crash, such as driving over a bank or into a river or stream, this was put in the local paper.This was seen as effective in letting local people know that this could happen to them if they were drink-driving.However another respondent commented a drawback to this strategy was by the time everything went through court, and the details could be released, the impact was lost. As well, other factors such as speed, and emotional state might be involved, and all needed to be discussed to be fair.However,a few respondents thought that the details should be published regardless of the time delay.

 

One respondent suggested putting information in the local farming and country newsletters, saying something along the lines of "Okay, so you've had a hard day, so you need a beer, but not too many thanks.Think of somebody else. Think of others."

 

Finding out and publicising local drink driving statistics

 

Another respondent suggested that surveys be undertaken in each rural community by someone other than the police to show the extent of drink-driving. He suggested that such a survey could then be used to show locals the extent of the problem, and encourage the community to take action from there.One respondent who was involved in a social services group in his township said they were trying to find out how many people involved in crashes on their rural roads and highways were locals, and how many were passing through.

 

 

 

ID Cards with photograph for proof of age

 

Respondents often commented on this strategy in reference to enforcing the legal drinking age.Many respondents thought that an ID card with photograph was an effective and essential part of enforcing this law.One publican said:

 

††††††††††† "The hardest for us type of people is people's age and they just flash their licence and it's on a bit of paper to say whatever and you can't argue against it otherwise its discrimination and all that sort of thing.And it's always women they're the worse ones... they are the most convincing and if you do start to get hard on them, Jesus they treat you like... quite surprising how their attitude changes so quickly.People would soon learn if they are the right age they got no hassle with carrying it around and flashing it, it's only when you're underage that you get yourself on a high horse".

 

 

 

Enforcing Law Re Intoxication On Licensed Premises

 

Respondents who thought this would be effective commented it would help keep a focus on how much people were drinking within the premises and help reduce levels of consumption.A police officer believed this was an effective strategy but with the staff available, it was not possible to provide the necessary level of visibility every night of the week to act as a deterrent.A number of other respondents thought the police should show their presence more by going into sports clubs and other premises in uniform and act as a deterrent to serving too much and to encourage less imbibing.

 

††††††††††† "They've got to come in officially.You know, police are here as members but they've got to have a presence around the clubs.It's a two way thing because they learn that we're running what I think, is a good ship and the fact that people know that they're going to be about, does do something.They could come in, call at the counter and they could just ask could we make an announcement, 'look we've got concerns, will you all make sure your cars are secure' or something like that.They don't even need to say we're there about drink driving.The fact is there's a presence there and people will sort of think the police are looking for a car thief so I'd better be careful."

 

In another area an officer described undertaking sucha strategy:

 

††††††††††† "If I am working my night shift and the rugby clubs have a social on or any other venues, like we generally find out what's happening if there's something at the race course.But in particular for the rugby clubs, because the socials generally finish at 12, sorry the bars close at midnight, you are out between 12.30 and 1am.So I normally go in just before supper and I stand in the doorway so they can see me.And then they will tell the patrons that I will be back.I always like to make the point of going in there before supper, so then it gives them time to think 'right I got to have something to eat and got to start slowing down'.And then they know that I will be back and I sit right outside the front door.And a lot of people have said to me 'jeeze that's a bit tough sitting right outside the front door'.I said no, I always have this theory, 'it is a man who says no when he's had enough, it is the idiot who continues on his path'.So in other words if you walk out that door after you've known how much you've had to drink and you hop in your car and drive, then you are the idiot."

 

Some respondents commented that it was difficult to prove 'intoxication', and this made it difficult to prosecute premises.Some publicans commented that making the decision that someone was intoxicated was not entirely clear-cut - they believed that some patrons did not always display obvious signs of intoxication even when they had been drinking heavily. A further problem was that whilst a person might not appear or be intoxicated, they could be over the limit for driving,

 

††††††††††† "They're not putting the blame on the driver, they're basically going to put the blame at the hotels and the people that are serving the alcohol...I mean like we can get into some terrible arguments with people because they can say, 'I'm not drunk'.And you know, there's drunk and drunk. What I'm saying is drunk and what the police say is drunk are probably two totally different things... at the end of the day what you're looking at is the statistics out on the road.We're the ones filling them up alcohol here, and we could actually send them away from here thinking that they're not intoxicated and they get into a car and they're totally over the limit."

 

 

One respondent thought enforcing the law could mean risk of drinking and driving.

 

††††††††††† "If a licensee considers that the person's intoxicated and the law says you are not allowed to have them on the premises, then you are actually putting a drunk driver back on the road.Maybe there needs to be a place where they can keep them there with friends..."

 

One publican said that in a small rural area it was difficult to tell people who were your friends that they had to stop drinking, as you could lose them as friends.

 

 

 

Community Groups Acting Against Drinking and Driving e.g. Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) And Mothers Against Drink Driving (MADD)

 

The majority of respondents put this card in the effective category.When commenting on the effectiveness of such groups, the comments ranged from very general, such as "community groups would be effective" to more specifically focusing on SADD.Some commented that they actually did not really know what SADD was.(SADD is a student organisation which supports young people to say no to drink driving and aims to eliminate drunk driving by working in schools and communities using a wide variety of methods and strategies.)

 

Several respondents thought it was important to have an organisation like SADD in schools to work with other students.

 

††††††††††† "If you are going to get a message to students, you need students to give it."

 

††††††††††† "The idea was [in reactivating SADD groups] to get the students to take a sense of ownership of the problem and the best way was... to meet with the SADD community"...the SADD groups are very good as long as they are active."

 

One believed schools should ensure that they have a SADD committee.Other respondents thought that SADD was a good idea, but might not be reaching those who needed it,

 

††††††††††† "It's a great thing, it's just that it seems to have a bit of a label attached, like it's a goodie-goods thing.And it's not reaching, I guess that at risk group...I've never seen any evaluation of it...I just wonder how effective it is in reaching the kids who really need it..."

 

Another thought it was difficult for short term SADD initiatives to overcome personal beliefs about drinking and driving.

 

††††††††††† "We do have a SADD week every year here at the college and for about a week, oh, it's talked about and they're very good, but it's like everything else, you know.It won't happen to me".

 

Another respondent commented that SADD fluctuated from year to year in the school, due to the senior students leaving, and a new group taking over.In one location,it was hoped to start a junior section, so that there would be more continuity in the future.Another respondent suggested that SADD was not taken seriously enough and needed more financial resources in order to be effective.One respondent mentioned SADD contracts (an agreement made with friends/flatmates/parents to not drive after drinking, or be driven by a drunk driver) had been offered (by an assembly announcement) to students, but necessitated a visit to the office to collect.Many students would notbe likely to go to the office, this being a 'nerdy' thing to do but if the contracts had been handed out to everyone, then students could have read and discussed them and more might have been used.

 

Some respondents thought SADD also had a role in the wider community to promote safe driving.In the location with a Community Alcohol Action Project running, SADD was involved in activities in the community as well as the school and was considered by some respondents to be a very effective way of getting the message across, and not only to fellow school pupils.It had been involved in running a stand at the Field Days,

 

††††††††††† "SADD did a big stand out with the Police at the Field Days...and that just went down so well with people, we were really, really surprised. We gave away thousands and thousands of those little cards that said how much you can drink. Thousands of them! And people just thought it was a brilliant idea."

 

A few respondents thought groups such as SADD or MADD and others were seen as fringe or too emotional, or that they were powerful voices but there were too many small groups and consolidation was needed.

 

 

 

Community Alcohol Action Project (CAAP)

 

Communities through their territorial authority can apply for funding from the Land Transport and Safety (administration)programme to run a CAAP, focusing on reducing drinking and driving and related crashes.Whilst the majority of respondents thought that a funding to run a specific CAAP would be effective,many were not conversant with a CAAP or did not know enough about it to comment at all.Respondents from the one location in which a CAAPs was currently running thought it helped keep drink-driving to the forefront of people's minds.

 

††††††††††† "I've found it very effective, because it has created more public awareness.And it's kept the impetus on drink-driving to the forefront of people's minds.And for that reason, I believe it's been very effective."

 

††††††††††† "I suppose the advantage of local community is that it gives a sense of the buzzword and the local ownership of the problems. Now if you have a national publicity campaign, it's looked at, it looks good, but it doesn't have a degree of ownership. If you go into a local community you are actually involving those people who are doing it. So the spin-offs are that much greater. And they're the one that I have been involved in."

 

In general comments made by other respondents regarding why CAAPs would be effective in their rural area along the lines that the community taking action in the alcohol area would be something good to do.

 

One respondent who had experience of a CAAP in another location thought there needed to have been more consultation, community input and coordination of approaches.

 

††††††††††† Sometimes they're really successful.I don't think there's nearly enough evaluation and monitoring of that process. There should be, locally.Locally we had money from CAAPs...and there was no put in from the community.The police put in their bit, and the [local] District Council had their put in, no-one else had input into it.When the money came in, they'd already decided how it was, well they hadn't decided.The police had decided how they were going to use it and as far as I'm concerned, it was probably about $12,000 down the drain.The police went off and did their thing, without any kind of coordination, advertising campaign, anything...And the District Council went off and did their bit, which to me was inappropriate, what they did.It wasn't coordinated, there was no community involvement, so I think it was a waste of time."

 

 

 

Driver Education - Professional Driving Instruction, Defensive Driving Courses

 

Most respondents sorted this strategy into the effective category. Some respondents commented that driver education did not directly reduce or prevent drink-driving, but they thought that more emphasis on driver education and instruction could be opportunities to increase awareness about the role of alcohol.They also thought improving people's driving skills might improve their ability if they were drinking and driving.Other respondents were sceptical about this particular possibility, and thought that such skills went out the window once people had been drinking.

 

††††††††††† "I don't believe that is a solution.Defensive driving, I mean when a person gets drunk they lose their inhibitions and they take risks and whether or not you have attended a driving course or not, doesn't get away from the fact that you are still going to lose your inhibitions and probably have an accident."

 

One teacher thought the learning did not last long, especially amongst the young.

 

††††††††††† Most of the people here do go to professional driving courses, and most do Defensive Driving courses, but it really doesn't seem to have too much effect on the young.Once they get their licence, that little bit of paper in their hands, they forget about what has happened in those courses.

 

A few respondents suggested that all drivers should be re-tested regularly (every 3-5 years), bringing about an overall improvement in driving.One respondent thought re-testing might prove more effective than speed cameras.Some respondents thought that everyone shouldhave to take a defensive driving course to get a driving licence. A problem with accessing defensive driving courses or drive education courses was that there was no professional instruction available in some locations.Parents and brothers and sisters were often teachers and could mean poor driving skills were perpetuated, according to some.

 

The expense of doing a defensive driving course or taking professional driving lessons was also mentioned as a limiting factor and needed to be looked at.

 

Some respondents thought that driver education should be carried out at schools which in some cases was occurring.One respondent suggested a driving road show travelling around the schools, similar to the Life Education Trust Alcohol and Drug programme.The road show would incorporate a circuit which participants could try out, and experience driving in different simulated conditions, including under the influence of alcohol.The road show could be available to the rest of the community.Another suggestion was to have a week with a particular focus such as "rural driving" as part of a campaign.

 

Several thought the ACC television advertisements featuring professional racing car driver Peter Brock giving tips on driving skills were a useful strategy.

 

††††††††††† "Most of us think we're great drivers when we are sixteen... the Peter Brock campaign's quite catching... I think all that sort of thing is quite good, its quite illustrative."

 

††††††††††† "You know like that latest set of ads that Peter Brock's just done for road safety.It's got nothing to do with drink,I think they're very good. At least they took those kids and put them into situations that they might not necessarily ever encounter."

 

 

 

National Publicity Campaigns

 

There was a range of responses to national publicity campaigns with some thinking they were effective and others that they had only short term effect.Using images familiar to people in rural communities was important.A number of respondents believed that national campaigns were effective because a lot of people watched television and were reminded not to drink and drive . They were considered to give value for the amount of money spent, considering the coverage achieved.

 

However some respondents thought that there were some drawbacks to the effectiveness of national campaigns.

 

††††††††††† They work for so long, and give people an awareness, but it doesn't often bring about any lasting behavioural or attitudinal changes.So those are ones I don't think would work."

 

Some respondents believed that national campaigns needed to be carried out in conjunction with local efforts.

 

††††††††††† "I think that maybe a lot of us in small areas don't realise what's going on in the big towns and if our local papers could perhaps be made aware of when there is a national publicity campaign going on, that we get in and become involved the same way as the rest of the country...We all got behind the red nose day and we're only a little community. So why shouldn't we get behind everything.It's just got to be brought to the fore.Somebody in the community's got to be made aware of what's going on and what is actually happening.The statistics need to be pointed out."

 

Television was considered an effective medium for communication by many respondents.One respondent, a health professional, supported the use of television to get the message across, explaining that written material in the form of pamphlets was unlikely to be read by local people. As well, she stated that it was important to use very visual messages, rather than a lot of printed words.Role models, people who were well know to the community, could be used.She believed that the style of the recent Warriors Rugby League team advertising campaign was an example that those in health promotion should make use of.

 

††††††††††† "It was fast, with it, current, hyped everyone up these are the sort of things we need to do."

 

Others were concerned that the focus of much material on television was on motorway crashes and images from cities and believed that if rural people saw visual material which included scenes they could relate to, then perhaps campaigns might have more impact.

 

Some thought graphic television advertisements were effective because people talked about them, but they did not talk about newspaper or magazine campaigns.An example of a graphic television advertisement was the one "with the girl that went through the windscreen, saying that this was the last sight she had."Some said it was no good having advertisements that just say "your level is such and such".A health professional thought that more television advertisements should be done to reach young people, because they were not getting the message from parents.She and others thought the advertisement where girls were putting on makeup in the car as they drive, and go past a horrific traffic crash was an effective one.Others thought middle-aged people also needed to be targeted.Others thought graphic advertisements only had a short term effect and over time people began to ignore even the most horrific details and forgot the message.One health professional thought that there was some debate about what the message needed to be.She commented thatscare tactics did not work with everyone, especially the at risk group.

 

††††††††††† "We know from research that the scare tactics just don't work. They do with a certain percentage of the population, but for those who have a low self-esteem and can't see how they can change things, you basically get the fear, and then the denial. I see that quite a lot, the at risk groups, that they go into denial - 'it won't happen to me, I'm invincible', and I see that happening quite a lot, there's a lot of things that need to be done to be able to change those behaviours I think, self-esteem and those kinds of issues."

 

One respondent believed that it was important to schedule television programmes about drinking and driving such as "The Killing Fields" a programme about fatal road crashes, at a time when young people were likely to be home and watching television, and not to be scheduled against other programmes that were very popular with that age group.As well, such programmes should be screened again, at a different time, in order to reach more people.Another respondent thought it would be a good idea to put advertisements about not drink-driving on simultaneously across all television channels so people could not avoid the message by channel-changing.The time chosen to advertise was also important.

 

††††††††††† "Instead of putting it on a channel at a time when most people are at the pub or club, they put it on at peak time in the middle of sports programmes, and on all channels simultaneously."

 

Another strategy suggested was to have an alcohol awareness week, like there were national weeks on things such as language, and Braille.Others suggested that there be a national "drink-driving" week, to bring the issue to the fore a bit more, with local messages added to the national campaign, so that local people knew that it applied to them too.

 

 


Increasing Penalties for Drink-driving, e.g. fines, jail sentences, car confiscation, licence loss

 

Although the majority of respondents sorted this strategy into the effective category,a number of respondents focused on one aspect or another when commenting and there was no consistent trend. Some respondents thought thatpenalties did not need to be increased, rather courts needed to consistently apply the maximum penalties already available.One respondent was concerned that a repeat drink driver could get a good lawyer andget off very lightly.This respondent suggested that there be set fines and jail sentences with no exceptions allowed.Others did not think jail was a useful penalty.

 

Some respondents commented that there was little penalty when a drink driver could retain his/her driving licence in order to go to work.Even when driving licences were completely revoked, some people continued to drive anyway.

 

Some respondents thought that car confiscation would be a very good penalty in rural areas, where people need a car to get anywhere.One respondent suggested that the car should be confiscated, the licence taken away, and anyone that loaned a car to this person should also automatically have their car confiscated.However, other respondents believed that there were some major problems with car confiscation.A police officer commented that it would be a nightmare to carry out, with joint ownership of cars creating difficulties, and that there would be storage and security problems with looking after the confiscated cars.Other respondents were concerned for the negative effects on other innocent family members who were reliant on the family car for essential transport such as going to school, grocery shopping and visits to the doctor.Loss of income due to not having transport would also have a negative on other family members.

 

One respondent suggested that local people who were convicted ofdrink-driving, especially where innocent people had been injured or killed, should be made to provide reparation by the means oflocal community service, so that the community could see they were trying to absolve themselves of whatever they had done.She believed that imprisonment was not useful, only cost the country money, and should perhaps only be used for habitual re-offenders.

 

A health professional suggested having a forum, similar to a family group meeting when a child is in trouble with the law, which drink drive offenders would attend and victims of crashes would talk about the effects on their lives.

 

 

 

Treatment Of Alcohol Problems

 

The majority of respondents thought that this strategy would be effective, although nearly a quarter said that they did not know enough about it to comment.Some respondents thought that treating people with alcohol problems would probably help reduce some drink-driving but the focus should be more on prevention.

 

Motivation of those who might be referred to treatment was a factor.

 

††††††††††† "Well yes, if someone's got an alcohol problem, it needs to be treated, but they actually have to want to do something about it before it's going to be effective.I don't think it hurts for them to be court-directed to get an assessment and do some counselling, because I think at least there's a possibility they might get somewhere and want to do something.But again it's a magic wand issue here I think."

 

One respondent said that recidivist drink drivers were most likely to have alcohol problems, so treatment would be effective in reducing drink driving.One respondent commented that a drink driving conviction was for some people the first obvious sign that they might have a problem with their use of alcohol, and need treatment.This respondent was concerned that many drinking drivers in rural areas had been doing it for a long time and probably had a problem with alcohol, but were not caught due to low policing resources.Consequently these people were not being referred for treatment, and continued drink driving.

 

Respondents from different locations said that there were limited or no locally available alcohol counselling services.People needing treatment or support often had to travel a long way to and fro from the nearest large town or city facility.This meantconsiderable personal commitment and could be difficult for them to keep it up, especially financially.

 

††††††††††† "Our kids have got to go all the way to Hamilton, and you've got to be extremely committed to do those sorts of things.So I think the country, the rural areas, suffer through lack of community support."

 

In one location, people were trying to get such services provided locally, but funding was difficult to find.One respondent suggested that some money from the gaming machines be used by rural communities to set up professional counselling services in their township.This respondent said that this would provide easy access for people with alcohol problems.

 

 

 

Enforcing Law Re Underage Drinking

 

Comments relating to this strategy were often in conjunction with the provision of ID cards.Some respondents thought that the law relating to underage drinking would be effective in reducing drinking and driving if it was enforced more.Some respondents thought that the underage drinker needed to be penalised more for breaking the law.One respondent suggested that minors given an instant fine.

 

††††††††††† "One thing that I'd like to see us get with underaged drinking is an instant fine - just like our traffic ticket book.Any minor, instant fine, $100 ticket given there and then.The minor [would get the ticket], and obviously it still gives us the prerogative of pursuing the supplier...A lot simpler for the police, and I'm sure it would be policed a lot more if we had that rather than to have to go away and do an hour and a half's paperwork to book someone for a $40 fine."

 

Some respondents said it was important to enforce the law equally in all premises because it was no use one turning underage people away if other premises then went ahead and served them.

 

As mentioned previously, respondents thought that the rules relating to guardianship made it complicated to decide whether some young people should be drinking or not.Some respondents believed the guardianship rules presented difficulties in interpretation as to who qualified as a guardian.Because of difficulty it was thought that the age should be made hard and fast rather than have some exceptions.Eighteen years of age was usually nominated as the age to draw a hard line at, although some respondents felt that 20 was quite young enough.Some respondents saw 20 as being unrealistic in a rural area where there were no alternatives to licensed premises for socialising and entertainment.Unsupervised drinking, with no host responsibility with regards to intoxication and alternate transport, was seen as a likely consequence.Several respondents thought it was better to have young people on supervised licensed premises than drinking unsupervised in cars and on beaches and other areas.Some thought parents needed to know more about the law.One respondent thought:

 

††††††††††† "What I don't think the parents know is what is legal and what is illegal when it comes to supplying people with alcohol.Like you can supply your own child, but you're not actually allowed to supply anyone else's. And who can drink on your premise and who can drink when it comes to minors.Because I know - I hate the practice - they will buy kegs for 17, 16 year olds whatever parties...I think that's one gap, that many parents don't know, and I wonder if they knew, would they change their practices.They can't just go out buying kegs for all their kids, and all their mates, if the other parents don't know.So that's one."

 

Favourable parental attitudes towards acceptability of supplying alcohol to teenagers was considered an important factor in trying to reduce it.

 

††††††††††† "I don't think [its lack of knowledge of] the law.I think they just find it acceptable themselves.Or holding parties where everyone must bring so much money to pay for the keg, you know and that sort of thing.And the parents think it's OK."

 

 

 

Last Drink Survey

 

The Last Drink Survey (LDS) is a strategy aimed at identifying licensed locations whose serving practices may have contributed to drink driver offenders being over the limit or intoxicated and taking further action, such as implementing host responsibility measures.

In cases where there is no improvement,other measures may then be undertaken, such as opposing the licence, or placing restrictions on the licence.The LDS was well-established in some locations, but was just being put in place in some other communities. Most of the respondents who thought this strategy was or would be effective were participating in a liquor licensing liaison group for their area.These groups included representatives from the police, the district licensing agency and health sectors and were using an LDS to help them in their licensing activities.

 

One respondent thought:

 

††††††††††† "I think it is important, because it enables the police to go to licensed premises and tell them they've got a good record or a bad record and perhaps give them some assistance, rather than coming in heavy on them, give them some assistance in ways that they can help them or maybe offer them host responsibility courses etc., to tell all their members as well. Certainly to their staff and regular patrons anyway."

 

One of the main reasons given by those respondents who believed this strategy to be ineffective was that people would lie about where they had last been drinking and would not tell on their favourite drinking spots. Another problem mentioned by publicans was friends buying drinks for someone who was intoxicated.One said:

 

††††††††††† "It's wrong because we have removed people from here and they have come in and some of their friends have come up and bought them a beer.We haven't seen them come in and then we go around cleaning up ashtrays etc.You see them and you know bloody well you refused to serve them... they go down the road and get caught and say they were here... you have no proof you actually refused to serve... I go down and have a talk to the police who say we've had two been picked up from here in six months or twelve months or something like that, that's bloody petty."

 

Some respondents thought, depending on the size of the location, that the exercise might be pointless in small locations.

 

††††††††††† "My honest opinion is they've been an absolute and utter waste of time.It might be effective in city areas because policeman won't have the same local knowledge as us.But we know where events are happening, we know what's happening, where booze is drunk, so it certainly wouldn't help us."

 

Another respondent thought that where there was only one pub, it might be difficult to identify why it was showing up in the LDS statistics.

 

††††††††††† "It's actually going to be two reasons why they might be showing up all the time - One, it might be the only pub, and on the other hand it might be because they might be being lax."

 

However it was emphasised by respondents using an LDS that it could build up a pattern:

 

††††††††††† "We accept this last drink survey, people can designate any place they want to if they so wish, but when you are looking at it on a broader perspective you don't tend to get everybody thinking the same.So looking at a broader perspective you can set up a pattern... which has some credence to the whole pattern if not specifically in each point."

 

 

 

More Speed Cameras

 

Most respondents thought this would not have much effect in relation to preventing drinking and driving but a few thought it might help keep speed down for some drivers who had been drinking.Some respondents said that speed cameras would be effective in reducing speeding, if there was no warning given regarding the presence of the camera, but that under the current system people just slowed down in the signposted places.One respondent thought that speed cameras did not operate at night, so would not be any use at 3am when drink-drivers were going home.One respondent said that the network of back roads was so extensive in their area that people would soon learn where the cameras were (due to the signs) and would take alternate routes.Some respondents said that speed cameras would not be very likely to prevent or reduce drink-driving because the camera could not tell if people had been drinking.In areas where the terrain and winding nature of roads meant that it was difficult to drive over the 100k speed limit, respondents said that speed cameras would be ineffective even for speed because so few people would be over the speed limit.

 

Some commented that police were relying too much on technology such as speed cameras and should be on the road more as deterrents.

 

 


Local Council Restricting/Banning Alcohol e.g. On Beaches, Reserves

 

In some beach locations visited by large numbers of holiday-makers and tourists, most respondents believed that council bans and restrictions on having alcohol on beaches and reserves were effective in helping to control alcohol-related problems, including drink-driving.One police officer explained that the main problem was young men over the late December to early January period.

 

††††††††††† "We're basically talking about young men when we're talking about drink driving, who are taking their holidays from work, who have got a pocketful of cash in the car - and they basically live in the car - and spend their dollars.They've saved all year for this...Generally speaking they arrive here with a car full of people and a car full of booze."

 

Enforcing bans was thought more likely to create problems than solve them by one or two respondents.

 

††††††††††† "It may create a problem by putting restrictions on it, especially as we haven't got the manpower to enforce it."

 

Most respondents from inland farming areas thought such bans and restrictions were of little or no use in their rural area, as they did not have a great problem with alcohol on local reserves.

 

 

 

Alternative Social Events Without Alcohol

 

Some respondents believed that such events might be successful, but people were wary of running such events in case they were a flop.Some cited examples of successful events:

 

††††††††††† "An example of that of course is our liquor ban during the Christmas period, where we have entertainment on the beach and in the parks during the afternoons and evening.And no alcohol allowed, but we still get 15,000 people coming out.It does happen, people will come to it just because it is here."

 

Other respondents thought that people just would not attend an event where there was no alcohol.One respondent explained:

 

††††††††††† "We have had two cabaret type events tried to be arranged in this area without alcohol.Both have been cancelled. I don't see that it would make any difference. The people that we're trying to police with alcohol just wouldn't be interested." ††

 

However it was seen by some respondents as being particularly important to try running non-alcohol events for young people.One respondent gave an example of a success story he had heard of - a hotel in another community had run non-alcohol nights under a special licence for young people.Other respondents pointed out that there were local events at which it would be unlikely to affect attendance, if there was no alcohol, for instance Guy Fawkes night."Blue light" events for young people had been run by the police in one area in the past.One respondent wanted to see these restarted.One respondent thought it would be better to have good host responsibility measures in place at events with alcohol, rather than try to run non-alcohol events.

 

 

 

Enforcing Graduated Drivers Licence (GDL)

 

One of the conditions imposed on drivers who are on the GDL is that they do not drive with a blood alcohol level of more than 30 mg%.Nearly a third of respondents sorted this strategy into the "do not know enough about" category.A number of other respondents thought the strategy would be effective, but did not know how the graduatedlicence worked.There were only a few respondents with sufficient knowledge of the licence who were able to comment on effectiveness/ineffectiveness.

 

One main reasons given for this strategy being effective was that young people would know the rules about drink-driving and were restricted as to how much they were allowed to drink.In one location, where respondents considered there was sufficient policing for enforcement, a respondent involved in court work believed that young people breaking the graduated drivers licence requirements were being caught and dealt with through the youth court and family conferences, and were not re-offending.

 

However, one respondent from the same location believed that a large number of young people were driving without a licence at all, "once they know how to drive a car, who cares."The reasons respondents believed this strategy was ineffective were because it was impossible to distinguish from the outside of a car whether a driver was on a restricted licence or not.It was impossible to enforce the graduated drivers licence in rural areas due to lack of policing resources.A police officer said that the law itself had no real teeth in terms of penalties making enforcement ineffective.

 

††††††††††† "All that happens when someone on a graduated licence breaches it, is that their breach is reported and their graduated licence extended for a period,and that's plainly ridiculous...We can't forbid them from driving, we can't take their keys off them, we can't do any enforcement on them, without their consent and approval...If they committed an offence, and it was costing them money - if we were hitting their little pockets - I bet it would be effective, but the current system, it's not."

 

A respondent with road safety expertise, also speaking from the perspective of a parent, said that the rule requiring a driverwith a graduated licence to carry no passengers was ineffective and even dangerous in rural areas for the following reasons:

 

††††††††††† "...when my daughter is driving around I prefer her to have somebody with her. Especially in a rural environment, because if you've got young girls in particular, driving around in a rural area, it's dark, they can break down, have a flat tyre and they're on their own...And also you've got the other issue, if you've got four people going, you will have four cars instead of one.So it's increasing the probability [of drink driving], and you can't have lifesavers, because there's only one person. So it's an issue which I don't think was thought through in its entirety. The 10 o'clock is unrealistic, and they ignore it anyway."

 

 

 

Improving Road Conditions

 

Respondents did not think that improving road conditions would be effective in stopping people from drink driving.A few said that improving roads might in some cases help to prevent or reduce the severity of the results of an alcohol-related crash.In areas where roads were mostly straight and flat, most respondents said the roads were good, and extra money should not be spent on improvements in order to prevent drink driving.

 

In other areas where the roads were more difficult due to the terrain, with less or no passing lanes, or winding, or with occasional spots of metal, some thought that improvements would be helpful, but would not stop drink driving. Rather, the opposite view was expressed by a number of respondents. Currently it was difficultto drive at high speeds on some of these roads.Respondents in these areas believed that this was one reason that they had not had very many alcohol-related fatal crashes.They believed that upgrading (planned for some popular beach areas) would result in faster speeds and more serious and fatal crashes in the future.

 

 

 

Increasing The Drinking Age

 

Respondents did not think increasing the drinking age to a higher level than 20 was realistic.Some thought it was too high now.

 

††††††††††† "I think people are at the age of eighteen able to join the army and go and fight for their country and they can vote.Why should they increase the age?Its twenty, its ridiculously high now anyway."

 

Some respondents commented that it would just lead to even more young people drinking in unsupervised situations.

 

 

 

Increasing The Driving Age

 

Most respondents did not think that the age for getting a license should be raised.The reasons given were that many young people had experience driving farm vehicles well before they were 15.Teenagers were very active in sports clubs in rural areas, and needed to be able to get home from sports practice which finished after school buses went, or to drive to get to school because of lack of buses, or to help out their parents on the farm.Young people often needed a licence to get to work.

 

However a few respondents thought that since the school leaving age was now higher than 15, the licence age should go up also.One thought the age should rise because fifteen year olds thought they couldn't be harmed:

 

††††††††††† "Yes. Fifteen is too young. Seventeen to eighteen, that keeps the young ones of the road - the guy with body armour he thinks he's invincible which is 15, 16, 17 age group.Increasing the driving age to 18 when they've got a bit more common-sense."


Increasing The Price Of Alcohol

 

Nearly all the respondents thought that this strategy would not be effective.

 

††††††††††† "Well everytime the price goes up they all moan like anything and a week later its forgotten."

 

The reasons given were that people would switch to lower cost alcohol, go to wholesalers instead and drink at home or at parties, or that people would buy the alcohol at the higher price, and that their families would be affected due to there being less money for basics.

 

 

 

Other Strategies Mentioned by Respondents

 

Notices, signs and posters for licensed premises

 

Several respondents thought notices and signs with messages relating to the law on underage drinking, intoxication and on drinking and driving should be displayed in licensed premises to reinforce other efforts.Messages could include current ones such as "we can't serve drunks"; "are you 20 years of age?", and "enough's enough", as well as new ones along the lines of , "are you driving a motor vehicle?","who's your driver tonight" and "are you watching what your driver is drinking?"

 

Specific driving related signs at the exits ofhotel and club carparks were also suggested such as "Are you under the limit?" and"If you've been drinking, don't drive".On their own these were not seen as adequate; if a warning was to be given, then an alternative had to offered as well, e.g. alternative transport.The Alcohol Advisory Council was named as an organisation which could supply them.One respondent thought it should be mandatory for such notices to be displayed in licensedpremises.

 

One respondent thought posters promoting host responsibility and should be very large, so that they could be seen from across the other side of the room, preferably horizontal, rather than vertical for maximum impact, and to employ similar advertising styles to those used by alcohol advertisements.This strategy was nominated by a publican, who pointed out alcohol advertisements in his premises were mounted, framed, and hung like art works.

 

White crosses

 

One emergency services worker believed that putting up white crosses on roadside helped to get the message across.

††††††††††† "I think what they've been doing by putting the crosses up deters a lot of people, makes you think.When you see four crosses in a row you know a family has been wiped out because of drunk driving.You know that makes you stop and think."

 

A display in a healthcare centre during a health promotion day was also mentioned.This was a map of the district with white crosses placed on a black map it to represent all the alcohol-related deaths and injuries.The staff had left the poster up because so many people had been interested, and horrified by it.


Billboards

 

One way of getting the message across that had been carried out in one district was having a large billboard with half a car on it, and a "don't drink-drive" message. This had been shifted from town to town.

 

Special Speakers

 

One strategy suggested was to engage people working the professional speaking circuit, preferably relevant sports heroes such as successful rugby and rugby league players, with someone from Health Waikato along as back-up, to speak to young people about drink-driving.It was thought it would be useful to talk to the under 19s, and under 21s at sports clubs at the beginning of the season.If the sports clubs were not prepared to co-operate, then coercion regarding future licence renewal could be applied.One drawback noted to this was that it would be difficult to get around all sports clubs because they were so numerous.One suggestion was to perhaps take sports club members to the speakers.

 

Police Campaigns

 

A number of suggestions were made regarding other activities police could undertake in reducing drinking and driving and the consequences of having a crash as well as enforcing drinking driving laws.These included the condition of cars on the road by improving enforcement of warrant of fitness regulations in an effort to reduce damage caused by a crash.Another suggested using a strategy observed when travelling in Australia, which was helicopter patrols ofhighways.Warning signs were posted such as, "the next 50K is patrolled by air."

 

Rewards

 

One respondent suggested that instead of having such heavy focus on punitive measures, that positive reinforcement be used in some way.One example she gave was if there was not a beer tent at a local event, then the community board got some extra money in its coffers, or some form ofreward. Similarly if a rugby club did not have alcohol at even one after match function, they received a reward. Rewarding people if they have been driving for ten years and have not had a crash was another idea.

 

Breath Monitors and Breathalyse Testing Machines

 

One respondent suggested having an ignition interlock device in cars which interrupted the starting circuit until the driver's breath was tested for the level of alcohol.The vehicle could only start if there was no alcohol or a very low level of alcohol on the driver's breath.Having a breathalyser testing machine meter in licensed premises so that patrons could test themselves to check that it was alright to drive was suggested.One drawback considered was that it might become a drinking game to drink as much as possible up to the limit, rather than as a safety check.

 

Some respondents believed that listening to young people could be a good source of ideas about how to reduce and prevent drink-driving in the community and that everybody in the community should have an opportunity to be heard.

 


ALCOHOL ADVERTISING AND REDUCING DRINKING

 

 

In the course of the interviews several respondents from different locations mentioned they thought alcohol advertising on television worked against attempts to reduce drinking and driving because of the positive messages the advertisements gave about alcohol.They were seen to be well made and attractive advertisements, appealing to and noticed by young people especially.

 

††††††††††† "If you watch T.V., you'll find the Warriors and DB sitting there. They are not advertising DB, but the DB logo is sitting there. So what's that telling the kids?You've got to be brawny and DB is the one to do it for you. On the one hand you have got the Road Safety Council with their ads, and you've got the alcohol ads as well."

 

††††††††††† "The one I have a very strong view on is the one in the hotel and talent quest. I would have to be one of the mostpunchy adverts that I know. And it catches you, because you hear the kids saying, "I like that advert" ... And how can we go to the rugby clubs and say, 'tone it down'? And we look at just about every advert that's alcohol-related, it's related to football."

 

These respondents thought alcohol advertising on television should be banned, particularly one said, in order to enable health promotion advertisements such as those supplied by ALAC to have more effect,One respondent said:

 

††††††††††† "It is a lot easier to sell something than to stop somebody buying it."

 

Another said,

 

††††††††††† "I think there needs to be some kind of promotion - smoke-free is good, alcohol-free is just as good. You don't need alcohol. I think some of the advertisements by the Alcohol Liquor Advisory Board, the "say when" and those type of things - the kids are aware of those messages, so that needs to be upped.But I really do think that alcohol should be banned from being connected with sporting heroes and people like that, quite frankly."

 

One respondent believed that strategies at the local level needed to be supported nationally by clear government policy and direction.The introduction of alcohol advertising was a double message about reducing alcohol-related problems.

 

††††††††††† "Like from national Policing Headquarters, from the Government. The Government needs to be quite clear that they're either going to reduce alcohol abuse or they're going to support it. And I believe that alcohol advertising is an issue in there. They need to be quite clear, enough of this double message stuff.If they've got vested interest, admit to that, and let's get on.But I thing there needs to be some clear directions from legislative levels."

 


COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR ACTION ON DRINKING AND DRIVING ISSUES

 

 

There were a range of answers to a question about whether interviewees thought there was support within the community at large to take action on drink-driving issues.Most respondents thought there was or would be support for action on drinking and driving, although they thought the extent varied.Some believed that there was little or no support.Some thought that there would be support if the community came to see drink-driving as an issue of importance (for example, if there was a serious alcohol-related crash involving locals).Some believed that there was some support for the police to take action.Others believed that there was support, but that some form of leadership was needed.Some thought that there was support, based on the hardening of people's attitudes towards drinking and driving.

 

Identification of individuals and groups to take action

 

Respondents were asked, "Who are the people who could take action in your community on drink-driving?"In some locations, only a few groups or types of people were mentioned as being able to take action, but in other locations a wide range were suggested.A broad number of community based structures and organisations, and organisations, occupational groups and specific strategies were mentioned.Some mentioned the need for a multi-sectoral approach.

 

Respondents suggested local newspapers, police, medical practitioners, community health and alcohol and drug workers, CAAPs, schools, teachers and counsellors, groups such as students against Driving Drunk (SAAD), the Automobile Association, organisations such as service clubs (e.g. Lions, Rotary), Grey Power, RSA and St John's Ambulance, Victim's Support District Licensing Agencies and businesses were suggested as sectors and groups that could be involved.

 

There was a belief expressed by some that there were only small pockets of support in the community, and that it required either a specific person, or a specific group of people to pick up an issue and galvanise the community into action.For example what was needed to begin was somebody to stand and say:

 

††††††††††† "Listen, this is what we are going to do, now let's get together and work out a plan."

 

Having someone paid to work on drinking and driving and related issues was seen as very supportive for people within a community.

 

††††††††††† And then we've always had here for some years, I've forgotten her name but- who works in community health, ...when we have promotions....she runs them and she runs promotions down at the pub, she's always been very active...so that's been quite supportive for people."

 

Some respondents believed that there was support for the police to take action.However, in some cases this "support" was described as the community "leaving it to the police."

 

A police officer, when answering the question about whether there was support within the community to take action on drink-driving, said he believed that in general people saw drink-driving as something that had to be policed, but if one of their kin were caught most would say "why aren't the police out catching burglars."

 

Some thought the police would play a pivotal role but there needed to be more than that:

 

††††††††††† "Obviously, the police have got to be at the forefront of it. I see the real improvement in alcohol is going to be a long, long struggle and if it's ever going to be achieved, it's going to take many years. And that's because I think until people can start getting a community and society attitude where they care for each other again, where, where they look after each other as neighbours, then we're always going to have the problems we're having."

 

Providers of host responsibility courses and local Liquor Liaison committees were also seen as groups that were already taking effective action inplaces where these groups had formed.

 

One respondent believed that people who were role models for the young could take action in the way that they behaved with alcohol.This included teachers, and committee members of sports clubs by very publicly drinking obvious non-alcoholic drinks.One teacher believed that it was now more expected of teachers to be good role models, that it was important to be consistent, and make sure that one's actions matched what one was saying.It was no good saying do not drink and drive, and then be seen having a few beers, helped down the steps at the rugby club and then driving away.

 

One respondent, in a location where there had been alcohol-related crashes involving young people, believed that some parents would support action being taken on drink-driving.Parents were mentioned as a very concerned group by some respondents.

 

††††††††††† "I think the parents of teenage children are concerned....I think a lot of parents are almost paranoid about it.Very worried...the parents who come to parent-teacher meetings are concerned - mind you that's only a small proportion."

 

Several respondents thought there were limited financial and human resources for tackling issues such as drinking and driving.The same people were often on numerous committees, thus whoever was approached in one organisation might turn out to also be a key person in other related/relevant organisations.Some respondents thought it would be difficult to motivate community energy for tackling drinking and driving because of the limited pool of people.Constraints on people's time and energy were mentioned as important to consider, especially as some people believed that action had to be carried out over a long time, and required multiple linked approaches (rather a single strategy).This could mean that there are in actuality only a small number of people in a position to take action on any community issue.

 

††††††††††† "You'll do a committee thing and you'll get half a dozen people but you can see that they're on half-dozen other things.And a lot of us have pulled out of a lot of things, mainly because its just too tiring.There's not the resourcing there, and the energy - it's just too much."

 

It was also noted that women who traditionally had undertaken a lot of voluntary work in communities and campaigned on issues, were less available because more women in rural areas had jobs in town.

 

One respondent thought that there were people in the community who would like to take action, but that they may be more wary and reluctant to get involved than they used to be not only because of time but also because people had been campaigning unsuccessfully on many issues.They had already put a great deal of energy into a variety of other issues such as fighting loss of rural hospitals and other health services over the years.There was a perception they were not listened to and the result was unsupportive policy, implemented at national level.

 

††††††††††† "We're a community that's battled for a long time. We've battled mining on the Peninsular, we've battled health cuts on the Peninsular, we've battled losses of hospitals, and people are really tired. They've battled and battled and battled, and even when the majority of people were on the same track, we still lost. And sometimes you get that sort of cynicism, 'Well, what's the point?'Look at alcohol advertising, 93% of the people in this country wanted alcohol advertising banned.So what do we get? We get alcohol advertising. You know, people aren't silly, they're not going to waste their energy, they might as well go fishing for the day and have some pleasure in life, because then at least we're getting returns for it.So I think the Government has some responsibility in there."

 

This respondent who was paid to work on community health issues was now very careful about starting new projects, and made sure that there would be funding for them.She was concerned about the lack of resources for health promotion and community development initiatives.

 

††††††††††† "One of my concerns about health promotion at the moment is that the Government loves this.They've found out about community development and they think every promotion should be community development.But they're actually not willing to put the resources in.So I'm actually really careful about projects I start.If they're not going to be funded, then I'm not going to do it, because I'm not going to put another weight and another drain on the community."

 

Several respondents commented that any specific campaign or approach on reducing drinking and drinking had to be done in a way which would work alongside local people and organisations.It was thought there was no point in preaching to people, and that nobody would take much notice ofpublic meetings held by for example, Rotary.Local people were sick of people coming and telling them what was wrong and what was right.It was important to work alongside people.

 

Some respondents thought the best way to educate people was through their friends, strangers were no good, it needed to be someone with whom the recipient grew up, or was in some way familiar with.It was important that people taking action could relate to the location and the individuals in it, that such people had to be confident with talking with locals, and able to do so at their level.One believed it was no use sending "townies" in.

 

††††††††††† "Like anybody that comes into the town with a suit and tie on, they immediately think he's either a bloody cop or he's from some government department or whatever, and they shut off, don't want to know anything about it."


DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

 

Rural communities suffer a disproportionate number of fatal alcohol-related road crashes.†† Research indicates a significant number are domiciled in rural areas (Bailey, 1995).However there was a different perception amongst a few of the respondents from the sectors of police, health, licensed premises, district licensing agencies and community organisations interviewed for this study.They believed the majority of people killed or injured in crashes tended to be non-locals such as tourists and holiday makers, unfamiliar with road conditions.Analysis of local drink-drive statistics in at least one community during the interviews revealed locals were most of the fatal road crash victims, contrary to initial perception.Just over half of these were noted as alcohol related.

 

In other communities where major highways were involved, non-locals did feature significantly in fatalities, compared to local people.This suggests that there will be differences in rural locations as to the proportion of fatalities in which residents are killed or injured.In any case there are factors contributing to local deaths which require attention.For communities wanting to raise the profile of drinking and driving issues, an useful initial step will be to examine their local data sources to find out the incidence of local involvement in crashes.Some localities had done or were intending doing this.

 

The interviews indicated considerable concern amongst the respondents about the impact of alcohol-related traffic crashes on their communities.Individual and community wide initiatives were being taken to reduce the likelihood of drinking and driving and the risk of being caught, or of being in a crash.These included the use of alternative transport by individual drinkers, police checkpoints, last drink surveys, CAAPs and SADD initiatives, host responsibility training courses and education courses in schools.

 

Many interrelated factors affect the incidence of drinking and driving in rural communities.Strategies to reduce that incidence and reduce crashes will need to address these factors for any significant chance of long term success.As was suggested by the respondents, a broad range of strategies that are co-ordinated, long term and well resourced are likely to meet with more success than reliance on only a few short term approaches.

 

Effective action on drinking and driving in rural communities, like action on other alcohol issues in other contexts, should include efforts to shape the environment in which drinking and driving occurs.It should also include initiatives which will focus on longer term organisational and structural change rather than focusing mostresources and efforts on trying to change an individual's behaviour.It is easier for individuals to change their behaviour if they are in an environment that is supportive of that change.

 

The Ottawa Charter for health promotion provides one useful framework in which efforts to reduce alcohol related crashes in rural communities ( and in other communities) can be developed.The five elements of building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing skills and reorienting health services cover a range of strategies which could be employed.

 

Many of the strategies are those that affect drinking and driving in urban as well as rural settings.They include strategies that influence individuals' attitudes, perception and behaviour in deciding about drinking and driving; strategies which affect the drinking environment; and strategies which enable communities to support and reinforce their members' decisions to not drink and drive over the limit.

 

 

 

Police enforcement of compulsory breath testing and blitzes

 

Increasing and maintaining people's perception that they are highly likely to be detected and stopped by police if they drink and drive has been shown to be an effective deterrent and to led to a decline in alcohol-related fatalities (Homel 1988).This includes drink drive blitzes and CBT.

 

Drink drive blitzes were considered effective only in the short term.Compulsory breath testing was mentioned as having lead to a decline in drinking and driving in the communities when it was first nationally promoted.However once it was perceived that it was unlikely a driver would be stopped, respondents indicated it no longer worked and drinking and driving rose again.CBT has been shown to be highly effective in those Australian states which have adopted it.Fatal crash levels dropped 22%, while alcohol-involved traffic crashes dropped 36% and these random checks occur sufficiently frequently in the Australian states which have adopted them that the probability of being checked during a 12 month period is one in two for a male driver (Homel, 1988).

 

Homel argues that the key to CBT as a strategy is its deterrent effect, that it is the perception that a driver has a high chance of being detected, which reduces the incidence of drinking driving. The key ingredients to reinforce that deterrent effect are well resourced and ongoing visibility of police enforcement, backed by an ongoing high profile media campaign.Improving the resourcing and implementation of CBT along the lines of the Australian experience is likely to be effective in significantly decreasing the alcohol related road toll.

 

A national television campaign on CBT will reach both rural and urban areas but needs to be backed by frequent and visible police checkpoints in both settings to reinforce the deterrent effect.Fewer police officers in rural areas indicates some adaptation isnecessary to the strategy, with either bringing in more staff or using existing resources.There may be drawbacks to having a short term increase in police numbers to carry out blitzes or a programme of CBT checkpoints.Respondents indicated they felt it was less effective to have bursts of policing activity compared to ongoing activity, because drivers adjusted their drink driving behaviour for a short time only, knowing it was going to be necessary only for that blitz period.†††

 

Unless policing levels are increased in rural areas on a permanent basis, another longer term, and therefore potentially more effective strategy is to investigate using existing police resources and adapting the use of checkpoints to rural locations.This was being done in at least one of the communities.Itmeant adapting the hours of work to enable police to be on the roads over the late evening and early morning period to cover closing hours.This would also mean the perception that 1am is the end of policing in rural communities, and it's safe to drive after that time, is less able to be relied upon.The initiative also included frequently moving the checkpoints from one spot to another on the same policing occasion, to circumvent the 'bush telegraph' which warned locals of checkpoints.This might also reduce the use of planned alternate routes as another way of avoiding checkpoints.

 

The role of the bush telegraph in essentially sanctioning and contributing to drinking and driving by locals, is an example of the importance of taking a range of strategies.Policing activity in operating CBT checkpoints is only one element in reducing injuries and fatalities and needs community support and reinforcement, particularly when police staff numbers are low and demands on their personal resources are considerable.Publicity in local community media and other venues about the possible consequences of using the bush telegraph to avoid being caught, (for example if an individual was later involved in a crash), may bring community based pressure to bear on those using it and reduce its use.There are other examples where community wide publicity, using media advocacy for example, may contribute to reducing practices that reinforce the perception 'it's alright to drink and drive as long as you don't get caught' or to 'beat the police.'The reported practice of arrested drinking drivers nominating other premises as the last place of drinking to protect their own favourite drinking place, is another which could be subject to community wide sanctions.

 

Using a broad range of strategies

 

This and other examples illustrate the importance of taking into account a broad range of factors in planning for effective and long term action. A major focus on one strategy can lead to ignoring other elements of the equation with serious consequences.For example, although respondents supported the concept of designated drivers and other alternative transport options such as courtesy vans, a major reliance on this as a strategy without taking into consideration other factors is likely to be counterproductive and could contribute to serious crashes.One of the drawbacks of the designated driver option is that its use can encourage the non-driver members of the party to drink as much as they like, because someone sober will drive them home.However this may contribute to a crash as respondents noted.Illustrations of problems with the use of designated drivers included a sober designated driver being rendered to the passenger seat, when one of the party who had been drinking insisted on driving, and another being distracted by drunk passengers.Both cases led to fatal crashes.

 

It has been pointed out that designated driver/life saver options should not be used as an alternative to strategies such as host responsibility or server intervention which focus on the drinking environment and serving practices (Mosher 1991).The role of publicans, managers, bar staff, sports club committee members or friends in serving alcohol is a crucial element in whether alternative transport options are a safe and effective strategy.Serving alcohol to the extent that passengers become drunk is clearly an activity with risk associated with it in terms of drinking and driving.The consequences of drinking and driving is also only one alcohol related problem with which communities have to contend.A major reliance on this strategy without acting on other contributing factors may result in other problems such as alcohol-related violence.

 

The use of courtesy vans was mentioned as a viable option in rural communities, but again similar issues need to be considered in terms of the level of drinking of those who patronise the vans.Drinking passengers were sometimes dropped off and used their private cars to drive the rest of the way home.Happy hours and cheap prices of alcoholic drinks were promoted in one licensed premises which also ran courtesy buses.These practices need to be restricted if the level of drinking which may make it more likely a crash will occur, is to be reduced.

 

Enforcement of liquor licensing legislation is another important element as many respondents pointed out.Research has demonstrated that proactive policing of licensing legislation can lead to a reduction in alcohol related offences and harm, including drinking and driving offences (Jeffs and Saunders, 1983). This involved low key, friendly but frequent and visible visits to premises to reinforce the message to licensees, staff and patrons, that the police were serious about enforcing the law in relation to intoxication and underage drinking.This strategy resulted in a 20% decline in alcohol related offences in a resort town which had previously been beset by problems with alcohol related disorder over summer months.

 

Some police respondents gave examples of similar policing strategies they were undertaking in their communities.Other officers thought it was difficult to justify the time in undertaking such policing with limited staff, perceiving that the incidence of drink driving related crashes also did not warrant it.However there were reports of a significant number of unreported alcohol-related crashes in rural areas, indicating there may be more of a problem than is at first obvious.It would also seem a cost effective initiative for police to undertake, given also the likely payoff in terms of reduction of police time involved in alcohol related incidents that have been noted as another benefit of proactive policing in this area (Jeffs and Saunders, 1983).Certainly other members of the communities thought a more visible presence of police in licensed premises would be an effective deterrent, including in sports clubs which were perceived to not often be visited.

 

Young people and drinking and driving

 

The use of alcohol by young people, in the age range of early teens to mid twenties, was frequently mentioned.Two groups within this age range were noted.The first with favourable attitudes towards heavy use of alcohol, both male and female and from early teens.Young men in this group were seen most at risk of having a crash through the combination of heavy consumption and speed.The second group was young people who had strong anti drinking and driving attitudes and used strategies to avoid drinking and driving, including use of designated drivers.Their concern was seen as often motivated because of knowing someone in their age group who had been killed in a crash, or fear of losing their licence.

 

What to do in relation to youth and drinking and driving presented dilemmas for some in the communities.Limited entertainment opportunities meant alcohol was often a focus, with young people drinking at licensed outlets such as pubs and sports clubs, nightclubs and atprivate occasions such as keg parties.Social and drinking and driving by young people worried respondents because of the distances driven, the speeds on fast, open roads, especially in the Waikato and Hauraki Plains, and the amount of alcohol consumed.Drinking occasions for young usually involved moving from place to place on the one occasion for fun and 'something to do'.This could be between outlets, between towns or town and major cities.

 

It was often considered better to have young people present and allowed to drink on licensed premises under some form of supervision, than drinking in places with no controls.Lack of local entertainment opportunities for young people was perceived as a factor in parental tolerance of teenagers drinking alcohol.However concern was expressed about the amount of alcohol consumed by young people in some premises, particularly in rugby sports clubs with young sports teams.Some clubs had tightened their practices in providing food and not serving alcohol,but others were considered to encourage heavy drinking through drinking games and normative heavy drinking behaviour of adults.The role of parents in supplying alcohol for keg parties was also of concern.

 

Reducing the risk of drinking and driving and related crashes amongst young people living in rural areas is a complex issue. It involves factors such as an age when risk taking is frequent and enjoyable, there is a high degree of socialising and reliance on own cars and for young men, an attraction to fast powerful vehicles.Drinking alcohol is a major rite of passage to adulthood especially for young men.Strategies will include those already mentioned such as promoting host responsibility strategies at public and private venues, reducing heavy drinking on licensed premises through stopping service and enforcement of the licensing law, and operating compulsory breath testing.Enforcing the law on underage drinking will also contribute to reducing crashes.Reducing the age to eighteen suggested by most respondents who commented on this, could see an increase in fatalities around this age, based on overseas experience (O'Malley and Wagenaar 1991).For that not to happen considerable and ongoing effort would need to be put into strict enforcement of the age limit and other preventative measures such as CBT.Other strategies such as using media to reinforce messages around the issue of drinking and driving should be developed in consultation with young people living in rural communities.

 

Many people and organisations in the ten rural communities have developed personal and community wide initiatives to reduce alcohol related crashes which could be implemented in other localities. Other ideas were suggested by respondents which could be further explored.Many of those in operation or suggested draw on existing opportunities such as enforcing the law on intoxication, or collaborating with other statutory agencies in liquor licensing liaison groups and will be effective in urban contexts as well.

 

Community based action is more effective ifreinforced by supportive public policy at national level.Some concern was expressed around the role of television alcohol advertisements in working against attempts to reduce crashes, particularly amongst teenagers and other young people, because of such advertisements appealing imagery and sophistication.The national policy decision which permitted alcohol advertising on television was not considered supportive of community based attempts to take action.In developing efforts to reduce crashes the influence of policies such as this need to be further considered.

 


 

References

 

 

Abel, S, Wyllie A, Panapa, A Casswell, S (1993) Stakeholders' Perceptions of Host Responsibility, University of Auckland: Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit.

 

Bailey JPM (1995) A Study of Drinking and Driving in Rural Areas, A report tothe Alcohol Advisory Council, Porirua: Environmental Science and Research Ltd.

 

Fairweather JR and Campbell H (1990) Public Drinking and Social Organisation in Methven and Mt. Somers, Research Report no. 207, Lincoln: Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit, Lincoln University.

 

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APPENDIX

 

INTERVIEW SCHEDULE FOR RURAL DRINK-DRIVING PROJECT

 

Interviewee.........................................................

Introduction

I'm here today to discuss with you the issue of drink-driving and alcohol-related crashes in rural areas.We want to find out whether drink-driving is a concern in your area, what you think the factors are that contribute to drink-driving, and your ideas about activities which would help address drink-driving in rural areas.

Before I go any further, I wantto remind you that I am taping the interview but your responses will be anonymous. We won't use your name or information which other people could identify you from.Do you have any questions or comments before we begin?

We would really value your personal and professionalviews to help us understand more about drink-driving.We want to know about your experiences and knowledge about drink-drivingin your community.That is, the rural areas around ...............(name town) as well as in ............(name town) itself.There are no right or wrong answers.

Q1.I know you're ..................(job/interest; organisation).Are you involvedin any other organisations that have an interest in drink-driving?IF YES, can you tell me a little about your involvement in ......................(organisation).

(1.)†† DRINKING PRACTICES IN THE COMMUNITY

Q2.Now I'd like you to give me a picture of your community and the use of alcohol in it.

(a)Where do most people drink?

PROBES:

Pubs, sports club,WHERE ARE THEY LOCATED? (workingmen's club,R.S.A., home, workplace social clubs, outside, cars.)

 

 

(a.ii)Could you tell me about what people drink at home? PROBES:Home Brew?

 

(b)Has there been an increase in the number of drinking venues, or changes in the type of venues in the last few years ?(since the 1989 Sale of Liquor Act )

 

.

(c) Have there been any changes in the opening hours?

 

 

(d) Are there any places that people know they can drink at outside of licensing hours?

PROBE: Do they move from place to place?

 

 

(e)Are there any special events or occasions where alcohol features in ..............(name of community)?

 

(f)How important do you think drinking is as part of the social activities that local people enjoy?††

Can you tell me why you say that?

 

 

(g)Are there groups that are more likely to be drinking alcohol?††

What about different age groups?

 

†† What about different socio-economic groups?

 

Are there any other groups?††

 

PROBES: FOR EACH GROUP - "CAN YOU TELL ME MORE...?

(h)Who are they with when they're drinking?

(i)Do you think there are any differences in men's use of alcohol in .............(name of community) compared to women?

(j)Do men and women drink and drive to the same extent?

(k)What about young people under 20, do they participate in drinking?††

PROBES:†† When?What occasions?Where?

 

(k.ii)†† Have there been any changes in economic factors in this rural area which have led to changes in drinking?

 

(l)Are there any seasonal differences connected with drinking in your area?Can you tell me about that?(Influxes of holiday makers; seasonal work)

PROBE:How about drink-driving ?

 

(m) What are the good things about alcohol for your community?††† Can you tell me a bit more about that?

(n) Do you think there are negative effects of alcohol for the community?Can you tell me more about that?

(o)Do local pubs or liqor outlets sponsor local activities?Can you tell me more about this?

 

What about local workingmen's clubs/RSAs?†† Can you tell me more about this?

 

(p)†† Does the liquor industry sponsor any local activities?Can you tell me more about this?

 

(q)Is alcohol ever sold to raise funds?†† Can you tell me more about this?

(r) What are the attitudes towards people who are non-drinkers?


 

(2.)DRINK-DRIVING PATTERNS AND LOCAL CONCERN

Now that you've given me the idea of the drinking patterns in your community, I 'd like now to turn to factors affecting drink-driving.

We would like to know about your general impressions of the level of drink-driving in rural areas:

Q3(a) First, to what extent does drink-driving occur in ..............(name of community)?††

What has given you this impression?

Q3(b) To what extent does over-the-limit drink-driving occurin.............?

What has given you this impression?

Q.4How does your community feel about the issue of drink-driving?

Why do you say that?

Q.4(a) How do you feel about the issue of drink-driving in your capacity as.....................(ROLE)?

Why do you say that?

Q.5†† Do you think there is support within the community at large to take action on drink-driving issues?††

Why do you say that?

Q.6Who are the people who could take action in your community on drink-driving issues?

Q. 7What are the best ways in your rural area to get the message across about not drink-driving?

 

 

 

 

Q.8†† What are the reasons you think people drink and drive in.............(name of community)?

 

Q.9Are there certain groups who do drink & drive?

If so, why do you think this particular group/s does?

Where do they drink?

Q.10Who doesn't drink and drive?

Q.11What are the community's attitudes to people who drink and drive?

Q.12Do you think there are rural factors which are special to ............ area(name of community) and the immediate surrounding area that contribute to drink-driving?†††

 

WHAT ARE THOSE FACTORS?††

 

Could you tell more about ..............(FACTOR/S)

 

NEXT Q FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LIVED URBAN TOO

Q.13†† Have you always lived in a rural area?IF NO, ASK: Have you noticed any differences between people's drinking, and drink-driving behaviour in urban areas versus this rural area?How do you explain those differences?

Q.14Do you think there is anything that stops people in your area from drink-driving?

Q.15Have youlived in different rural areas?IF YES ASK: Have you noticed any differencesin drinking patterns and drink-driving between rural areas?


 

(3.) DEALING WITH THE OUTCOMES/EFFECTS OF DRINK-DRIVING

Q.16Now, turning to the results of drink-driving, such as crashes, injuries and deaths.Do you think there factors which are special to the ................(name) rural areathat contribute these?††††

 

WHAT ARE THOSE FACTORS?††

 

Tell me more about...........(FACTOR/S)

 

Q.17(a) What about seat belt usage?

Q. 17(b) Is speed a factor?

Q.18What impact does the results (crashes, injuries, deaths, convictions) of drink-driving have on your community?†† (on families etc)

PROBE: What about costs to the community resulting from drink-driving crashes? (economic or other) What is it?

(4.) HOW TO PREVENT/REDUCE DRINK-DRIVING,CRASHES.

POTENTIAL STRATEGIES

Q.19†† Now I'd like to ask you about ways that you think drink-driving and alcohol-related crashes could be reduced or prevented in your area.What would be the best ways of reducing or preventing drink-driving in your area?.

FOR EACH IDEA, ASK:

(a) Could you tell me briefly one or two reasons why this would be effective in your rural area?

(b) Are there any barriers that would stop the strategy from being effective in your area?


 

CARDS

Now, I have some cards here.On each card there is astrategy aimed at preventing or reducing drink-drivingand crashes.†† Some of these might already be in place, and some won't be.†† What I want you to do is to look through the cards and sort them into these three boxes.†† The first box is for strategies that you think would be effective in your rural area.The second boxis for strategies that you think wouldn't be effective in your rural area.The third box is forstrategies you don't know enough about.

READ THE BOX TITLES AND CARDS NO.s INTO THE TAPE RECORDER.:

Q.20†† Now, starting with the first box tell me briefly for each of these one or two main reasons why they would be effective in your rural area.

Q.21Is there anything that really would be a drawback for any of these?

Q.22Turning to the second box, tell me briefly for each of these one or two main reasons why they wouln't be effective in your rural area.

Q.23Is there anything that would improve the effectiveness of any of these?

CARDS:

1. Last Drink Survey

2. Enforcing law re underage drinking

3. Enforcing law re intoxication on licensed premises

4. Local council restricting/banning alcohol e.g., on
†††††††† beaches, reserves.

5. Host Responsibility

†††††† -providing food

†††††† -providing non-alcoholic drinks

6. Designated Drivers Scheme/Lifesavers

7. Transport alternatives (such as taxis, vans, public
†††††††††† transport)

8. School education programmes about drink-driving

9. Driver education - professional driving instruction,
††††††† defensive driving courses

10. National publicity campaigns

11. Local community education and publicity campaigns

12. Community Alcohol Action Projects

13. Increasing the drinking age

14. Increasing the driving age

15. Increasing the price of alcohol


 

16. Community groups

†††††† e.g.,Students AgainstDriving Drunk (SADD) and
††††††††††††† Mothers Against Drink Driving (MADD).

17. Alternative social events with no alcohol involved

18. Drink-driving blitzes

19. Enforcing graduated driver's licence

20. Compulsory breath testing (CBT) or random breath
††††††† testing (RBT)

21. Increasing penalties for drink-driving e.g., fines, jail
††††††† sentences, car confiscation, licence loss

22. Treating alcohol problems

23. ID cards with photograph for proof of age

24. More speed cameras

25. Improving road conditions

Q.24 Are there any other strategies that I haven't asked you about that you think would be useful?†† IF ANY - ASK WHY WOULD BE EFFECTIVE; WHY WOULDN'T BE EFFECTIVE.

Q.25 Of ALL of the possible strategies, including those you mentioned earlier (REMIND Q19, Q7 ANSWERS) which ones would be the most promising for your community/area?

 

Why would these be the most promising?

Now, as we come to the end ofthis interview, I 'd like to thank you very much for your time and input given in participating in the research.I have just one short question left -

Q.26†† Is there anyone else in the community thatyou consider wereally should interview because of their interest/input in the area of drink-driving andalcohol-related crashes?NAME & HOW TO CONTACT .....................................................................................................

Thanks very much.