Find us on Facebook

alcohol health alliance uk

Balance joins call for lower drink driving limit

Drink driving

Drink driving

Posted 10/10/16

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, is calling for a lower drink drive limit to bring the UK into line with the rest of Europe – a moved backed by the North East public.

The drink drive limit is expressed as the number of milligrams (mg) of alcohol in 100ml of blood. In England and Wales the current limit stands at 80mg of alcohol/100ml of blood. With Malta recently announcing plans to lower its drink drive limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol, this leaves England and Wales with the highest legal limit in Europe.

Balance has lent its support to calls for MPs to reduce England’s high drink driving limit, bringing the country into line with Scotland, which lowered its drink drive limit to 50mg of alcohol/100ml of blood in 2014, and the rest of Europe.

It is estimated reducing the limit would save at least 10 per cent of drink drive deaths a year. In 2014 there were 40 deaths and serious injuries in the North East due to drink driving.

Survey results published by Balance in 2015 found that the North East public also back the measure, with more than eight in 10 North Easterners (84%) in favour of a reduction in the limit.

The Government state that drink driving ‘remains a priority’, but there has been no reduction in the number of drink driving deaths since 2010 and the drink-drive limit has not been revised since 1965.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Alcohol continues to cause real devastation on our roads and accounts for far too many deaths and serious injuries. Lowering the drink-drive limit is a measure that not only saves lives and saves money, it will save a lot of heartache for families across our region. That’s why the move is so popular with people across the North East.

“We know that the risk of road traffic injuries and collisions increases rapidly with alcohol consumption and other countries across Europe have recognised that lowering the limit works to deter people from drinking and driving and in doing so save lives. It is high time action was taken to cut back on our overly lenient limit and bring England into line with Europe.”

According to alcohol charity the Institute of Alcohol Studies:

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

Katherine Brown, Director at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: “Recent decades have seen great improvements in road safety, but 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 our neighbours in road safety standards.

“It’s time the Government looked at the evidence and what other countries are doing to save lives and make roads safer. We need to make drink driving a thing of the past, and to do this we need a lower drink drive limit.”