Bogan mum Donna, in that latest drink-driving ad, pleadingly says: “You’re driving pissed too often, Darryl.”
Wait … “too often”? Hey? WTF?
I can’t work out why this ad hasn’t sparked some huge national kick-off about its message and been pulled from our screens.
Or maybe I’ve missed something and it’s now ok to drive hammered some of the time – just not every night of the week.
Weekends maybe, that seems fair. If children are running about on Queenstown roads after 7pm on Friday or Saturday night, they pretty much deserve to be run over. It’s just bad parenting. This is a party town after all, lock your kids in their rooms and get out on the piss like Darryl.
It certainly sometimes feels as if many believe that is the rule in Queenstown. There’s a pretty bad attitude towards drink-driving in the resort from locals and tourists – like it’s some misdemeanour, a way for the cops to act like mini-Hitlers, rather than completely unacceptable and a bit tragic.
I’ve heard the joke a few times now – who in Queenstown hasn’t got a drink-driving conviction?
Every time Queenstown District Court sits in full (fortnightly), about half the people in the dock are drink-drivers – and they must be a tiny percentage of the actual number on our roads.
It’s like factory farming – in one door, sheepish look from the blokes, tears from the ‘ashamed’ ladies, details from the police, excuses from the duty solicitor, a driving ban, a fine, a withering assessment of your habits and personal life from the judge – out the same door. Judges must be bored to tears, sitting through this every time.
And the excuses. “I thought I’d be ok” is the standard.
“I was only moving the car a few metres” is for the more inventive, and “My sober driver was drunk so I had to drive in the end” just shows you’re not really getting your head round this whole excuse thing.
Then there’s the bizarre: “I’m French, so it’s New Zealand’s fault for letting me drive on their roads” as one belligerent mademoiselle told Queenstown cops the other day. Oh s’il vous plait!
There are no excuses. Well maybe a couple – if a meteorite’s heading towards your farm and you have to get away, or your husband’s been acting weird and you look in the crawl space under your house, find 14 headless prostitutes wrapped in plastic, and now he’s coming towards you with an axe – then it might be ok to drive after a bottle of wine.
The only thing that seems to surprise the judges any more is the levels of stupidity. There was someone in Queenstown District Court a few weeks ago who admitted driving after drinking Jagerbombs. Jesus, Jagerbombs? Have a word with yourself.
If money is the root of all evil, alcohol is the root of a lot of stupidity. That’s the real problem.
After a drink people are more stupid and less inhibited. This is why the inference in the ad that it’s ok ‘some of the time’ is so damaging – an unbelievable own-goal after the hugely-successful ‘Stop a mate driving drunk … Bloody Legend’ ad.
Ok, so some people obviously have major problems. If you’re on your second drink-drive ban, facing jail and still even thinking about driving, you have an issue with substance abuse and need proper counselling and help.
But generally it’s just people being selfish and stupid – or thinking the drink-drive limit is arbitrary, rather than set after years of research. Or, like dead drink-drivers before them, they have the ability to drive drunk.
I propose separate drink-driving courts staffed by trainee judges and solicitors to free up
the system. Once you’ve given a breath alcohol reading over 400 micrograms per litre of breath, a ban and fine is automatic.
Then, a six-month alcohol ban to go with the driving ban, enforced by electronic wrist bands – pink for blokes, an un-accessorise-able tartan for girls – and it means you won’t be served in Queenstown pubs or bottle shops.