Government decision labelled ‘scary’ and ‘astonishing’

Alcohol safety experts have described the Department for Transport’s decision not to lower the drink driving limit in England and Wales as ‘scary’ and ‘astonishing’.

The Department for Transport has said it has no immediate plans to lower the limit in line with Scotland and Europe. However, this decision has drawn widespread critisism.

Suzannah Robin, an alcohol safety expert at AlcoDigital who works with local authorities and councils to implement their alcohol testing policies for staff, said, ‘We are astonished and frustrated that the Department for Transport chooses to continue to isolate England and Wales from having safer roads and experiencing fewer drink-drive related deaths.

‘Given the unity across Europe, where every country has now reduced the drink-drive limit to the same as Scotland’s, it has been proven over and over again that a lower drink-drive limit significantly improves road safety and reduces drink-drive related deaths yet the Department for Transport continues to ignore this.’

Scotland decreased its drink-drive limit in line with other European countries in December 2014 and has seen drink-drive offences fall by 12.5% as a result, dropping from 4,208 to 3,682 compared with the same period the previous year.

Suzannah added, ‘It is a scary thought that the drink-drive limit in England and Wales is the highest in Europe for not only private drivers but also commercial drivers who are permitted to operate vehicles such as HGVs and buses at a level four times higher than the rest of Europe.

‘Although we support the government’s focus on rigorous enforcement for drink-drivers we cannot ignore the facts – there are still too many deaths from drink-driving in England and Wales and too many families are suffering the consequences of losing loved ones. By not reducing the drink-drive limit The Department for Transport is effectively playing with people’s lives.’