50 vs. 80

Dropping blood alcohol limits from 80mg/l to 50 mg/l

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The above infographic is the first I’ve created for the Science Media Centre. Their aim is to promote accurate bias-free reporting on science and technology by helping the media to work more closely with the scientific community.

The Story Behind the Infographic

The New Zealand Government is considering a proposal to drop the maximum legal blood alcohol limit for driving from 80 mg/l to 50 mg/l.

New Zealand’s maximum limit is considered to be high, with many other countries having already adopted a 50 mg/l limit, or lower.   Yesterday, the SMC held a briefing on the subject, looking into the basics of blood alcohol, what the current limit allows, and what effect any changes would have on drinking behaviour.

Media coverage:

Dominion Post: Staggering drunks’ legal under NZ’s alcohol limit

New Zealand Herald: Kiwis push for lower drink limits (with their own accompanying graphic)

Otago Daily Times: Poll supports cutting alcohol level

Stuff/NZPA: Experts back proposal to cut blood alcohol limit

The Press: Medics join push to cut driver limit

Update: It has remained a hot topic in the media – still front page news in August 2010.

Earlier Design

Below is an earlier version of the graphic which was rejected. I prefer this vertical composition but at the time my client wanted the horizontal approach. The feedback from usability testing was that the colours didn’t represent the danger levels so I converted it to the traffic light colours (green, yellow-orange, red). I should have given consideration to colour-blind readers by using patterns within the colours, but simply ran out of time.