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Call to urgently cut drink drive limit

Road Safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist says the UK Government must now accept that the drink drive limit in England and Wales is too high. GEM calls for an immediate commitment to reducing the limit, combined with increased police activity to enforce the law.

The demand follows the publication last week of the new ‘Fit to Drive’ report by the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety, showing that alcohol impairment continues to be a major contributory factor to crashes. Around 4.5 fatal collisions every week in 2013 (the most recent figures available) were related to drink driving1.

GEM chief executive David Williams MBE commented: “It’s believed that reducing the limit from 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml would save around 25 lives and 95 serious injuries every year.

“Additionally, there is excellent technology available to make simple, effective roadside breath tests a reality. After all, it is now 11 years since Parliament made provision for roadside evidential breath-testing2, which would greatly increase the number of tests carried out by police officers, and reduce the vast burden of paperwork which accompanies every positive breath test.

“Drink driving remains a significant threat to the safety of all road users, but there are effective steps to help reduce this threat. Reducing the drink drive limit should be the number one priority, as this would bring clear and significant road safety benefits.

Supporting this should be modern alcohol testing equipment that helps police officers do their job more efficiently. The Government needs to take a strong lead to help prevent the unnecessary death, injury and misery that’s too often a consequence of someone’s irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.”

Drink driving data:

  • In 2014, 37,853 people were convicted of driving with excess alcohol in their blood
  • Thousands more are believed to have escaped prosecution, because delays in transporting them from the scene to a police station allowed their blood alcohol concentration to fall
  • One in six road deaths involve drivers over the limit

 

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