Health bosses back call for lower drink drive limit

Published October 21, 2016 at 14:06

Blackburn with Darwen’s health bosses have added their voices to a growing call in England and Wales for the Government to reduce the drink driving limit.

England and Wales have one of the highest drink drive limits in the world, which has been set at 80mg alcohol/100ml blood since 1965.

Scotland lowered its limit to 50mg in December 2014, and police figures showed a 12.5 per cent decrease in drink-drive offences in the first nine months. Northern Ireland is set to lower its drink driving limit before the end of 2016.

Every year drink driving causes 240 deaths and more than 8,000 casualties in the UK, costing £800 million a year. 60 per cent of those who are killed or injured are people other than the driver, such as passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Public support for lowering the limit is strong with a British Social Attitude Survey recently finding that three quarters of the public (77 per cent) support lowering the limit.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies, which is leading the new call, has produced a two-minute animation outlining the key arguments.

Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen, said:

Evidence shows that lowering the drink drive limit to 50mg alcohol/100ml blood would reduce drink driving offences significantly. We need to make drink driving a thing of the past, and to do this we need a lower drink drive limit.

Councillor Brian Taylor, Assistant Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:

The Government states that drink driving ‘remains a priority’, but there has been no reduction in the number of drink driving deaths since 2010. The majority of these deaths are to innocent bystanders, which is not acceptable. It is time to look at what other countries are doing to save lives and make our roads safer.

Katherine Brown, Director at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said:

Progress on drink driving has ground to a halt. With hundreds of lives lost each year, we can’t afford to let England and Wales fall behind its neighbours in road safety standards.