Survey highlights ‘growing public demand’ for lower drink-drive limit
A new survey by Brake has indicated ‘a growing public demand’ for the Government to reduce the drink-drive limit, according to the road safety charity.
Published today (12 Dec), 78% of respondents to the survey expressed their belief that the existing drink-drive limit is too high, while 54% think the limit should be reduced to an effective zero tolerance limit of 20mg/100ml.
The survey also suggests that eight in 10 drivers think their driving is affected at around the current drink drive limit or below, while more than 40% of respondents said their driving ability is affected by just one unit of alcohol.
The drink-drive limit in England in Wales, which was set in 1965, currently stands at 80mg alcohol/100ml blood. In 2014, Scotland lowered its drink-drive limit to 50mg/100ml - bringing it in line with the rest of Europe (with the exception of Malta), and Northern Ireland is currently consulting with a view to moving to the lower limit.
In October, a coalition of road safety stakeholders, emergency services and health experts issued a call for the Government to reduce the drink-drive limit in England and Wales.
However, last week transport secretary Chris Grayling confirmed the Government had no intention to lower the limit, suggesting doing so would divert police attention to the ‘wrong offenders’.
Brake points to statistics which show that one in eight (13%) road deaths on the United Kingdom’s roads are caused by drink-driving. The charity also says this figure is in line with evidence that even 20-50mg/100ml alcohol in your blood makes you at least three times more likely to be killed in a crash - a key reason why it is calling for a zero tolerance drink-drive limit.
Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns, said: “Drink-driving, despite being more socially unacceptable, is still a major issue on our roads, especially as our current, legal drink-drive limit in England and Wales is the highest in Europe. This sends a confusing message and asks drivers to guess if they are under the limit.
“Equally confusing is the stance of secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling, who said that the drink-drive limit wouldn’t be cut to penalise motorists for ‘having a glass of wine at the pub’.
“Cutting the drink-drive limit would be putting road users’ safety first and the reality is that a small amount of alcohol can impair your driving, as the evidence shows.”
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