Calls to reduce drink driving limits to just half a pint as casualties rise

The latest drink driving figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed an increase in casualties.

Figures show a rise of seven per cent in the the total number of people killed or injured in traffic collisions where at least one of the motorists was over the drink driving limit.

An estimated 9,040 were killed or injured as a result of drink-driving incidents in 2016, which is an increase of seven per cent from 8,470 in 2015.

It is thought that between 220 and 250 people were killed in a drink-driving accidents in 2016

The DfT claims however that the rise is not statistically significant and that the estimate is continuing a period of stability recorded since 2010.

Drink-driving and injuries are, however, at the highest level since 2012, which has concerned road safety charity Brake.

As a result it is calling for driving driving limits to be slashed dramatically to 20mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

Commenting on the statistics, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said “The current drink-driving limit gives a false impression that it is safe to drink and drive – this is a dangerous message and one that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Research has shown even very small amounts of alcohol dramatically affect safe driving – drivers with levels of alcohol in their blood just half the current legal limit are at least twice more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol at all.”

“Our current drink-driving law lacks clarity, is badly understood and supports the perception that mixing alcohol and driving is acceptable – this needs to change.

“Brake is calling for the Government to implement an effective zero tolerance drink-drive limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood, making clear to drivers that not a drop of alcohol is safe.”

Current drink driving limits allow motorists to consume 80milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

If implemented this would mean a male motorist would be allowed to drink just half a pint to be under the limit

The road safety charity also urged the Government to act to ensure that casualties don’t continue to rise.

“How many more lives must be needlessly lost before the Government acts on drink-driving?

“The figures show that drink-driving is an increasing blight on British roads and yet the Government sits on its hands and refuses to address the issue.

“The Government should put its money where its mouth is and align the law with the message from its ‘Think!’ campaign: “if you’re driving, it’s better to have none for the road”.

“Only this zero-tolerance approach can create the change required to rid our roads of the menace of drink-driving.”

As a rough guide, the NHS suggests that one unit is equivalent to 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol.

There are roughly:

  • 2.1 units in a standard glass (175ml) of average-strength wine (12 per cent)
  • 3 units in a large glass (250ml) of average-strength wine (12 per cent)
  • 2 units in a pint of low-strength lager, beer or cider (3.6 per cent)
  • 3 units in a pint of higher-strength lager, beer or cider (5.2 per cent)
  • 1 unit in a single measure of spirits (25ml)

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the drink drive limit is as follows:

  • Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath: 35
  • Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood: 80
  • Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine: 107

Punishments for drink driving are as follows:

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

  • 3 months’ imprisonment
  • up to £2,500 fine
  • a possible driving ban

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)

Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis

You may get:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 1 year

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink

You may get:

  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 2 years
  • an extended driving test before your licence is returned

A conviction for drink-driving also means:

  • your car insurance costs will increase significantly
  • if you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence
  • you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA

Daily Express :: Cars Feed

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