50 vs. 80

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

[+] Enlarge

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.

6 responses to “50 vs. 80”

  1. Zef Avatar

    I’m told that the infographic was featured with this article in the print edition of the Taranaki Daily News.

  2. Zef Avatar
  3. harold lloyd Avatar

    Wow – I didn’t know I could drink 5 pints and still be legal! After that much booze in two hours I’m usually closer to spewing over a lap-dancer than driving a car. Will save me heaps in taxi-fares – thanks!

    1. Zef Avatar

      Harold – that’s why the current law is insane. I recommend you stick the the taxi. But I do have to admit, after learning about the legal limits I’m a bit more relaxed about having a drink before hitting the road (but no more than one drink).

  4. Vicky Avatar

    What this doesn’t also take into account is the weekly recommenced healthy alcohol intake – if I remember correctly, for women it’s 6 standard drinks *a week* – i.e. 4 glasses of wine. Always amazed to think that going to four events in a week and having a wine would push me over the limit! (Someone correct me if my stats are wrong).

  5. webweaver Avatar

    Interesting – I definitely prefer the vertical layout (your original design) – for me, it’s much easier to instantly understand.

    I think it’s because graphically I can picture the glasses stacked on top of each other (which for some reason makes the columns much easier for me to compare at a glance) and the “liquid level” in the half-full ones is correct – horizontal – instead of in the final design where it’s vertical.

    That seems to make far more sense to me…

    I wonder why they chose the horizontal layout instead – was it a space thing, or does it match some existing artwork they already use or something?