Drink driving is once again in the news due to a publication released earlier this year by the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport safety. Last year Scotland lowered their legal drink drive limit from 80mg/100ml down to 50mg/100ml and now there is calls for England and Wales to follow suit.
GEM Motoring Assist says the UK Government must accept that the drink drive limit in England and Wales is too high. There are calls for an immediate commitment to reducing the limit, combined with increased police activity to enforce the law.
The demand follows the publication 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 driving. To put that into perspective, one in six deaths on the road involved drivers that are over the legal alcohol limit.
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.”
The current 80mg limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is higher than most other European countries and Northern Ireland is already consulting on whether to lower its limit to 50mg for most motorists, with an effective zero limit for learner, novice and professional drivers.
Although alcohol is the biggest reported impairment to driving, the report also highlighted that motorists may be taking to the roads impaired from other causes without knowing it. Impairment from drugs, uncorrected defective eyesight and mental or physical illness or disability continue to be issues within the motor industry.
“There is a fundamental expectation that drivers should be fit to do so,” says Professor Oliver Carsten, lead author of the report. “Short-term factors based on personal behavior such as alcohol and drug use are widely known to affect fitness to drive. However, there are long-term factors such as physical or cognitive impairment that account for 6 per cent of all fatal crashes, while fatigue is a factor in 3 per cent.”
Consequences for those caught over the limit are strict with a 12month ban being a minimum sentence as well as criminal record and hefty fine, when it comes to drink driving the rules are clear and simple, so it’s always better safe than sorry.