GEM calls on rest of UK to follow Scotland’s drink drive example

12.00 | 2 December 2014 | | 4 comments

GEM Motoring Assist has praised the Scottish Government for introducing a lower drink drive limit (as of 5 December) and is calling on the rest of the UK to follow this example.

The new limit brings Scotland into line with most of Europe, and Northern Ireland is considering making the same reduction. The limit in the remainder of the UK is 80mg, and GEM points out that the only other European country that shares this limit is Malta.

David Williams, GEM chief executive, said: “Research shows that reducing drink drive limits is effective in reducing deaths and injuries. What’s more, the move at this time of year brings a welcome opportunity to highlight the dangers of drinking and driving.

“There is sound logic and good research to back the reduction. For example, the introduction of a 20mg limit in Sweden reduced fatal crashes by 9.7%, with a 7.5% reduction in all crashes. Additionally, the lower limit reduced crashes among drivers who were the most serious drink-driving offenders. So even drivers causing accidents who were found to be well above the limit reduced after the introduction of the ban.

“It’s worth noting that even at the new, lower limit, you are three times more likely to die in a crash than if you had taken no alcohol.

“That’s why GEM has always supported the policy that if you need to drive, don’t drink any alcohol.”




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    Brake did actually talk some sense on ‘zero’ alcohol – pointing out that a 20mg BAC limit is the lowest practical limit if we are to avoid the pointless prosecution of drivers with trace amounts of alcohol.

    In terms of ‘evidence’ and ‘research’ – if you pay someone a salary, pension and give them a research grant, then they will find ‘evidence’ for anything – aliens, fairies at the bottom of the garden, trace amounts of alcohol causing mass destruction, etc – but they won’t find any proof.

    Paul Biggs, Staffodshire
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    Wrong…. the government has it wrong on this issue as I have stated my opinion before and the Scottish parliament is also wrong.

    Everywhere I turn and listen to the arguments about this latest issue has the authorities arguing that it is designed as a zero tolerance deterrent to alcohol. They say that this Act is a deterrent to the partaking of any alcohol at all….. it is not.

    It will still enable the general public to believe that they will not be guilty of any offence at such a low alcoholic intake. It fails to take into account Rod King’s argument with regards to cognitive behaviour being impaired whether tired or ill or not.

    So not much of a safety message there this Christmas from the powers that be.

    bob craven….. Space is Safe Campainer…
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    Being “sober” is being “unaffected by alcohol”. On any simple analysis, having “alcohol in one’s blood” is a clearly not being unaffected. The fact is that “sober” drivers are not criminalised by setting any maximum level of alcohol above zero.

    The idea that a 50mg limit is “unjust” to those drinking the night before fails to recognise that those who have been will probably also be coping with tiredness. And whilst the Mellanby Effect does mean that the physical skill impairment may show a different slope for rising and falling blood alcohol levels, this may not be the same for cognitive skills, risk asessment, concentration, etc. Couple this with potential sleep reduction/deprivation then there may be substantial next day impairment. As was reported by Schweizer and Vogel-Sprott:

    “We consider the occurrence of acute alcohol protracted errors in cognition long after speed has returned to normal to pose important threats to the safety of social drinkers.”

    The full text may be seen at:

    The problem of drivers above 80mg is a separate one and should not be conflated with issues around driver impairment at lower levels. In my mind the Scots and the rest of Europe has it right in its levels of tolerated alcohol levels.

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    Another gem from GEM. Actually, I think I’m correct in stating that Sweden and the UK are equal top in the road safety league with around 28 deaths per million of population – achieved in UK without criminalising sober drivers. The statistical claim that at 50mg BAC or below you are 3 times more likely to die in a ‘your fault’ crash is plain silly. Less than 1800 killed on UK roads despite over 500 Vehicle Kn traveled means your chance of being killed is very small indeed. 3 times very small, even if true, is still very small.

    A 50mpg limit is particularly unjust to those who were drinking but didn’t drive the night before – the reduced impairment of a falling BAC is an established physiological fact known as the ‘Mellanby Effect’. So, as usual, instead of basing policies on sound science, we use unreliable statistics based on some studies linking 50mg BAC with crashes without studying actual cause or contributory factors, or exploring the possibility that a sub-group of drivers who are prepared to drive after having a drink may also take more risks on the road regardless of a BAC of 50mg or under.

    None of this alters the fact that the biggest problem by far is with drivers well over the current 80mg BAC limit – a limit established with the 5500 driver ‘Grand Rapids’ study and supported by the John Radcliffe Hospital (Oxford) Study.

    Paul Biggs, Staffodshire
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