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Road Safety GB backs leaked North Report

Monday 7th June 2010

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Sir Peter North has recommended cutting the drink-drive limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Sir Peter North has submitted his report on the issue but the DfT said no decision had been made on whether to change existing laws.

The Telegraph report says anyone caught above the new limit would face an automatic 12-month driving ban, even if they were only just over the threshold.

The paper also claims Sir Peter has recommended random breath testing of motorists, removing the right to a second breathalyser test at a police station, a 20mg alcohol limit for inexperienced drivers, and a new offence of driving with an illegal substance in the bloodstream at levels deemed impairing.

Sir Peter's report was commissioned last December by Labour Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, but will now be considered by his coalition successor Philip Hammond.

Commenting on the Telegraph report, James Gibson, Road Safety GB press & PR officer, said: "If the facts reported by the Telegraph are correct, Road Safety GB welcomes the findings of Sir Peter North following his review of drink and drug driving laws.

"Road Safety GB supports the principle of tightening the UK's drink and drive laws. Driving under the influence of alcohol is directly responsible for hundreds of deaths on our roads each year, yet the UK currently has one of the most lenient alcohol limits in Europe.

"Even a small amount of alcohol can impair a driver's judgment, impact on reaction times and affect their ability to concentrate. A reduction in the alcohol limit would make many drivers rethink their current behaviour and encourage more motorists to abstain from alcohol completely if they're driving. This has to be the way forward.

"We look forward to seeing the detail of the report and the new government's official response. They are right to take time to fully consider the recommendations but we hope that they take the advice of experts and move forward with new measures to save more lives on our roads."

Click here to read the full BBC News report.

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In Victoria, campaigns against speeding and drink-driving were
introduced about the same time as the bicycle helmet law. A
medical journal reported that accident costs were reduced by an
estimated £100M for an outlay of £2.5M.[7]
see, page 2, Head Injuries and Helmet Laws in Australia and New Zealand
http://www.cyclehelmets.org/papers/c2022.pdf
Colin at York

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see
http://www.ias.org.uk/resources/papers/europe/phproject/drinkdriving-conclusions.pdf

1. RISKS OF DRINKING AND DRIVING
The risk of drinking and driving increases
with both the amount of alcohol
consumed and the frequency of high
volume drinking occasions,with impairment
in driving skills beginning with
any departure froma zero blood alcohol
level (BAL). Comparison of BALs of drivers
in accidents with the BALs of drivers
not involved in accidents find that male
and female drivers at all ages who had
BALs between 0.2g/l and 0.49g/l had at
least a three times greater risk of dying
in a single vehicle crash.The risk increased
to at least 6 times with a BAL
between 0.5g/L and 0.79g/L and 11 times
with a BAL between 0.8g/l and 0.99 g/L.
Colin at York

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If the leaked report is true, it is certainly a welcome step in the right direction, and a long awaited call from RSGB. We are all no doubt aware of the issues surrounding a zero 'legal' drink driving limit, but having a lower level would send out a clear message of how easy it could be to be over the 'new' limit, how easy it is to be impaired and consequently how dangerous it is to drive even on one drink.
David Northampton

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