Saturday, December 21, 2013

How not to allocate scarce resource?

Last night, the 20th of December, the Ministry of Transport breath tested 2,584 drivers in pursuit of drink driving offenders. Result? Zero – no cases found at all.

Yes – part of the reason a zero result turned up is likely to have been the incentives created by the fact that drivers “might” be screened. However it is equally likely – and road toll trends support the hypothesis – that the message has and is sinking in.

The cost of such a mission can only be guessed at. Given scarce resources a reasonable question becomes “is large scale breath testing an optimal use of the time, energy and funds.”

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