Survey suggests support for ‘stiffer’ drink-drive penalties

11.33 | 11 December 2018 | | 1 comment

Image: AlcoSense

More than 80% of UK motorists believe there should be ‘stiffer’ penalties for drink-driving, a new survey suggests.

The survey of 2,000 drivers was carried out by AlcoSense Breathalysers, with 43% of respondents expressing support for a lower or zero tolerance alcohol limit.

35% of respondents supported fines being calculated as a percentage of the driver’s income, while just under a third said that an ‘interlock’ should be fitted on the cars of all motorists convicted of drink driving.  

Nearly 30% thought the frequency of breath testing by police should be increased, and that random testing should be brought in.

Other steps to deter drink drivers included the compulsory carrying of a personal breathalyser in the car (24%), and a ‘name and shame’ public register of all drink drivers (20%).

When asked about the drink drive limit in England and Wales, two thirds of respondents were in favour of reducing it from the current level of 80mg of alcohol per 100mL of blood.  

Hunter Abbott, MD of AlcoSense Breathalysers, said: “Latest figures show that 220 people were killed on the roads last year where the driver was over the limit, up 30% on the previous year.  It seems the public now agree that more needs to be done to stamp out drink driving.

“With Christmas approaching, drink drive campaigns are not effective enough. Over half of motorists told us it makes no difference to their attitude to drinking and driving.  

“A marketing campaign may help to shape opinions – but tougher legislation is required to really make a difference in behaviour.”



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    These results just go to show how dangerous uninformed opinion can be. Do we know a lower limit will yield safer roads? Do we know that income-proportional fines will reduce offending?

    Has anyone ever done a study in the UK into what the background level of alcohol consumption is amongst all drivers, especially those who have not been involved in a collision? Has anyone ever looked at real-world collision data and scientifically assessed causation factors and plotted the likelihood of being responsible for a collision against blood-alcohol level?

    I remember a few years ago that the police somewhere did de facto random breath tests on passing drivers, and found that the proportion of drivers over the limit was greater than it was amongst those who had been involved in a collision.

    Do we actually know the facts here? Do we really know, as an absolute and incontrovertible fact, that someone with a 81mg/100mL blood-alcohol level is more likely to cause a collision in real-world driving conditions than someone with a level of 79?

    Surely we need to see the data before we can make an intelligent judgement on this. With no credible science behind them, these results are worthless, other than as an example of how to get your company’s name into the media.

    Charles, London
    Agree (10) | Disagree (4)

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