On the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the legal drink drive limit, both the RAC and PACTS have issued calls for the Government to take stronger measures to deter drink drivers.
The RAC is urging the Government to listen to the ‘overwhelming opinion of motorists’ on the back of a survey which suggests that 59% of drivers would support reducing the limit from 80mg of alcohol (per 100ml of blood) to 50mg.
The move would bring England and Wales in line with Scotland – where the lower limit was introduced in December 2014 – and Northern Ireland where plans are underway to introduce the lower limit.
In a new report published today (9 Oct), PACTS is calling for a more comprehensive approach that takes account of ‘resourcing realities’ and makes better use of ‘intelligence and technology’.
PACTS says breath testing by police has fallen to a 15-year low, and progress on reducing drink drive related crashes and casualties has stalled since 2010. The PACTS report emphasises the ‘importance of adequate levels of police enforcement and penalties for offenders’.
Introduced in October 1967, the landmark Road Safety Act set out the 80mg drink drive limit which still stands in England and Wales today. Since 1979 – when casualty stats were first published – the number of annual drink-driving related deaths has fallen from 1,640 to 200.
Jesse Norman, roads minister, said: “This is a remarkable milestone, and I am proud of the work this department has done to reduce the number of deaths from drink driving over the last 50 years.
“The change in attitudes to drink driving during this time has been profound, and there is little doubt that the introduction of the drink-drive limit helped to give us what remains one of the safest road networks in the world.
“There is still much further to go, but we are making good progress. Our THINK! campaigns should help to reduce the number of drink drive incidents even further.”
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: “Motorists are overwhelmingly in favour of reducing the current drink-drive limit in England and Wales to no more than 50mg as Scotland has already done and Northern Ireland is doing.
“50 years after the drink-drive limit became law, it is time for the Government to move with the times and fall in line with the large sway of other countries which enforce a 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood limit.”
David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said: “The past 50 years of drink drive progress are a road safety success. But after a long period in which drink drive deaths fell substantially, we have had a series of years of little or no change and declining enforcement.
“Surveys consistently show that road users are concerned about drink driving, want more roads policing and would support change. The report shows there is no magic bullet to solving drink driving and the government needs to use all levers at its disposal.”
Category: Drink driving.