Driving is a skill not to be taken lightly. Part of it is to follow the basic rules and laws of the road, which are there to make driving safe. Christians, as well, as others could do well to take this on board. Apart from alcohol, drugs and other substances causing deaths and accidents, it is often the simple fact that drivers become too relaxed, especially those who have been driving a while. In particular, there is one bad habit that is quite common and that is the use of only one hand in driving. People tend to forget that one’s reaction is often not quick enough to avoid an accident, especially when only using one hand, and the unexpectant happens. This also applies to people who eat, drink, smoke or use a mobile while driving. In the case of using mobile phones, it is actually illegal in the UK. May I encourage, in particular Christians, to take driving seriously, for even Jesus is interested in how you drive as an example of good behaviour, and a witness to others. Just think what Jesus would say if He was a passenger in your vehicle!
Once again the Christmas season is nearly upon us – a time for spending on presents, food and drink. But what for?
In the Christmas story, we have the shepherds who came to see Jesus. They were the ‘outcasts’ of Jewish society. When they found the baby Jesus, they just simply worshipped Him. They did not bring any gifts – I said, they did not bring any gifts, just themselves.
Then there were those ‘important’ people from the east, from a long, long way away. They did bring gifts. But they were very special gifts, full of ‘symbolic’ meaning’. Myrhh, Frankincense and Gold.
Myrhh is an oil used in the preparation of a burial – thus symbolising Jesus’ death.
Frankincense is a resin used as a perfume – a symbol of life that Jesus brings.
Gold is a symbol of the kingship of Jesus.
So today a gift, in my mind, should be something spontaneous and special for a one off occasion, so that there is meaning and a uniqueness about it. Examples of occasions for gifts are the passing of a driving test, an appreciation of someone for no particular reason, a demonstration of one’s love for someone, something to help a stranger.
Hence the importance of something creative and small, something that a lot of thought has gone into its selection.
That will mean a huge cultural change, but it would help in making Christmas a focus on Jesus and not on ourselves. Who is going to make the first move?
To help reduce the number of accidents and carbon dioxide emissions, the following maximum speed limits should be put in place;
- Motorways and dual carriageways – 100 km/h;
- Major ‘A’ Roads – 90 km/h;
- Other main roads – 80 km/h;
- ‘B’ roads and dual carriageways in built-up areas – 70 km/h;
- Minor roads – 60 km/h;
- Built-up areas – 50 km/h.
Also, all vehicles should have installed:
- A speed restrictor which prevents them from travelling more than 110 km/h;
- A Tachograph, which shows if a driver has not had at least a twenty minute break every two hours of continuous driving.
If one breaks the speed limit, the driver is fined as follows:
- Up to 10 km/h over the limit – £100.00;
- Up to 20 km/h over the limit – £150.00 plus one point on one’s driving licence;
- Up to 30 km/h over the limit – £200.00 plus two points on one’s driving licence;
- Up to 40 km/h over the limit – £250.00 plus three points on one’s driving licence;
- Up to 50 km/h over the limit – £300.00 plus four points on one’s driving licence;
- Over 50 km/h over the limit – £350.00 plus five points on one’s driving licence.
The points are to remain on the licence for five years. If a total of ten points is accumulated, the licence is revoked for five years.
If one does not take a twenty minute break after two hours continuous driving, then one is to be fined £50.00.
Alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom, 2010:
- In 2010 there were 8,790 alcohol-related deaths in the UK, 126 more than in 2009 (8,664);
- There are more alcohol-related deaths in males than in females, with 67 per cent of all alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2010 being male;
- Alcohol-related death rates were highest for those aged 55-74 and lowest for those aged under 35 over the last ten years;
- UK males aged 55-74 years showed a sharp and statistically significant increase in alcohol-related death rate from 41.8 per 100,000 in 2009 to 45.2 per 100,000 in 2010.
Alcohol and crime: a snapshot
When it comes to crime, alcohol use has a big impact. Recent crime statistics show that:
- in 45 per cent of all violent crimes, the victims believed their attackers had been drinking
- 37 per cent of domestic violence cases involve alcohol
- in 2007-08, more than a million crimes involved alcohol use in some way
Source – ONS
- If drivers have any alcohol in their blood system, they are to be fined £1,000, plus costs, and have six points deducted from their licence;
- If drivers caused death whilst under the influence of alcohol, they are to be jailed for manslaughter, and have their driving licence revoked permanently;
- If drivers cause injuries to passengers or pedestrians whilst under the influence of alcohol, they are to fined £5,000, plus costs, sent to prison for at least 3 years, and have their licence revoked for five years;
- If non-drivers cause injuries to others, whilst under the influence of alcohol, they are to also to be fined £5,000, plus cost, and sent to prison for at least 5 years;
- Alcohol only to be sold in non-chain supermarkets at twice the cost price, as a minimum, and only to those over 18 years of age;
- Limits to be set as to how much alcohol can be bought at each visit to the retailer;
- Alcohol only to be served in licensed premises which meet certain criteria:
- No alcohol served after 10.00 pm;
- No alcohol served to anyone under 18 years of age;
- Only staff with an officially-recognised certificate to serve alcohol (see below)
- The licence is held by the premises, not the individual, and has to be renewed annually;
- All premises which wish to serve alcohol, must also serve a range of food;
- All intoxicated members of the public to be asked to leave the premises;
- All security staff to be registered by the local council and have been on an appropriate course, approved by the Government;
- If anyone is found intoxicated in a public area, they are to be fined up to £500.
All staff serving alcohol to members of the public, and at events held outside the home, must have a Certificate of Alcohol Awareness and Legal Status. This Certificate is to cover the following units:
- The law surrounding alcohol;
- An overview of the types and strengths of alcohol;
- Strategies in dealing with intoxicated and other difficult customers;
- Customer service standards;
- Health, Safety and well-being of staff and customers (including recognising allergic reactions to alcohol and food).
A regular media campaign is utilised to encourage sensible drinking.
As part of a wider drug-awareness programme in secondary schools, alcohol awareness is taught.
Dangers of Smoking
||Deaths in millions
||% of deaths
|Ischaemic heart disease
|Stroke and other cerebrovascular disease
|Lower respiratory infections
|Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
|Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers
|Road traffic accidents
Major causes of death
Q: How many people die every year?
During 2008, an estimated 57 million people died.
Q: What is the number one cause of death throughout the world?
Cardiovascular diseases kill more people each year than any others. In 2008, 7.3 million people died of ischaemic heart disease, 6.2 million from stroke or another form of cerebrovascular disease.
Q: Isn’t smoking a top cause of death?
Tobacco use is a major cause of many of the world’s top killer diseases – including cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer. In total, tobacco use is responsible for the death of almost one in 10 adults worldwide. Smoking is often the hidden cause of the disease recorded as responsible for death.
Source – World Health Organisation
See also http://myfinalsmoke.com/global-smoking-statistics-2016/#2016-global-smoking-statistics-and-trends
In 2014, 19% of adults in Great Britain currently smoked, down from a peak of 46% in 1974.
Average consumption among smokers was 11 cigarettes a day – the lowest daily cigarette consumption since the series began when it was 16.
In 2014, 18% of secondary school pupils reported they had tried smoking at least once. Hospital admissions
There were 1.7 million admissions for conditions that could be caused by smoking in 2014/15. This is an average of 4.7 thousand admissions per day.
Of these 475 thousand (28%) were estimated to be attributed to smoking. Deaths
There were 78,000 deaths in 2014 which were estimated to be attributed to smoking.
In 2015, 4% of adults in Great Britain were current e-cigarette users.
More secondary school pupils reported having tried e-cigarettes at least once (22%) than traditional cigarettes (18%). Expenditure
In 2015, tobacco was 27% less affordable than it was in 2005.
Tobacco expenditure as a proportion of total household expenditure has fallen to 1.7% in 2015 from 3.3% in 1985. Prescriptions
In 2014/15 the number of prescription items dispensed in England to help people stop smoking was 1.3 million, compared to 2.0 million ten years ago.
The net ingredient cost was £38.1 million.
Among pupils aged 11 to 15, in England, in 2009:
Three in ten pupils (29%), had tried smoking at least once and 6% were regular smokers (smoking at least one cigarette a week).
Girls were more likely to smoke than boys; 10% of girls had smoked in the last week compared with 8% of boys.
Costs of smoking, in the UK, in 2009:
£16.3 billion was estimated to be spent on tobacco in 2009.
Source – NHS/ONS
Although the UK Government has introduced a number of measures to reduce smoking, including its ban in public areas, smoke-cessation sessions and a media campaign, tobacco use is still too high. We need to take the campaign to the next stage. I would like to make a few suggestions:
- Put a tax on every individual cigarette of £0.50 and £2.00 per tobacco packet;
- Each cigarette is barcoded so it can be tracked – if non-barcoded versions sold, then the seller is fined £10,000. and barred from selling cigarettes in future.
- All businesses selling cigarettes and alcohol are registered and licenced by a national body.
- Allow smoking to only take place in the home;
- Tobacco is only available in non-chain stores and only to those over 21 years of age;
- There is an increase in appropriate staff to prevent a black market operating;
- An intensive programme in schools about the dangers of smoking, taking drugs and alcohol abuse is introduced;
- Continue the media campaign.