Time to Call Last Orders on Drink Driving

I was very disappointed when the new statistics from the Department of Transport were released last week. With an increase in deaths and accidents involving drivers over the limit, we are losing the war on drink driving.

The number of fatalities involving alcohol rose 12% to 280 last year, after a 30 year low.

Some key statistics from the Department of Transport’s report:

  • Fatalities resulting from drink and drive accidents increased by 12 per cent from 250 in 2010 to 280 in 2011, and seriously injured casualties rose by 3 per cent from 1,250 to 1,290.
  • 15% of all road accident fatalities involved drink driving
  • The total number of drink drive accidents increased by 1.5 per cent, from 6,630 to 6,730.
  • The total number of casualties involving drink driving rose by 3 per cent, from 9,700 in 2010 to 9,990 in 2011.

Sir Peter North compiled a report, urging that we follow the example of our European neighbours and lower the blood-alcohol limit from 80mg per 100ml to 50mg. This small action alone could save 168 lives within a year, effectively preventing 7% of all road deaths.

As it stands, says Sir Peter, “With a blood alcohol level between my proposed new limit of 50mg per 100ml and the current 80mg per 100ml limit, a driver has a six times greater risk of road death than a non-drinking driver.”

The Government rejected the recommendation to lower the limit, arguing that we needed to focus our attention on enforcing the current limit. Disappointingly the Transport Select Committee has also rejected lowering the limit, with a coalition of Tory and Labour MPs voting to support retaining the existing limit. But these recent figures prove that the Government’s strategy isn’t working. We need to revisit the North Review recommendations and make it crystal clear to motorists that drink driving will not be tolerated. I’ve written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, urging her to reconsider the Department’s strategy, arguing the case for reducing the legal limit to 50mg per 100ml.

You can read more about this issue here:

DfT Report on road casualties in Great Britain: 2011

BBC News Article on DfT Report

3 responses to “Time to Call Last Orders on Drink Driving

  1. ‘As it stands, says Sir Peter, “With a blood alcohol level between my proposed new limit of 50mg per 100ml and the current 80mg per 100ml limit, a driver has a six times greater risk of road death than a non-drinking driver.”’

    I can’t see in the statistics provided any evidence that reducing the alcohol limit from 80 mg to 50 mg per 100 ml would make any difference whatsoever to road casualty figures.

    The stats just refer (separately) to people killed/injured and passing/failing the breath test. They don’t provide any information about how many drivers failed by how much or how many would have failed had the reduced limit been in force. Or how many of the drivers killed/injured had alcohol levels above the existing limit, between the existing limit and the proposed limit and below the proposed limit.

    Without such information it is impossible to make a valid judgement on whether or not reducing the limit would make any difference to road casualty figures.

    This is BAD SCIENCE. Can we have some PROPER SCIENCE on which to make a sound judgement please. Don’t present the public with uninformed opinions.

  2. Pingback: Manchester police launch their “None for the Road” Christmas Road Safety Campaign |·

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