Road Safety GB has backed the Transport Select Committee’s call on the government to strengthen enforcement of the drink drive limit, and to increase the detection of drug driving.
18% of all drivers killed in road accidents are over the drink-drive limit, but only approximately 3% of drivers in the UK are stopped and tested for alcohol compared to the European average of 16%.
In launching its first report to the new government, Louise Ellman, committee chair, said: “We believe the government should learn from the experience of other countries which have successfully reduced drink drive casualties by ensuring enforcement was robust.
“We are also calling for the police to be given an additional power to require preliminary breath tests as part of any designated drink drive enforcement operation.
“We do believe enforcement of drink drive law in Great Britain must become much more visible, frequent, sustained and well-publicised.
“We believe stronger enforcement must be coupled with an extensive government education campaign – focused on the strength of alcoholic drinks and their effect in the body – run in conjunction with the pub, restaurant and hospitality industry.”
The committee calls for the police to be given an additional power to permit preliminary breath tests as part of any designated drink drive enforcement operation. Currently, the police may stop any vehicle but can only test the driver’s breath if there is an element of suspicion.
The committee also calls on the government to improve the detection of drug driving and to strengthen public perception about the likelihood of drug drivers being caught by the police.
The committee says it is ‘unfortunate’ that a drug screening device has not been ‘type-approved’ some seven years after police were granted the legal power to use them. But MPs welcomed the government’s commitment to install drug screening devices in every police station by 2012.
Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Saferty GB, said: "Road Safety GB fully supports the Transport Committee’s call to the government to allow the police to take a tougher line with regard to drink/drug drive enforcement.
"In addition, we strongly urge the government to lower the drink drive limit to 50mg per 100ml of blood, in line with the North Report recommendation. As well as preventing hundreds of deaths and serious injuries, this will bring the UK into line with the rest of Europe.”
"This is a great opportunity to send out a clear message to drivers that our society will not tolerate drink and drug drivers. We urge the government to deliver this message at the earliest possible opportunity."
Click here to read the report: Drink and drug driving law: Transport Committee – First Report.