There is growing public demand for more action to tackle drink driving across the UK, a new survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line has revealed.
The survey found that nearly 80% (78%) of drivers think the drink drive limit is too high, and more than half (54%) of drivers think the drink drive limit should be reduced to an effective zero tolerance limit of 20mg/100ml.
Following Scotland’s Example
According to Brake, these results suggest that people are in favour of the rest of the UK following Scotland’s example in reducing the drink-drive limit. Currently the rest of the United Kingdom has the highest drink-drive limit in Europe with 80mg/100ml blood, whilst Scotland reduced their limit to 50mg/100ml in December 2014.
Figures show that one in eight (13%) road deaths on the United Kingdom’s roads are caused by drink-driving, which is why Brake is calling for a zero tolerance drink-drive limit. This is in line with evidence that even 20-50mg/100ml alcohol in your blood makes you at least three times more likely to be killed in a crash. A zero tolerance drink-drive limit may help stop the estimated 65 deaths a year caused by drivers who drink but are under the legal limit.
The drivers of the survey also felt that drinking some alcohol, which would have meant they were under the current drink-drive limit, would impair their driving. Eight in ten of drivers surveyed (79%) felt that having the equivalent of one pint of beer would affect their driving.
Confusing Message for Drivers
“Drink-driving, despite being more socially unacceptable, is still a major issue on our roads, especially as our current, legal drink-drive limit in England and Wales is the highest in Europe,” explained Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake. “This sends a confusing message and asks drivers to guess if they are under the limit.”
“The only safe choice is not to drink at all before driving,” he added. “The Government needs to do more and following Scotland in reducing the limit would be a start. However, only by having a zero tolerance approach to drink-driving will ever see a law which is clear to everyone.”
Drink Drivers Caught the Morning After
Drink driving doesn’t just occur immediately after drinks have been consumed, but can also be a problem the following morning.
According to a recent poll commissioned by the AA, as many as 29% of those questioned in the 25 – 34-year-old age group admitted to driving the morning after a night of drinking.
Speaking to the BBC, AA President Edmund King said that 20% of drink driving prosecutions are a result of drivers being stopped by police between 6am and midday. He has called for greater awareness of the problem.
He explained that drivers are "not equating the next day with what they've actually drunk and the problem is if you really have had a lot to drink, your body can only really break down one unit of alcohol per hour... it is relatively easy to be over the limit the next day."
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