29 January 2016: The Alcohol Health Alliance, the RAC and BRAKE, the road safety charity, welcome the progression of Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe’s private members bill on drink driving in the House of Lords today. The bill will now move on to committee stage in the House of Lords, where the full details of the bill will be considered.
This brings us one step closer to saving lives and safer roads for all.
The AHA had previously called on the Lords to support the bill, which would bring England and Wales in line with Scotland and the European Union.
The most recent figures show that in 2013, there were 240 deaths on our roads due to drink driving, and 8270 injuries.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said:
We welcome the progress in the House of Lords earlier today in support of lowering the drink drive limit. We’re pleased the House has considered this important issue. The strong evidence and public opinion clearly demonstrate to the government there is a need for the limit to be lowered.
There is now more work to do to keep the pressure on the government, and make sure that they pay attention to the overwhelming evidence in support of this move, and the overwhelming public support.
Simon Richardson MBE, a Gold medal-winning cyclist at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, who has twice been struck by drunk drivers, said:
I’m pleased the Lords have passed this bill to committee stage. My injuries from being knocked off my bike by a drunk driver were life-threatening; I had to be kept in an induced coma for fifteen days, and recovery is very slow, long and painful. This is the real impact of drunk driving, beyond the statistics and figures: there were over 8000 casualties from drink drive accidents in 2013 – all of us have had our lives altered, often irrevocably. The vote today means we are now closer to preventing more deaths and injuries on our roads.
Gary Rae, campaigns director for BRAKE, the road safety charity, said:
Reducing the drink drive limit in England and Wales is long overdue. The House of Lords has shown today it is in step with public opinion, with 77% of the public supporting a lower limit, according to Alcohol Health Alliance UK.
Along with Malta, we have the highest limit in Europe, and this is costing lives. We urge the government to do the right thing, save lives, and lower the limit.
RAC public affairs manager Nicholas Lyes said:
Although still a long way from becoming law, the progression of Lord Brooke’s Bill is a promising early step for an amendment to the Road Traffic Act that would lead to a lower drink-drive limit across England and Wales. The RAC urges the Government to consider a legal threshold of 50mg/100ml, which should not only make roads safer, but, according to our own data, would also have the support of the majority of motorists.
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
- The latest available figures show that in 2013 there were 240 deaths and 8,270 injuries due to drink driving accidents
- England, Wales and Northern Ireland have the highest drink drive limit in Europe with the exception of Malta
- Reducing the legal Blood Alcohol Content limit to 50mg alcohol/100ml blood would save over 100 lives a year
- Enforcement is part of the solution, but cuts to police numbers are making this more difficult. Reducing the drink drive limit would not only have a greater impact on fatalities, but would save £300 million each year in costs to emergency services
- There is overwhelming public support for lowering the legal drink drive limit – our recent poll showed 77% of people favoured a 50mg limit
- At the current limit of 80mg, drivers are six times more likely to die in a road traffic accident than those who have not drunk alcohol
- Self-reported drink driving appears to be on the rise: a 2015 survey found one third of drivers who drink regularly drive whilst over the limit