This was in The Guardian in December following a survey regarding the current drink driving limit in the UK.
The Populus survey findings have prompted alcohol and public health campaigners to urge ministers to impose Scotland’s lower limit across the rest of the UK.
The legal blood-alcohol limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – 80mg per 100ml – is one of the highest in Europe. Only Malta allows people to have more alcohol in their body when driving.
Scotland last year reduced its limit to 50mg, a move credited with cutting drink-driving offences by 5%. Extending the same policy UK-wide would save lives and lead many drivers to be more responsible, it is claimed.
In the Populus survey, 568 of the 1,833 people who took part said they had driven after drinking alcohol. Of those who had, 66% said they would not drink at all if the limit was lowered. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), which commissioned the survey, said that was because some would be unsure how much it was safe to consume and others would decide it was not worth drinking at all.
“Alcohol-related road fatalities account for around one in seven road traffic deaths. While good progress has been made in cutting the numbers killed or injured through alcohol-related driving incidents we believe that the UK should follow the lead of Scotland and the majority of EU countries and adopt a lower limit”, said Shirley Cramer, the society’s chief executive.
“The evidence is that this will lead to a drop in alcohol-related road traffic accidents and our research would suggest that a further reduction would encourage many motorists just not to take the risk of drink-driving,” Cramer added.
While consuming any alcohol at all increases the chance of having an accident while behind the wheel, research shows that drivers who are just under the current 80mg limit are twice as likely to die in a crash than those just under the 50mg limit campaigners are backing.
In a letter to the Guardian, the RSPH and five other alcohol or public health groups claim the case for a UK-wide 50mg legal limit was overwhelming.
“The adoption of a 50mg driving limit across European countries has reduced alcohol-related driving death rates by 11.5% among young people aged 18-25,” the letter says.
The 5% fall in drink-driving offences in Scotland in the year since it introduced the lower limit shows that “people have changed their behaviour and are drinking less before getting behind the wheel”, it adds.
• Populus interviewed a random sample of 1,833 GB adults aged 18 and over online between 20-22 November 2015. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.
The drinks industry won’t like this, neither will the Govt, because it puts public health above business and the economy. Wait for the cries of Nanny state to begin …….