Friday 11 March 2016: Health and road safety campaign groups have welcomed a House of Lords vote which brings a lowering of the drink drive limit in England and Wales one step closer.
According to the Alcohol Health Alliance, the RAC and BRAKE, the road safety charity, the measure, should it be introduced, will improve road safety and save lives.
The purpose of the bill is to lower the drink drive limit in England and Wales from 80mg/100ml blood to 50mg/100ml blood, a measure which is supported by 77% of the general public, recent AHA polling has found. Every other country in Europe, with the exception of Malta, has a legal drink drive limit at 50mg/100ml blood or below.
The change would bring the rest of the UK into line with Scotland. In the first nine months following the introduction of the new limit in Scotland, drink driving offences fell by 12.5%.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said:
It is greatly encouraging that the House of Lords has progressed the bill to lower the legal drink drive limit today which would bring road safety standards in England and Wales in line with Scotland. This vote is in line with public opinion, and in step with the existing evidence that a lower drink drive limit prevents unnecessary deaths and injuries. We will continue to campaign to see this bill put onto the statute book as it progresses through Parliament, and we urge the House of Lords to support this bill at the next stage.
Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, the road safety charity, said
This is a great step forward by the Lords in the fight to make our roads safer. One in seven UK road deaths result from crashes where the driver was over the drink-drive limit and Brake sees the devastation this leaves behind, through our work supporting bereaved families. We would urge all MPs and Lords to now back the bill, which is supported by both the police and general public. Brake will continue to campaign for a zero drink driving limit, as our roads will not be as safe as they can be until that happens.
Nicholas Lyes, Public Affairs Manager for the RAC, said:
The RAC welcomes the progress Lord Brooke’s Bill is making through the House of Lords. The RAC’s Report on Motoring last year showed that a majority of motorists support a reduction in the legal drink drive limit. Studies have demonstrated that lowering the drink drive limit in line with the proposals outlined in the Bill could save lives and improve road safety, so we urge Peers and MPs across the House to get behind it.
Note to editors
The Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) is a group of 45 organisations including the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of GPs, British Medical Association, Alcohol Concern and the Institute of Alcohol Studies. The AHA works together to:
- Highlight the rising levels of alcohol-related health harm
- Propose evidence-based solutions to reduce this harm
- Influence decision makers to take positive action to address the damage caused by alcohol misuse
For further information contact Matt Chorley, Policy and Communications Officer for the Alcohol Health Alliance, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0203 075 1726.
Statistics on drink driving
- England and Wales have the highest drink drive limit in Europe, with the exception of Malta
- Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 80mg/100ml blood (the current limit) are 11 times more likely to die in a road traffic accident than those who have drunk no alcohol
- In 2015 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) urged the UK government to prioritise action on drink driving
- The latest confirmed figures show that in 2013 there were 240 deaths and 8,270 injuries in Britain in road traffic collisions involving a driver or rider over the legal drink-drive limit (80mg). This number has remained static since 2010. Initial estimates for 2014 indicate no change
- A lower drink-drive limit would reinvigorate the message that drinking and driving is socially-unacceptable, as has happened in Scotland
- Better education and enforcement are also essential parts of the solution to deter and detect drivers who drink above the legal limits. Cuts to roads police numbers and reductions in roadside breath-testing make this more difficult
- A 2015 survey found one third of drivers who drink regularly drive whilst over the limit