The Local Government Association (LGA) in England and Wales has called on the UK Government to follow Scotland’s example and reduce the legal drink drive limit to cut the number of alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries on the country’s roads.
Drink Drive Limits
Scotland reduced its drink driving limits to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in December 2014, which led to a 20% reduction in the number of people killed in road traffic accidents, from 203 in 2014 to 162 in 2015. There was also a 3% fall in the number of casualties over the same period.
England and Wales apparently have one of the highest drink drive limits in the world and the highest in Europe, with the exception of Malta, which intends to lower its limit to 50mg. Northern Ireland also plans to introduce a lower limit this year.
The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils and all fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, claims that lowering the current limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood could save up to 170 lives in the first year of implementation, rising to more than 300 lives in the sixth year.
The latest provisional figures published by the Government show that the number of people seriously injured in reported drink drive accidents between 2014 and 2015 has risen from 1,070 to 1,170 (9%), while the total number of drink drive casualties has risen from 8,210 to 8,480 (3%).
“The Government should be leading by example by toughening up drink drive laws in line with other European countries, which will make roads safer and save lives,” explained Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board. “In Scotland alone, adopting a lower alcohol limit has led to a significant fall in fatal road accidents.”
“Fire and rescue authorities, who run hard-hitting road safety campaigns to tackle drink driving to show the tragic consequences of road traffic collisions, want to see a lower alcohol limit introduced as it would help to reduce these fatal and traumatic accidents,” he added.
No Plans to Reduce Drink Drive Limit
So far the UK Government has resisted calls for a lower drink drive limit, which have come not just from the LGA but also a number of road safety organisations. As recently as last year it stated that there were no plans to follow Scotland’s example.
Instead, the Government appears to believe that drink driving is best tackled through enforcement and criminal penalties, reports the BBC.
“Those over the current drink driving limit cause a disproportionate amount of harm. These are the people we need to focus our efforts and resources upon,” commented a Department for Transport spokesperson, speaking to the BBC. “Our roads continue to be amongst the safest in the world because we crack down on those who break the law.”
Our personal injury lawyers have many years of experience helping people deal with the challenges that can result from being injured in a road traffic accident. We offer a free consultation to let you know about all of the options for getting compensation, care and rehabilitation as soon as possible. To arrange a free consultation, or to find out more about our no win no fee service, then call us today on 01412496903, or contact us online.