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Time To Take A Shot At Lowering The Drink Driving Limit

In December last year, the drink driving limit in Scotland was reduced from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50 mg of alcohol. Since the move, new figures show that the number of drink driving offences has fell by 17% in the first three months.

Due to this positive impact in Scotland, the Police Federation is now calling for the changes to be rolled out in England and Wales too.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland currently have the joint highest drink-drive limits in Europe. However, the new changes would see the UK come in line with other European countries that have also seen a fall in offences since lowering the limit.

Victoria Martin, a chief inspector working at the Police Federation commented: “We would like to see a lower drink-drive limit. Other European countries that have reduced their levels have all seen a marked reduction in failed breathalyser tests and we welcome this approach across the whole UK.”

The changes to the drink limit could mean for some individuals, one drink would be enough to send them over the limit. For more information on drink driving limits, take a look at our previous blog, You booze, You Lose.

The changes have also been welcomed by alcohol awareness campaigners, as research suggests anti-drink driving messages are not getting across adequately, particularly how drink driving can impair driving ability and the risks of getting caught.

The proposal to lower the drink driving limit was also released at the same time as new research showing a new ‘worrying trend’ of women drink-driving. Figures from Social Research Associates show that nearly one in six women admitted to driving when they thought they were over the limit. The Ministry of Justice statistics also show that the number of women found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol in England and Wales rose by nearly 6% in recent years. The number of men convicted in England and Wales over the same offence dropped from 46,204 to 45,471 over the same period.

So what would it mean if the changes were to take place? Experts estimate a 50mg limit would mean an average man would be limited to just under a pint of beer or a large glass of wine, and women to half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine.

However, a campaign ahead of the change in Scotland warned that ‘the best advice is none’, meaning people should not drink any alcohol if they intend to drive. We would agree with this, especially if it helps make the UK’s roads a safer place.

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