Let’s put a brake on drink driving

Brake has urged the government to lower the UK’s drink driving limit, an opinion shared by 77% of the public.

England and Wales have one of the highest drink drive limits in the world. Set 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, it is greater than the rest of Europe (with the exception only of Malta), as well as Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Lowering our drink drive limit to 50mg alcohol/100ml blood would reduce drink driving deaths by at least 10%.

Gary Rae, Brake’s director of communications and campaigns, said, ‘Drink driving remains one of the biggest causes of devastating road crashes; often young and inexperienced drivers and passengers are involved and frequently they are the tragic victims. We must continue to send a clear message to all drivers that drinking and driving is a lethal cocktail. It’s shocking to see how many crashes, many involving deaths and serious injuries, have involved men in their 20s. This call to action today is a useful stepping stone to a time when there is a zero alcohol limit.’

Katherine Brown, director at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said, ‘Recent decades have seen great improvements in road safety, but progress on drink driving has ground to a halt. With hundreds of lives lost each year, we can’t afford to let England and Wales fall behind our neighbours in road safety standards. It’s time the Government looked at the evidence and what other countries are doing to save lives and make roads safer. We need to make drink driving a thing of the past, and to do this we need a lower drink drive limit.’

There has been no reduction in the number of drink driving deaths since 2010, with drink driving causing 240 deaths and more than 8,000 casualties in the UK each year. This costs £800 million a year.

Scotland lowered its limit to 50mg in December 2014, and police figures showed a 12.5% decrease in drink-drive offences in the first nine months. Northern Ireland is set to lower its drink driving limit before the end of 2016.