Articles Tagged ‘alcohol - Brake the road safety charity’

#dontcrosstheline: Brake teams up with top ad agency to spread World Cup don’t drink and drive message

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

As more than 20 million UK residents tuned in to watch the World Cup final on Sunday night, Brake teamed up with top advertising agency Leo Burnett to tackle the menace of drink driving.

The video parodied the use of the referee's white foam spray can to give football fans the message that alcohol and driving don't mix – not a drop. It was spread on social media using the hashtag #dontcrosstheline and has been watched almost 1,000 times already. Watch below or on YouTube.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Drink driving is still one of the biggest killers on our roads, so we were pleased to team up with Leo Burnett to get the vital message across this World Cup that it should be none for the road. One in six road deaths in the UK result from crashes where the driver was over the drink-drive limit, with a further estimated 65 caused by drivers who had been drinking but were under the limit. Even small amounts of alcohol affect your ability to drive and make you a danger on the roads. Drink drive deaths and serious injuries are devastating and needless: they can be stopped if all drivers pledge to not drink any alcohol – not a drop – before driving."

Brake campaigns for zero-tolerance on drink and drug driving through the Not a drop, not a drag campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #notadrop, #dontcrosstheline.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Leo Burnett
Leo Burnett (www.leoburnett.co.uk) is a leading collective of specialist agencies in the UK providing clients with best-in-class communications expertise.

Leo Burnett UK is part of a global company with offices in over 100 Countries around the world. Here in the UK the group consists of Leo Burnett London (the advertising agency) (creative agency), Arc London (brand activation team), Holler (digital, content & social), Leo Burnett Change (behaviour change, not-for-profit) and Atelier (lifestyle, luxury, fashion specialists).

Leo Burnett, until recently, worked with the Department for Transport for over 20 years producing successful behaviour change campaigns for anti-drink driving, anti-drug driving, child road safety and teen road safety. Leo Burnett's long-running anti-drink drive campaign won a Gold IPA Effectiveness Award in 2012.

50 years, 25,000+ dead, since first anti-drink drive ad

Friday 7 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

"Don't ask a man to drink and drive" – that was the plea of the government's first ever public information film on the dangers of drink driving, 50 years ago. Since then, drink drivers over the legal limit have killed at least 25,000 people and seriously injured at least 130,000 in the UK [1] – but as these casualties have only been recorded since 1979, the complete figures are likely to be tens of thousands higher.

Casualties have fallen dramatically since the first drink drive ad, but drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads. Brake, the road safety charity, is using the anniversary to highlight the ongoing menace of drink driving and call for zero-tolerance to help stamp it out for good. See calls for action below.

With its appeal to women not to let their partners drink drive, the 1964 advert is a product of its time, but its message remains as relevant as ever. To this day, men account for more than three quarters (77%) of drink drive casualties [2]. What has changed is the message about how much is too much, with research having demonstrated the huge danger of drinking even small amounts and driving [3]. While the 1964 advert warns of the risks of drinking four to six whiskies, today Brake's not a drop campaign urges people to stay off the alcohol altogether if driving.

Drink drive (over the legal limit) casualties have steadily decreased, from 1,640 dead and 8,300 seriously injured in 1979, to 230 dead and 1,200 seriously injured in 2012 (latest available figures) [4]. They now account for one in eight road deaths (13%) compared with a quarter in 1979 [5].This is partly thanks to public education campaigns such as those by the Department for Transport's road safety agency, THINK! – it's estimated these prevented almost 2,000 deaths and over 10,000 serious injuries from 1979 to 2009 [6].

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Public education is critical to tackling road deaths and injuries, not just those caused by drink driving, so it is vital the government continues to fund this work. However, it is shocking that even though drivers are now well informed of the dangers, many continue to get behind the wheel after a drink, causing an unacceptable death toll and horrendous suffering for those who are left bereaved or injured. That's why we need a zero-tolerance drink drive limit – to send a clear message that any amount of alcohol makes you unsafe to drive – with tougher penalties and enhanced traffic policing to enforce it. Think – how many more lives will be destroyed or ruined if we don't act now?"

Brake campaigns for a zero-tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood through its not a drop, not a drag campaign, and is urging all political parties to make this a key manifesto commitment for the 2015 general election. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #NotADrop.

Facts
One in eight deaths on UK roads are caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit [7] of 80mg alcohol per 100 ml blood. Drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [8]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [9]. Find out more.

Brake's advice
Even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times and hazard perception, making them much more likely to crash, even if they don't feel drunk or even tipsy. The only way to ensure you're safe is to not drink any alcohol before driving, and never drive the morning after having more than one or two drinks. As a passenger, only accept a lift with a driver who's had no alcohol at all.

Planning ahead to get home safely will help avoid getting into an awkward or risky situation, such as having to refuse a lift from a driver who has had alcohol. If you're getting a lift back from a BBQ, party or night out with someone, make sure they are 100% on board with not having any alcohol at all. Always have a plan B just in case a designated driver lets you down, or arrange from the outset to get a taxi or public transport instead.

Calls for government action
Brake calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, to send a clear message that it should be none for the road. This allows for naturally occurring alcohol in the body, and is a limit set by numerous other countries including Sweden, Poland and Greece. The EU recommends a limit of no more than 50mg, and within the EU only Malta shares the UK's limit of 80mg. Governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced intentions to reduce their limits to 50mg, and in Northern Ireland, newly qualified drivers and commercial drivers will have a zero tolerance limit of 20mg.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes
[1] Reported drink drive accidents and casualties (estimates): Great Britain, annually from 1979, Department for Transport, 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras51-reported-drinking-and-driving 
[2] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2014
[3] Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010
[4] Reported drink drive accidents and casualties (estimates): Great Britain, annually from 1979, Department for Transport, 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras51-reported-drinking-and-driving 
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2012 (final), Department for Transport, 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/341271/drink-drive-final-estimates-2012.pdf 
[6] Department for Transport: How thirty years of drink drive communications saved almost 2,000 lives, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, 2012 https://gcn.civilservice.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Department_for_Transport_How_thirty_years_of_drink_drive_communications_saved.pdf 
[7] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2012 (final), Department for Transport, 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/341271/drink-drive-final-estimates-2012.pdf 
[8] Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010
[9] ibid

Brake comments on increase in drink-driving deaths and injuries

News from Brake
Thursday, 9 August 2018
 
The Department for Transport has today (Thursday 9 August) published statistics on drink drive crashes in Great Britain for 2016 [1]. This shows drink-driving deaths and injuries are at the highest level since 2012 and that there has been an estimated increase in the number of road deaths, the number of injuries, and the total number of crashes relating to at least one driver being over the alcohol limit. 
 
Commenting on the statistics, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said:
“How many more lives must be needlessly lost before the Government acts on drink-driving? Today’s 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.”
 
“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.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
 
 

Final estimates of casualties in accidents involving at least one driver or rider over the drink-drive limit in Great Britain for 2016 show that:

  • between 220 and 250 people were killed in drink-drive accidents, with a central estimate of 230 fatalities
  • the increase in drink-drive fatalities since 2015 is not statistically significant, continuing a period of stability recorded since 2010
  • an estimated 9,040 people were killed or injured in drink-drive accidents, a rise of 7% since 2015
  • the total number of drink-drive accidents rose by 6% to 6,070 in 2016
 
[2] Brake ‘Driving for zero’ campaign
 
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments on new drink driving figures

News from Brake
Thursday 3 August, 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Two hundred people were killed in car crashes in Great Britain where at least one driver was over the drink drive limit, according to new Department for Transport figures. While the number of people killed in drink drive related collisions fell in 2015, the numbers killed and seriously injured, as well as  drink drive collisions, both rose [1].

Commenting on the new figures, Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Selfish drink drivers destroy lives and inflict appalling suffering on families up and down the country. There will be more, unrecorded, casualties involving drivers impaired by alcohol but under the current limit.

"The drink drive limit in England and Wales is the second highest in Europe and must be lowered urgently. In addition, savage cuts to road traffic policing must be reversed and enforcement increased to crack down on dangerous drink drivers."

[ENDS]

Notes to editors:

[1] 1,370 people were estimated to have been killed or seriously injured in drink drive crashes in 2015 in England and Wales. The estimated total number of crashes where at least one driver was over the alcohol limit rose by 2 per cent to 5,730 in 2015. Full DfT report: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/635345/road-accidents-illegal-alcohol-levels-2015-final.pdf

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments on Wayne Rooney's guilty drink driving plea

News from Brake
Monday, 18 September 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Wayne Rooney has this morning pleaded guilty at Stockport Magistrates' Court to a charge of drink driving. Reacting to the news, Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Drink driving is an abhorrent crime which can end innocent lives and inflict unimaginable trauma. Public figures should be setting a positive example of safe driving behaviour.

"Any amount of alcohol seriously affects the chances of being involved in a potentially deadly crash. The drink drive limit in England and Wales is the second highest in the European Union and must be lowered to a zero-tolerance, to help reduce needless deaths and serious injury on our roads."

[ENDS]

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake criticises first motorway pub as a dangerous temptation

21 January 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

In response to news of a pub opening at a motorway service station in Buckinghamshire today, Ellie Pearson, Brake spokesperson, said:

"The opening of a pub on a motorway is deeply concerning, as it presents a potentially deadly temptation to drivers. Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our road, causing devastation to families and communities every day. It is vitally important that messages about the dangers of drink driving are as strong and clear as possible, so drivers know it's not okay to have even a single drink ahead of getting behind the wheel. Research clearly shows that even small amounts of alcohol can be lethal if you're driving, so our advice to drivers is simple: never drink any alcohol if you're driving – not a drop."

Read about Brake's Not a drop, not a drag campaign.

Brake
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

 

Brake responds to Northern Ireland drink driving consultation

Regulations to introduce measures to tackle drink driving in Northern Ireland - Response from Brake, the road safety charity, May 2015.

Brake is a road safety charity working with communities and organisations across the UK to stop the tragedy of road deaths and injuries, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and support people bereaved and seriously injured on roads.

Question 1 - Do you have any comments on the Department’s approach to introducing fixed penalties for lower level drink driving offences?

To keep our roads as safe as possible, action must always be taken when someone is caught drink-driving to act as both a deterrent and a punishment. Brake welcomes the concept of fixed penalty notices but is disappointed there is no automatic disqualification for every level of the offence. Drink-driving at any level is dangerous and life-threatening, and we must use all available powers to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Brake is concerned that if drivers know they MAY NOT lose their licence after a first offence, this could increase risk taking. If drivers only face a fine, penalty points and a training course after a first “lower level” offence, they may risk drink-driving a first time, making our roads more dangerous than they should be and putting lives at risk.

We believe the possibility of this dangerous behaviour happening in the first place would be reduced if drivers knew they would also lose their licence after a first offence. Research shows that the fear of losing your driving licence has a powerful impact on driving behaviour. [1] There is also evidence of the effectiveness of a one-strike-and-you-are-out policy from Ontario, Canada. They have immediate roadside suspension for drivers with 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood or above, and this is associated with a 17% decrease in the number of people injured or killed in drink-drive crashes in the region. [2]

The objective of a training course that will enable a driver to develop non offending behaviour is welcome and we are pleased this will run alongside and not replace the points and fine. Education and enforcement must go hand in hand [3] and a course should never replace other penalties and punishments.

Research by the Transport Research Lab on the effectiveness of these types of courses shows they do work, but have different effects on different types of drivers. [4] They are most successful for drivers in their 30s, but the evidence shows 17.8% of young men in the lowest social group of course attenders had reoffended after 72 months. To effectively target younger drivers we need a more comprehensive deterrent and punishment. We believe including an immediate driving ban would be more effective. We need to send a strong, clear message that drink-driving is never acceptable at any level, to keep all road users safe, and to stop dangerous and risky behaviour before it starts.   

Likewise if the zero-tolerance alcohol limit that will be in place for new and professional drivers was in place for all drivers, it would be a much clearer and more effective deterrent. 

In Sweden the decision to lower the drink-drive limit to an effective zero tolerance of 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood was accompanied by an automatic licence loss at 30mg. Since making the decision to match the reduction in the drink-drive limit with clear a deterrent, Sweden has seen  a 7% reduction in crashes overall and a 10% reduction in fatal crashes [5]. 

By offering lower-level drink-drivers a reduced level of punishment, it could be perceived that lower-level drink-driving is less of an offence. Research shows any amount of alcohol makes you more likely to crash. [6] Even very small amounts of alcohol affect your driving. Drivers with even 10mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood are 46% more likely to be at fault in collisions than sober drivers [7], and when they crash, do more damage than sober drivers [8]. That’s why the only safe amount to drink if you’re driving is nothing at all – not a drop.

Question 2 - Do you have any comments on the Department’s approach to the restriction of the requirement to re-sit the driving test to those disqualified for 12 months or more for offences involving higher levels of alcohol?

Previous legislation saw anyone convicted of drink-driving lose their licence, and it’s not acceptable that people breaking drink-drive laws escape bans because of a change in legislation. We believe every drink-drive offence is serious and deserves a ban, as evidenced in our response to Q 1. Every ban should therefore entail a re-test. Driving is a privilege, not a right. If that privilege is not exercised responsibly, it must be revocable. The change in drink-drive laws is being brought in to reflect evidence that even small amounts of alcohol can have a dangerous impact on driving and this must be echoed by the punishment, if it is to be an effective deterrent. Laws need to be strong, clear and consistent. 

Brake believes there should be a mandatory driving ban for all drink-drive offenders even when the lower limit is imposed, and that this should be of at least one year for all offenders. This reflects the level of danger posed by those who drive after drinking even a small amount of alcohol (again as evidenced in the Q1 response) and sends a clear message to drivers that no level of drink-driving will be tolerated.

Question 3 - Do you agree with the Department’s approach to reducing the threshold for High Risk Offenders to 125mg/100mls?

YES - All drink driving is high risk and extremely dangerous but we do appreciate the legal need to have some categorisation for legal purposes. We welcome this proportionate reduction that means “High Risk” will still be 2.5 times the limit. It should certainly not be any higher.

Question 4 - Do you have any comments to make on the consultation process?    

We are extremely grateful to be asked to use our 20 years of experience in road safety and supporting bereaved families affected by road deaths to contribute to this consultation. The process has been smooth and clear, with comprehensive explanatory notes.

Overall Brake welcomes the planned reductions to the drink-drive limit that will undoubtedly make roads safer and save lives. This is a great step in the right direction by the Northern Ireland Assembly who must be praised for taking it. It’s a useful step forward towards a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit being called for by Brake across the UK. 

We recognise it is beyond the scope of this consultation, but our roads and all road users will not be as safe as they can be until we have zero tolerance across the whole of the UK. The UK as a whole still has the highest drink-drive limits in Europe (along with Malta), and the position is becoming more and more bizarre as different nations adopt different rules and regulation. We need a strong clear zero-tolerance approach across the whole of the UK to let all drivers know drink-driving is not acceptable at any level anywhere in the UK.  

1) Does the Threat of Disqualification Deter Drivers from Speeding?, Department for Transport, 2008.

2) Evaluation of the general deterrence capacity of recently implemented (2009–2010) low and Zero BAC requirements for drivers in Ontario, Road User Safety Division, Ministry of Transportation, 2015.

3) World report on road traffic injury prevention, World Health Organisation, 2004.

4) Reconvictions of Drink/Drive Course Attenders: A Six Year Follow Up, Transport Research Laboratory, TRL574, 2003 

5) Drugs, Driving and Traffic Safety, J.C Verster, S.R. Pandi-Perumal, J. G Ramaekers and J.J de Gier 2009.

6) Drivers Over .08 BAC Pose a Serious Traffic Safety Problem, Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, 2009.

7) Official blame for drivers with very low blood alcohol content, British Medical Journal, 2014

8) The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration, University of California San Diego, 2011

 

 

 

 

Brake survey indicates a growing public demand for the government to reduce the drink-drive limit

9 December 2016

Contact: news@brake.org.uk

  • More than three quarters (78%) of drivers think the current drink drive limit is too high
  • More than half of drivers (54%) think the drink drive limit should be dropped to an effective zero tolerance
  • 8 in 10 drivers think their driving is affected at around the current drink drive limit or below
  • More than 40 percent of drivers think their driving ability is affected by just one unit of alcohol

A new survey by Brake, the road safety charity and Direct Line has found that nearly 80% (78%) of drivers think the drink drive limit is too high and more than half (54%) of drivers think the drink drive limit should be reduced to an effective zero tolerance limit of 20mg/100ml.

The results of the survey suggest that the rest of the United Kingdom should follow Scotland’s lead in reducing the drink-drive limit. Currently the rest of the United Kingdom has the highest drink-drive limit in Europe with 80mg/100ml blood, whilst Scotland reduced their limit to 50mg/100ml in December 2014.

One in eight (13%) of road deaths on the United Kingdom’s roads [1] are caused by drink-driving which is why Brake calls for a zero tolerance drink-drive limit. This is in line with evidence that even 20-50mg/100ml alcohol in your blood makes you at least three times more likely to be killed in a crash [2]. A zero tolerance drink-drive limit may help stop the estimated 65 deaths a year caused by drivers who drink but are under the legal limit [3].

The drivers of the survey also felt that drinking some alcohol, which would’ve meant they were under the current drink-drive limit, would impair their driving. Eight in ten of drivers surveyed (79%) felt that having the equivalent of one pint of beer would affect their driving.

Case study

Daniel Glynn, from Kent, will never forget Christmas 2010. He spent Christmas Day in hospital, undergoing emergency surgery for injuries he suffered because he had caught a lift home from a party on Christmas Eve with a friend who'd been drinking.

They'd been out celebrating, and Daniel knew his friend had had a drink but didn't realise how much and accepted a lift anyway. Travelling back, Daniel's friend lost control and the vehicle span across the road and hit a tree at full force. Police reported the car was unrecognisable and the engine was found five metres away.

Daniel was taken to hospital, and was told he had broken all the ribs on his left side, his knee cap was badly damaged and his bowel had been ruptured. Daniel had to return to hospital a number of times for further treatment and repeat a year at college because of time out due to his injuries.

Daniel said: “I was naive. I thought it wouldn't happen to me, but I now know drink driving, or getting a lift with a drink driver, is never worth the risk. My life was turned upside down, and I went through months of terrible agony that could have easily been avoided. But I was one of the lucky ones: it could easily have ended both our lives. Now I'd never catch a lift with a driver who's been drinking, not even one drink, and I'd urge everyone to make the same commitment. Speaking up about drink driving isn't always easy, but it could save a life or prevent a horrific injury, so please speak out to friends and family, and if you're a driver, commit to never, ever, drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel.”

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, said: “Drink-driving, despite being more socially unacceptable, is still a major issue on our roads, especially as our current, legal drink-drive limit in England and Wales is the highest in Europe. This sends a confusing message and asks drivers to guess if they are under the limit.

Equally confusing is the stance of secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling, who said that the drink-drive limit wouldn’t be cut to penalise motorists for ‘having a glass of wine at the pub’. Cutting the drink-drive limit would be putting road users’ safety first and the reality is that a small amount of alcohol can impair your driving, as the evidence shows.

The only safe choice is not to drink at all before driving. The government need to do more and following Scotland in reducing the limit would be a start. However, only by having a zero tolerance approach to drink-driving will ever see a law which is clear to everyone. Here at Brake we are appealing to the public in the run up to Christmas to show zero tolerance on drink driving, and make the Brake Pledge to never get behind the wheel after any amount of alcohol.”

Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line said: “There is no excuse for drink-driving and so we urge those enjoying the festivities to plan their onward travel in advance by making use of public transport, taking a taxi, staying overnight or asking a sober friend or relative to pick them up”.

Make the Brake Pledge to never get behind the wheel after any amount of alcohol and watch Tina Wood’s story here

[1] DfT, Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional),  2016

[2] Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010

[3] Reducing the BAC limit to 50mg - what can we expect to gain? Professor Richard E Allsop, Centre for Transport Studies, University College London (PACTS, 2005)

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths, serious injuries and pollution occurring on our roads every day. We work to make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake's vision is a world where there are zero road deaths and injuries, and people can get around in ways that are safe, sustainable, healthy and fair. We do this by pushing for legislative change through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com

Brake urges public to stamp out drink driving as police launch summer crackdown

Monday 2 June 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, is today urging drivers to pledge not to drink any alcohol before getting behind the wheel this summer, as the Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO) month-long drink and drug driving enforcement campaign kicks off. The campaign will see police across England and Wales stepping up roadside alcohol and drug checks, and warning the public about the risks.

As part of last summer's campaign, 100,892 drivers were breathalysed, of whom 5,170 failed the test – a slight drop on the year before [1].

As the weather improves over the summer, some people may be tempted to have a drink as they travel to and from BBQs, festivals and other events – especially with the football World Cup looming large on the horizon. Brake is urging everyone to leave the car at home or ensure they have a completely sober designated driver for summer festivities, and to look out for friends and family to make sure they also plan ahead to get home without putting lives at risk.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads, yet every year thousands of drivers risk it. That's why it's so important that the police are out in force clamping down on this selfish behaviour, now and throughout the year. However, even if you're under the limit, you can still be a danger: even very small amounts of alcohol significantly affect your judgement and reactions at the wheel. We need everyone on board with the message that motor vehicles and alcohol – in any amount – don't mix. We're calling on drivers to pledge to never drive after drinking even one drink, and for government to introduce a zero-tolerance drink drive limit, to help stamp out the deadly menace of drink driving once and for all."

Read about Brake's Not a drop, not a drag campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #notadrop.

Facts
One in six deaths on UK roads are caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit [2] of 80mg alcohol per 100 ml blood, but drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [3]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [4].

Case study
Evey Staley, 10, from the Isle of Wight, was killed by a drink and drug driver on 24 August 2012. Her mum and dad, Neal and Penny Staley, were driving her to the shops to buy baking ingredients. As they pulled out of their driveway, their car was hit by another vehicle, driven by Robert Blakely, who was two and a half times over the drink drive limit and had been smoking cannabis. Evey's side of the car took the worst of the impact. Her 14 year old sister, Ellie, witnessed the crash from her bedroom window.

When Neal came round in hospital the next day, his wife was still in a coma, and he was told his daughter's head injuries were not survivable. He made the decision to turn off Evey's life support. Blakely was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Evey's family became the focus of Hampshire Constabulary's Christmas drink drive campaign in 2013, with a series of hard-hitting video interviews. Watch a new abridged version here – http://youtu.be/nim1sHlBFzQ – or for the full original series, see here – http://ow.ly/xl45F.

Neal Staley said: "Every day since we lost Evey has been painful – we will be like this for the rest of our lives. We take a crumb of comfort knowing she was killed pretty much instantaneously, that she didn't suffer; we could have had Ellie in the car as well, we could have lost both of them, we could have lost all of us. But why be so selfish to put a family in that position?

"Campaigning against drink and drug driving has helped us through, but it will never outweigh the grief and loss. If we can stop just one person from drink driving, it will be worthwhile, to prevent another family going through what we have endured over the past 20 months."

Brake's advice
Even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times and hazard perception, making them much more likely to crash, even if they don't feel drunk or even tipsy. The only way to ensure you're safe is to not drink any alcohol before driving, and never drive the morning after having more than one or two drinks. As a passenger, only accept a lift with a driver who's had no alcohol at all.

Planning ahead to get home safely will help avoid getting into an awkward or risky situation, such as having to refuse a lift from a driver who has had alcohol. If you're getting a lift back from a BBQ, party or night out with someone, make sure they are 100% on board with not having any alcohol at all. Always have a plan B just in case a designated driver lets you down, or arrange from the outset to get a taxi or public transport instead.

Calls for government action
Brake calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, to send a clear message that it should be none for the road. This allows for naturally occurring alcohol in the body, and is a limit set by numerous other countries including Sweden, Poland and Greece. The EU recommends a limit of no more than 50mg, and within the EU only Malta shares the UK's limit of 80mg. Governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced intentions to reduce their limits to 50mg, and in Northern Ireland, newly qualified drivers and commercial drivers will have a zero tolerance limit of 20mg.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes
[1] ACPO drink drive summer results, ACPO, 2013
[2] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[3] Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010
[4] ibid

Brake urges rugby fans to kick the risk of drink-driving into touch

18 Sept 2015
Brake, the road safety charity

news@brake.org.uk

As the Rugby World Cup kicks off this weekend with millions of fans set to watch the home nations, Brake is calling on all rugby fans to help tackle the menace of drink-driving that can put themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk. Brake is appealing to everyone attending games or watching them in pubs to plan ahead to ensure they and their friends can get home safely, and pledge to stay completely off the booze if driving.

Drink-driving remains one of the biggest killers on UK roads. One in seven UK road deaths results from crashes where the driver was over the drink-drive limit [1]. A further estimated 65 road deaths per year are caused by drivers who are under the drink-drive limit, but who have significant amounts of alcohol in their blood [2]. 

Read about Brake’s not a drop, not a drag campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #NotADrop

Gary Rae, campaigns manager, Brake, said: “As a charity that supports bereaved and injured road crash victims, we witness the suffering that drink-driving inflicts, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it throughout the Rugby World Cup and beyond. Drink-driving deaths and injuries are cruel and needless, ending and ruining lives and leaving traumatised families to pick up the pieces. It’s a fact that even small amounts of alcohol increase your risk of crashing. During the Rugby World Cup we are urging drivers to commit to not drinking any amount of alcohol if driving and to ensure they and their friends can get home from watching matches safely.”

“To stamp out the menace of drink-driving, we need the government to introduce a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit, rather than asking drivers to do the impossible and guess if they are safe to drive. The law needs to make it crystal clear that drinking any amount of alcohol makes you a danger at the wheel. We also need the government to give greater priority to traffic policing, so we have a suitably strong deterrent.”

Brake campaigns for a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood through the Not a drop, not a drag campaign, as well as greater priority and investment in traffic policing.

Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #notadrop.

Facts

One in seven deaths on UK roads are caused by drink-drivers over the current legal limit [1] of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, but drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [2]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [3].

Brake’s advice

Even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times and hazard perception, making them much more likely to crash, even if they don’t feel drunk or even tipsy. The only way to ensure you're safe is to not drink any alcohol before driving, and never drive the morning after having more than one or two drinks. As a passenger, only accept a lift with a driver who's had no alcohol at all.

Planning ahead to get home safely will help avoid getting into an awkward or risky situation, such as having to refuse a lift from a driver who has had alcohol. If you're getting a lift back from a BBQ, party or night out with someone, make sure they are 100% on board with not having any alcohol at all. Always have a plan B just in case a designated driver lets you down, or arrange from the outset to get a taxi or public transport instead.

Calls for government action

Brake calls for a zero tolerance drink-drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, to send a clear message that it should be none for the road. This allows for naturally occurring alcohol in the body, and is a limit set by numerous other countries including Sweden, Poland and Greece. The EU recommends a limit of no more than 50mg, and within the EU only Malta shares the UK's limit of 80mg. Governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced intentions to reduce their limits to 50mg, and in Northern Ireland, newly qualified drivers and commercial drivers will have a zero tolerance limit of 20mg.

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1] Final estimate for 2013, from Reported road casualties in Great Britain, final estimates involving illegal alcohol levels: 2013, Department for Transport, 2015

[2] Reducing the BAC limit to 50mg - what can we expect to gain?, Professor Richard E Allsop, Centre for Transport Studies, University College London (PACTS, 2005)

[3] ibid

Brake welcomes fall in Xmas drink driving but renews call for zero tolerance

24 January 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, has praised police for their increased efforts to catch drink and drug drivers over the festive period and welcomed news that drink drive arrests were down while breath-tests were up.

6,550 people were arrested in the month-long police enforcement campaign over Christmas and New Year, 573 less than during the same period last year, according to figures released by the Association of Chief Police Officers today.

The drop in arrests comes despite a welcome increase in enforcement activity over the period, with 191,040 breath tests conducted, up from 175,831 in 2012. 3.4% of those tested failed or refused the test, down from 4% in 2012. Drink driving also fell among young people, with 4.4% of under 25s failing the test, down from 5.3% in 2012.

However, Brake warns there is still a long way to go to completely stamp out the menace of drink and drug driving throughout the year. According to a recent Brake survey, many drivers are continuing to take the deadly risk of driving after drinking [1], and many who pass the breath test could still be unsafe to drive due to the UK's high drink drive limit. Hence Brake is renewing its calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg per 100 ml blood. See calls for government action below.

Brake is also urging the government to give greater priority to traffic policing and ensure sufficient resourcing is available for vital drink and drug driving enforcement, following significant cuts in recent years [2].

Brake urges all drivers never to drink any alcohol or take any drugs before driving: not a drop, not a drag. See Brake's advice below.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "It is encouraging to see an increase in vital drink drive enforcement over the festive period and fewer arrests. However drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads and we have some way to go before we persuade all drivers to commit to never driving after drinking. People who persist in drink driving needlessly put the lives of others at grave risk and too often cause crashes that devastate families and communities, all for the sake of a drink. The police do great work catching these irresponsible drivers, but the government needs to give them the backing they need to do their job, by making traffic policing a national priority and adopting a zero tolerance limit. The message needs to be clear: it should be none for the road."

Read about Brake's 'not a drop, not a drag' campaign.

Facts
One in six deaths on UK roads are caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit [3], but drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [4]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [5].

Brake's advice
Even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times and hazard perception, making them much more likely to crash. This is the case even if the driver doesn't feel drunk or even tipsy. So the only way to ensure you're safe if you're driving this festive season is not drink any alcohol before driving, and never drive the morning after having more than one or two drinks. And as a passenger, only accept a lift with a driver who's had no alcohol at all.

Planning ahead to get home safely will help you avoid getting into an awkward or risky situation, such as having to refuse a lift from a driver who has had alcohol. If you're getting a lift back from a night out with someone, make sure they are 100% on board with not having any alcohol at all. Always have a plan B just in case a designated driver lets you down, or arrange from the outset to get a taxi or public transport instead.

Calls for government action
Brake calls for a zero tolerance limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, to send a clear message that it should be none for the road. This allows for naturally occurring alcohol in the body, and is a limit set by numerous other countries including Sweden, Poland and Greece. The EU recommends a limit of no more than 50mg, and within the EU only Malta shares the UK's limit of 80mg alcohol. Governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced intentions to reduce their limits to 50mg alcohol per 100ml blood. In Northern Ireland, newly qualified drivers and commercial drivers will have a zero tolerance limit of 20mg.

Brake
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes
[1] Christmas party-goers urged to help save lives by standing up to 'designated drivers' who drink, as survey shows we're still too timid, Brake, 10 December 2013
[2] Huge roads policing cuts put public at risk, warns charity, Brake, 23 January 2012
[3] Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2012 Annual Report, Department for Transport, 2013
[4] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[5] ibid

Britain still struggling to break the drink drive habit

Thursday 6 August 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has reiterated its call for a zero-tolerance drink drive limit, in response to government figures showing Britain is still failing to adequately tackle its drink drive problem. A final estimate shows 240 people were killed by drivers over the legal drink drive limit in 2013, while provisional estimates suggest at least that number were killed again in 2014.

However, the number of people seriously injured in drink drive crashes did fall by 8% to 1,100 from 2012 to 2013, with drink drive casualties of all severities down 17% to 8,270 in the same period. Brake has cautiously welcomed this news.

The figures show that the profile of Britain’s illegal drink drivers has remained largely the same:

  • Three quarters (74%) of those killed and seriously injured are male.
  • More than three in ten (31%) drivers killed aged 25 to 39 are over the drink drive limit – the highest of any age group.
  • A quarter of drink drive deaths and serious injuries result from crashes where a young driver (17-24 years old) was over the limit.

Brake is highlighting international evidence showing that lower drink drive limits and increased enforcement help to bring down drink drive crashes [1] [2] [3]. 

Meanwhile, provisional figures for the year ending March 2015 have again shown little progress in overall road casualty reduction, with casualties of all severities down 2% to 186,060 – too small a fall to be statistically significant. Brake advocates the reintroduction of ambitious casualty reduction targets to stimulate meaningful progress, and is calling on the government to adopt a ‘vision zero’ approach.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“While the overall reduction in drink drive casualties is encouraging, it is sad and disappointing to learn that the number of deaths has remained the same – as it has approximately since the government axed road casualty reduction targets in 2010. Education on drink driving is important, but it can only achieve so much. It seems we have reached a point where further meaningful reductions in devastating and needless drink drive deaths and serious injuries require more decisive action. Brake is calling for a zero-tolerance drink drive limit and greater priority and resourcing for traffic policing: evidenced steps we’re confident would help tackle this menace. Scotland has already seen promising signs of reducing drink drive rates after lowering its limit. In this context, it is unacceptable for the Westminster government to maintain the highest drink drive limit in Europe.”

Brake campaigns for an effective zero-tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood, through itsnot a drop, not a drag campaign. Tweet us:@Brakecharity, #notadrop.

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, orThe Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.  

End notes

[1] When Sweden lowered its drink-drive limit from 50mg to 20mg per 100ml of blood, drink-drive deaths fell by 10%. The Globe 2003 issue 2, Institute of Alcohol Studies, 2003

[2] The effectiveness of reducing illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits for driving: Evidence for lowering the limit to .05 BAC, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 2005

[3] The impact of implementing random breath testing on criminal justice system resources, MADD, 2012

Charges and penalties

 

Key facts

 
  • The maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving is only five years, compared to 14 for causing death by dangerous driving;
  • In 2015, 188 drivers were charged with ‘causing death by dangerous driving’, while 201 were charged with ‘causing death by careless driving' [1];
  • About three in five people convicted of killing someone while driving are jailed,[2] with an average prison sentence of under four years [3];
  • In 2014, 1.02 million fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued for driving offences in England and Wales; three-quarters of the FPNs were for speed-limit offences, the highest proportion on record [4];
  • FPNs for careless driving (excluding handheld mobile phone use) increased by 11% between 2013 and 2014 [5]; 
  • In 2013, 240 fatal road crashes, and 1,100 crashes resulting in a serious injury, involved a drink-drive offence [6];
  • Nine in 10 people want criminal drivers who kill charged with manslaughter[7];
  • Brake is advocating a review of charges for causing death and serious injury on the road, to ensure drivers are charged with offences that adequately reflect the risk taken and harm caused.

Introduction

 
Drivers who kill, harm and endanger are often let off with grossly inadequate penalties, in some cases for inappropriately-termed charges.

In cases of death and serious injury on our roads, this often causes terrible insult and upset to bereaved and injured victims, leaving many feeling betrayed by our justice system.

What's more, low penalties for driving offences at all levels sends a message that these are minor infringements, rather than serious crimes that result in needless suffering and loss of life.

Brake is now calling on the government to immediately review guidelines for both charging and sentencing criminal drivers as part of its ‘Roads to Justice' campaign.

Current penalties and charges

A combination of inadequacies in the criminal justice system means many drivers who kill or seriously injure receive very low sentences and often no jail term at all. Government figures show only three in five people convicted of killing someone through risky driving are jailed, with an average sentence length of under four years.

The Ministry of Justice decides the offences drivers can be charged with and their maximum penalties. The Crown Prosecution Service then decides which charge to prosecute a driver for in court, often opting for a less serious charge because they are more likely to get a conviction. Judges then determine the length of sentence if the driver is convicted, working within maximum penalties and using guidelines from the Sentencing Council.

Brake believes major improvements are needed to charges, penalties and sentencing to ensure justice is done and there's a strong deterrent against illegal driving.

Read about:

'Careless' driving

When a driver causes a death, they might be prosecuted with 'causing death by dangerous driving' or 'causing death by careless driving'. When a driver causes a serious injury, they might be prosecuted with 'causing serious injury by dangerous driving' (a charge introduced in 2012) or simply 'careless driving'. 

The difference between 'careless' and 'dangerous' driving in the eyes of the law is slight and subjective: it's the difference between someone's driving falling below or well below what is expected of a careful and competent driver. But the difference in penalties between these charges is huge. The maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving is only five years, compared to 14 for causing death by dangerous driving. The maximum sentence for causing serious injury by dangerous driving is five years (if heard in a Crown Court), compared to a maximum penalty of a fine only for careless driving. Very often, prosecutors go for the lesser careless driving charges because they are easier to prove. 

In a study to mark the launch of Brake’s new ‘Roads to Justice’ campaign:

  • Nine in 10 (91%) of people questioned agreed that if someone causes a fatal crash when they get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, they should be charged with manslaughter;
  • Two-thirds (66%) of people surveyed believed that drivers who kill while breaking laws should be jailed for a minimum of 10 years;
  • 84% thought that drivers who kill while breaking the law should be charged with dangerous not careless driving;
  • One in five (19.8%) think that drivers who kill should serve a life sentence.[8]

Brake believes charges and penalties for causing death or serious injury should be overhauled. We need to get rid of the split between 'dangerous' and 'careless' so prosecutors aren't tempted to go for an easier won charge that carries inappropriately low penalties and deems driving that has killed or caused serious harm as merely 'careless', terminology that undermines the gravitas of the offence.

Ideally we should have one charge that can be brought against anyone whose driving causes death or serious injury. Judges could still use their discretion to sentence according to the level of risk taken, across the range of penalties up to the maximum of 14 years. At the very least, prosecuting guidelines should be improved so it is clear that if you were taking an illegal risk when you killed or seriously injured someone, such as speeding or using a phone, your driving is automatically deemed 'dangerous' in the eyes of the law.

Drink drivers

In 2013, 240 fatal road crashes, and 1,100 crashes resulting in a serious injury, involved a drink-drive offence [9]. Currently, drink-drivers face an automatic ban and up to six months in jail, but the penalties are the same no matter how many times they re-offend. Some drivers are also placed on a 'high risk offender' scheme if they are repeat drink-drivers or had a high level of alcohol in their blood. Under this scheme drivers have to undergo tests to show they are not alcohol dependent before getting their licence back.

But the current system to tackle repeat drink-driving isn't working: one in eight drink-drivers do it again, and as many as three in 10 'high risk offenders' reoffend. We need the government to get tough with repeat drink-drivers by giving judges the power to hand out higher sentences (potentially up to two years) to repeat drink-drivers. And we need alcohol interlocks [10] fitted in the vehicles of high-risk offenders who are given back their licence, to help prevent reoffending.

Hit-and-run drivers 

If you hit and kill someone when behind the wheel and you're found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face up to 14 years in jail. However, if you flee the scene and wait to sober up, you'll most likely be charged with 'hit and run' and face a maximum sentence of six months. We need to end the incentive for drink- and drug-drivers to flee the scene to sober up and ensure hit-and-run drivers who kill or seriously injure face the same penalties as other drivers who inflict such destruction. There must be an assumption that if they fled the scene, they caused the crash through dangerous driving.

Unlicensed drivers

Unlicensed or uninsured drivers have no right to be on roads in the first place. Yet unlicensed and uninsured drivers who kill will only receive the maximum penalty (10 years) if it can be proven in court that they were driving ‘dangerously’. If this cannot be proven, they face a maximum sentence of only two years for ‘causing death by driving when unlicensed or uninsured [11].

Unlicensed driving is often closely linked to uninsured driving. This means that those who kill or injure without a licence often drive an uninsured vehicle and those who are injured or who have lost loved ones receive limited pay out. This is unfair and an additional strain placed on victims, and Brake urges the government to crack down on unlicensed and uninsured drivers.

Brake believes an unlicensed or uninsured driver is driving dangerously simply by getting behind the wheel. If an unlicensed or uninsured driver kills or seriously injures someone, they should face the same maximum penalties as those charged with dangerous driving. 

Sentencing guidelines

Judges decide an offender's jail term based on guidelines from the Sentencing Council. Current guidelines frequently result in low sentences being handed down; they desperately need to be changed.

Driving bans

Brake believes drivers who kill and seriously injure should be taken off the road once they are charged, as a condition of bail. Prosecutions often take months to come to court [12]. In many cases the driver charged is able to continue driving during this time, potentially putting others in danger, and often in the same community where the crash took place, causing further distress to 

Fines as a deterrent

In 2014, there were 1.02 million fixed penalty notices issued for driving offences in England and Wales. This was an 11% fall on the number issued in 2013, continuing a year-on-year downward trend. Nearly three-quarters of fines were issued for speeding offences [13].

Brake believes the £100 fixed penalty fine for driving offences sends a dangerous message that offences like speeding and phone use at the wheel, which can and do lead to death and injury, are not real crimes, and important safety laws need not be taken seriously. Research shows that higher fines pose a stronger deterrent against law-breaking [14], so raising the fixed penalty to £500-£1,000 should encourage wider compliance with vital laws that are in place to protect people. 

Penalty points

The penalty-points system is designed to protect the public from dangerous repeat offenders, but the system is being undermined. Thousands of drivers with 12 points or more have been allowed to retain their licence [15]. Many drivers who have reached 12 points have been using a loophole to keep their licence by claiming it would cause 'exceptional hardship' if they were banned. This loophole needs closing urgently: driving is a privilege, not a right; and if that privilege is not exercised responsibly, it should be revocable. Drivers who reach 12 points should be automatically disqualified to protect themselves and others.

Sentencing disqualified drivers

Drivers who are disqualified have proven they are willing to take life-threatening risks. Disqualified drivers who ignore their ban are likely to pose a serious danger.

In April 2015, the maximum sentence for disqualified drivers who kill was increased from two years to 10 years, and a new offence of ‘causing serious injury by driving while disqualified’ was introduced, with a maximum sentence of four years. This represents important progress, but Brake believes people who repeatedly drive while disqualified should face serious consequences, yet they currently only face a further ban and up to six months in jail no matter how many times they are caught.

We need the government to get tough with these serial offenders, by giving judges the power to hand out higher sentences, potentially up to two years, if someone is caught driving while banned repeatedly. Drivers who kill while disqualified should be prosecuted to the same degree as dangerous drivers who who kill.

Driver re-training courses

Driver re-training courses, often offered as a once-only alternative to a fixed penalty notice for speeding and some other road offences, may help improve attitudes to safe driving for some. However, drivers are incentivised to attend by escaping penalty points, meaning repeat offenders may avoid sanction under the points system. Drivers caught for different offences, such as speeding, mobile phone use and careless driving, can go on multiple courses and avoid receiving points on their licence as long as they don't attended the same course twice. Brake argues it would be better to provide an incentive of a reduced fine to attend courses, so drivers who take risks repeatedly are still sanctioned under the points system. This would be possible if the fixed penalty notice was increased to £500-£1,000 as Brake advocates.


End notes:

[1] Criminal justice system statistics quarterly: December 2015, Ministry of Justice, 2016
[2] Criminal justice system statistics quarterly: December 2015, Ministry of Justice, 2016
[3] Motoring data tool: 2015, Department for Transport, 2015
[4]Police powers and procedures in England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2015: Statistical Bulletin, Home Office, 2015
[5] Police powers and procedures in England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2015: Statistical Bulletin, Home Office, 2015
[6] Prof Richard Allsop, Saving lives by lowering the drink-drive limit, 2015
[7] Brake Poll: 2015-16, Brake
[8] Brake Poll: 2015-16, Brake
[9] Prof Richard Allsop, Saving lives by lowering the drink-drive limit, 2015
[10] Alcohol interlocks are vehicle immobilisers that are activated if a driver is unable to pass a breath test, required to start the engine. They can be linked to a camera to prevent drivers asking someone else to take the test for them.
[11] Driving offences involving death, the Sentencing Council of England and Wales
[12] Average time from offence to completion of trial for an indictable driving offence, such as causing death by dangerous or careless driving, is 120 days and only 47% of cases are completed at the first given trial date. Judicial and court statistics 2010, Ministry of Justice, 2011
[13] Police powers and procedures in England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2015: Statistical Bulletin, Home Office, 2015
[14] Calviño, N. "Public Enforcement in the EU: Deterrent Effect and Proportionality of Fines" European Competition Law Annual 2006: Enforcement of Prohibition of Cartels, 2006
[15]Charity calls for reform to get law-breaking drivers off our roads - 10,000 drivers with 12 points are still driving, Brake, 2011.


                        

Charity appeals to drivers: not a drop, not a drag this festive season, as police crackdown starts and new law comes into force in Scotland

Monday 1 December 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on drivers to stay sober if driving over the Christmas period – not a drop, not a drag – or plan to get home by taxi or public transport, to prevent devastating casualties.

The call comes as the Association of Chief Police Officers’ and Police Scotland’s annual drink and drug driving enforcement campaign kicks off. The month long campaign sees forces across the UK stepping up checks to catch drivers risking lives. It’s been given renewed impetus as a new, lower drink drive limit comes into force in Scotland, from 5 December.

Latest available figures, from 2012, show that 230 people were killed (one in eight road deaths) and 1,210 were seriously injured in crashes involving someone over the limit [1]. It’s estimated a further 65 deaths are caused annually by drivers who have been drinking but are under the limit [2]. Drug driving is estimated to cause 200 deaths each year [3].

Brake is renewing calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, in line with evidence that even one drink dramatically increases crash risk [4], and to send a clear message it should be none for the road. A blood alcohol level of 20-50mg increases your likelihood of crashing three-fold [5].

The Scottish Government has introduced a lower limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, coming into force on 5 Dec, and has begun a multi-media campaign to raise awareness of the new law. The rest of the UK retains a 80mg limit – higher than all other EU countries except Malta.

Read about Brake’s not a drop, not a drag campaign. 

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “As a charity that supports bereaved and injured road crash victims, we witness the suffering that drink and drug driving inflict, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it. Drink and drug driving deaths and injuries are cruel and needless, ending and ruining lives and leaving traumatised families to pick up the pieces. If you’re driving home from celebrations this festive season, it’s vital you take your responsibility for people’s safety seriously, and stay completely off booze and drugs. It’s a fact that even small amounts of alcohol or drugs increase your risk of crashing.


“We are calling on the UK government to take action on drink driving. We have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, sending out the dreadful message that a drink or two before driving is acceptable. We welcome the new lower limit in Scotland as a positive stepping stone towards zero tolerance. The evidence shows that a tough approach helps prevent casualties.”

The Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for justice, Kenny MacAskill, said: “With the approval of Parliament, the new drink drive limit will come into force on December 5, making our roads safer and saving lives. We are doing everything we can to make sure everyone is informed about the new lower level.

“A persistent minority of people are still getting behind the wheel after drinking - the best approach is to have nothing at all, alcohol at any level impairs driving.

“This new law will bring Scotland into line with most of Europe and hopefully reduce drink drive arrests and prosecutions, as we have already seen in the Republic of Ireland, where drivers adjusted their behaviour to take account of the lower limit.”

Facts

One in eight deaths on UK roads are caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood [6]. Drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [7]. This is because even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination [8]. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [9].

Westminster rejected recommendations for a lower limit in the North Report into drink and drug driving and Transport Select Committee inquiry into the issue. We now have the highest drink drive limit in Europe, alongside Malta. Evidence is clear that lowering drink drive limits results in fewer casualties [10], even reducing ‘high-level’ drink driving [11].

Read more at www.brake.org.uk/facts.

Advice

Brake calls on drivers to never drive after drinking any amount of alcohol – not a drop – and appeals to everyone to look out for friends and family by speaking out against drink driving.

There are plenty of alternatives to driving if you want to have a drink. Plan ahead for how you will get home by walking (if there's a safe route), taking public transport or booking a taxi. If you need to drive then decide on a designated driver who doesn't drink any alcohol at all, and make sure they stick to this.

Driving after drinking alcohol significantly increases your risk of crashing, potentially killing or injuring yourself, you passengers or someone else. Even if you feel sober after one drink, your reaction times will have slowed and your crash risk increased [12].

Don't drink if you are driving early the next morning. There's no way of knowing exactly how long it takes to sober up completely after drinking, but it's longer than many people think. As a rough guide you should allow one hour to absorb alcohol, plus at least one hour for each unit consumed – but it could take longer, so you should always leave extra time to be safe. If you have to drive the next morning, limit yourself to no more than one or two drinks. If you have a lot to drink, you may be impaired for all of the following day.

Brake is calling on members of the public to play their part in making roads safer by signing Brake’s Pledge at www.brake.org.uk/pledge, to make a personal commitment to use roads safely and sustainably, and help reduce the lives lost needlessly on our roads.

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes:

[1] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013

[2] Reducing the BAC limit to 50mg – what can we expect to gain?, Professor Richard E Allsop, Centre for Transport Studies University College London (PACTS, 2005)

[3] Report of the review of drink and drug driving, Sir Peter North CBE QC, 2010

[4] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011

[5] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013

[6] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013

[7] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

[8] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011

[9] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

[10] Research by Sheffield University, which examined casualty trends in England and Wales against the success of lowering the limit in other European Countries and Australia, estimated that lowering the limit to 50mg would save in the region of 77-168 deaths each year in England and Wales alone. (R Rafia, A Brennan, Modelling methods to estimate the potential impact of lowering the blood alcohol concentration limit from 80 mg/100 ml to 50 mg/100 ml in England and Wales, Report to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, 2010). Brake believes lowering the limit to 20mg is likely prevent even more deaths, given evidence showing the detrimental effects on driving of 20-50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. When Sweden lowered its drink-drive limit from 50mg to 20mg per 100ml of blood, drink-drive deaths fell by 10%. (The Globe 2003 issue 2, Institute of Alcohol Studies, 2003)

[11] Brooks C, Zaal D, Effects of a reduced alcohol limit for driving, Australia: Federal Office of Road Safety , 1993

[12] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011

Charity welcomes reduction in Scotland’s drink driving rates

Friday 9 January 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed the 19% per cent drop in drink driving detections, revealed this week by Police Scotland.  

These are the first set of drink drive statistics released under a new, lower drink drive regime in Scotland, introduced on 5 December 2014. The limit is50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The rest of the UK retains a 80mg limit – higher than all other EU countries except Malta.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “The new, lower limit appears to have had a positive impact on drivers in Scotland. That said, there were still 351 drivers who chose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.  As a charity that supports bereaved and injured road crash victims, we witness the suffering that drink and drug driving inflict, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it. Drink and drug driving deaths and injuries are cruel and needless, ending and ruining lives and leaving traumatised families to pick up the pieces.”

“We are calling on the Westminster government to take action on drink driving. We have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, sending out the dreadful message that a drink or two before driving is acceptable.We welcome the new lower limit in Scotland as a positive stepping stone towards zero tolerance. The evidence shows that a tough approach helps prevent casualties.

Latest available figures, from 2012, show that 230 people were killed (one in eight road deaths) and 1,210 were seriously injured in crashes involving someone over the limit [1].It’s estimated a further 65 deaths are caused annually by drivers who have been drinking but are under the limit [2]. Drug driving is estimated to cause 200 deaths each year [3].

Brake is renewing calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, in line with evidence that even one drink dramatically increases crash risk [4], and to send a clear message it should be none for the road. A blood alcohol level of 20-50mg increases your likelihood of crashing three-fold [5].

Read about Brake’snot a drop, not a drag campaign.

Facts

One in eight deaths on UK roads are caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood [6]. Drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [7]. This is because even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination [8]. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [9].

Westminster rejected recommendations for a lower limit in theNorth Report into drink and drug driving andTransport Select Committee inquiry into the issue. We now have the highest drink drive limit in Europe, alongside Malta. Evidence is clear that lowering drink drive limits results in fewer casualties [10], even reducing ‘high-level’ drink driving [11].

Read more atwww.brake.org.uk/facts.

Advice

Brake calls on drivers to never drive after drinking any amount of alcohol – not a drop – and appeals to everyone to look out for friends and family by speaking out against drink driving.

There are plenty of alternatives to driving if you want to have a drink. Plan ahead for how you will get home by walking (if there's a safe route), taking public transport or booking a taxi. If you need to drive then decide on a designated driver who doesn't drink any alcohol at all, and make sure they stick to this.

Driving after drinking alcohol significantly increases your risk of crashing, potentially killing or injuring yourself, you passengers or someone else. Even if you feel sober after one drink, your reaction times will have slowed and your crash risk increased [12].

Don't drink if you are driving early the next morning. There's no way of knowing exactly how long it takes to sober up completely after drinking, but it's longer than many people think. As a rough guide you should allow one hour to absorb alcohol, plus at least one hour for each unit consumed – but it could take longer, so you should always leave extra time to be safe. If you have to drive the next morning, limit yourself to no more than one or two drinks. If you have a lot to drink, you may be impaired for all of the following day.

Brake is calling on members of the public to play their part in making roads safer by signing Brake's Pledge atwww.brake.org.uk/pledge, to make a personal commitment to use roads safely and sustainably, and help reduce the lives lost needlessly on our roads.

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education,services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake onTwitter orFacebook. FollowJulie Townsend on Twitter.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes:

[1] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[2] Reducing the BAC limit to 50mg – what can we expect to gain?, Professor Richard E Allsop, Centre for Transport Studies University College London (PACTS, 2005)
[3] Report of the review of drink and drug driving, Sir Peter North CBE QC, 2010
[4] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011
[5]National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[6]Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[7]National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[8]The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011
[9]National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[10] Research by Sheffield University, which examined casualty trends in England and Wales against the success of lowering the limit in other European Countries and Australia, estimated that lowering the limit to 50mg would save in the region of 77-168 deaths each year in England and Wales alone. (R Rafia, A Brennan, Modelling methods to estimate the potential impact of lowering the blood alcohol concentration limit from 80 mg/100 ml to 50 mg/100 ml in England and Wales, Report to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, 2010). Brake believes lowering the limit to 20mg is likely prevent even more deaths, given evidence showing the detrimental effects on driving of 20-50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. When Sweden lowered its drink-drive limit from 50mg to 20mg per 100ml of blood, drink-drive deaths fell by 10%. (The Globe 2003 issue 2, Institute of Alcohol Studies, 2003)
[11] Brooks C, Zaal D, Effects of a reduced alcohol limit for driving, Australia: Federal Office of Road Safety , 1993
[12] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011

Consultation on Enforcement Procedures against Drink Drivers and Other Offenders

Response by Brake, the road safety charity

2 January 2013

About Brake

Brake is an independent charity working across the UK to make roads safer, prevent road death and injury, and care for victims. Brake carries out research into road users' attitudes and behaviour in relation to road safety, engages schools and communities to spread road safety education, disseminates international research, guidance and case studies to fleet and road safety professionals through its Fleet Safety Forum and Road Safety Forum, and supports communities campaigning for road safety. It is also a national, government-funded provider of specialist support for people bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes, running a national helpline and providing packs that are handed to bereaved families by police following every road death.

Summary

Brake strongly welcomes the proposals within this consultation, on the basis that this is expected to help police to prosecute drink and drug drivers more efficiently, thereby ensuring fewer drink drivers escape prosecution, and freeing up police time for frontline traffic enforcement checks, helping to deter offending and reduce the toll of crashes and casualties.

Brake recommends a tougher conversion between BAC and breath measurements, especially given the CPS and police operate a higher charging threshold, to reflect a more scientifically accurate comparison and prevent drink drivers escaping prosecution.

Brake urges the government to reconsider its stance on lowering the drink drive limit, given the wealth of evidence that even low levels of alcohol significantly impair driving , and given evidence that lowering the limit reduces high-end margin drink drive offenders and brings about casualty reductions . Lowering the limit to 20mg alcohol/100ml blood, which Brake recommends, would send out a clear message that it is not safe to have one drink and drive.

Q1. Should the statutory option be withdrawn or not?

Yes. Brake agrees the statutory option is unnecessary and creates additional costs and difficulties in prosecuting some drivers. Brake therefore recommends its withdrawal.

Q2. Do you agree with the retention of the implied blood to breath alcohol concentration ratio of 2,300:1 for the prescribed limit upon the withdrawal of the statutory option? If not should a ratio of 2,000:1 (or what other ratio) be used with a higher prescribed breath alcohol concentration or with lower prescribed blood and urine alcohol concentrations?

Brake recommends increasing the ratio to 2,400:1 given this is the average conversion rate. To have a lower rate is unduly lenient, because it is already the case that the police and the CPS operate a charging threshold at 40mcg, 5mcg alcohol above the limit, before prosecuting for drink driving. To employ both a charging threshold and a lower ratio means some drivers who are over the legal blood alcohol limit are likely to escape prosecution for drink driving.

Indeed, Brake recommends lowering both the blood and breath concentration legal limits, given, as the DfT admits, that concentrations below the current limit impairs drivers significantly .

Brake recommends a lower limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood, around 8mcg breath per 100ml. There is a great deal of evidence that even very small amounts of alcohol impair driving. Sir Peter North's report acknowledged that drivers with a BAC of 20mg to 50 mg/100ml have at least a three times greater risk of dying in a vehicle crash than drivers who have no alcohol in their blood . However, Brake recognises a reduction from 80 to 50mg would also be a positive step for road safety, as is proposed for Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is on the basis that crash risk is significantly higher for drivers with 50-80mg alcohol per 100ml blood compared to drivers with lower levels of alcohol , and other countries that have reduced their limit to 50mg have seen a reduction in casualties .

Q3. Are there any issues related to the statutory option which you consider might justify a different position about whether to withdraw it or not in different parts of Great Britain?

No.

Q4. Should the statutory option be withdrawn in the rail, shipping and aviation sectors? If not in which sectors should it be kept?

N/A

Q5. Should the requirement for a preliminary breath test prior to the requirement for an evidential breath test outside a police station or hospital be removed?

Yes. Brake agrees it is sensible to remove the need for a preliminary test for the sake of improving efficiency.

Q6. Should legislation be amended to allow registered health care professionals to take evidential blood specimens for drink and drug driving proceedings elsewhere than at a police station?

Yes. Brake agrees it is sensible to allow registered health care professionals to take evidential blood specimens for drink and drug drinking proceedings elsewhere than at a police station, for the sake of improving efficiency and helping to ensure that drink drivers do not escape prosecution.

Q7. Do you have any comments on the proposal to allow registered healthcare professionals as well as doctors to answer the question about whether the condition of a drug driving suspect might be due to a drug?

Brake agrees this is an important proposal on the basis that it is expected to improve the speed and efficiency with which drug drivers will be prosecuted in circumstances where proof of impairment is still a requirement for prosecution.

Q8. Do you consider whether any changes (related to preliminary breath tests, testing procedures in hospitals and the question of whether a condition is due to drugs) made to the Road Traffic Act

should be extended to:

a. the Railways and Transport Safety Act for aviation;

b. the Railways and Transport Safety Act for shipping;

c. the Transport and Works Act for rail (including the

power to conduct evidential breath tests outside police

stations)?

N/A

Q9. Do you agree that post-court rehabilitation schemes for drivers disqualified due to speeding, careless driving and other offences and for offenders with 7-11 penalty points should not be implemented for the foreseeable future?

Yes. Brake believes it would be detrimental to offer an additional course to drivers who have reached 7 – 11 penalty points in lieu of receiving further points when many will have already been offered a course through NDORS. It is unlikely to offer educational benefit to drivers who have already been on a course and is likely to undermine the penalty points system by allowing drivers who have committed numerous risky offences to escape a driving ban, which should be automatic for all drivers who rack up 12 points for the sake of protecting the public.

Q10. Do you agree that in principle the use of extended driving tests and other competence tests should be evaluated with a view to considering their use more widely for offences involving disqualification in excess of 56 days?

Yes. Brake would welcome extended driving/competence tests for drivers who have committed serious driving offences and urges the government to evaluate this option. Where a driver has taken significant risks with others' lives it is appropriate that they should prove they are ready to take responsibility on roads before they regain a licence. This test should focus on assessing understanding of the main risk factors on roads and the key principles of safe and responsible driving, and commitment and ability to driving as safely as possible. However, if introduced, it should be a compulsory test that is a condition of regaining your licence: not as a way to serve a shorter driving ban. In cases where drivers have caused very serious injury or death, it may not be appropriate for a driver to ever regain a driving licence. A licence is a privilege, not a right and a life-time driving ban may be appropriate in cases where there is a history of risk-taking, and consequently this resulted in loss of life or very serious injuries.

You can read more about Brake's calls for action at it's Not a drop, not a drag campaign page.

Crawl it

BUNFEST 2014 2Why not get together with friends and organise a sponsored crawl of your local coffee houses or pubs? It's a great way to get together with mates and have a natter while also raising funds for Brake. 

Alcohol warning! If you are crawling pubs, and people in your party are likely to want to drink alcohol, please remember that you're fundraising for a road safety charity. If you are crawling on foot, ask participants to keep under the legal limit to keep them safe between venues. If you are crawling by bicycle, don't drink alcohol. We don't recommend you crawl by car for sustainability reasons, but if you do need to get somewhere by car, use a designated driver who doesn't drink alcohol. 

What you need?
-
A group of friends
- A list of the venues you are heading to (and a map if needed)
- Fancy dress outfit 
- Bucket or collection box 
- Letter of support from the charity, to show in the venues 

What you need to do
- Firstly, work out a schedule of where you’re going to visit and when. 
- In order to collect money, get permission from the manager at the venues you wish to collect money at. Call in and speak to them directly, show your letter confirming that it’s a genuine fundraiser. Inform them of the appropriate time you plan to be there. 
- Gather together a group of friends to fundraise with you. Make sure you arrange it far enough in advance so they are free and make sure that they are also aware of the need to have sober fun. 
- Why not draw attention to yourselves by wearing fancy dress? Dress brightly in neon outfits to draw attention to the vulnerability of pedestrians and cyclists. 

On the day
On arrival at each venue, double check, again, with the manager that it is still ok for you to collect.  Then walk round with huge smiles on your faces (it really does make a difference!), telling people about the excellent cause you are collecting for!

Very very important!
Remember, you are representing Brake at this event, so whilst it’s important to have fun, it is also important to be sensible and be sober!

Never drink and drive! Any drivers must pledge to drink soft drinks only, all evening.

For tips on raising sponsorship money click here

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?   A fundraiser with a difference!
For more information telephone Joe on 01484 550060, email fundraise@brake.org.uk or complete a short online form.

Not for you? Return to the fundraising home page.

Be inspired Click here for photos of our fundraisers on Facebook 

 

Drink drive message still not getting through as one in 15 fail breath-tests

Friday 25 July 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has issued an appeal to the public to not drink and drive – not a drop – this summer and year-round, as figures from the Association of Chief Police Officer's (ACPO) summer drink drive enforcement campaign, show one in 15 of those breath-tested were over the limit.

During the national campaign, which ran from 1 June to 30 June, 63,688 breath tests were administered, of which 4,108 (6.5%, or one in 15) were failed or refused. This is 1.3% more than during the 2013 campaign, possibly resulting from increasingly targeted testing by police. The failure rate was even higher among under 25s, at 7.5% (one in 13).

Reacting, Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Brake supports ACPO taking a proactive role in stopping deadly drink drivers. It is frustrating to see too many drivers still selfishly risking lives by getting behind the wheel after drinking, even when the dangers and consequences are so well documented. Our message to drivers is to pledge to never drive after drinking any alcohol – not a drop.

"To stamp out the menace of drink driving, we need the government to introduce a zero-tolerance drink drive limit, rather than asking drivers to do the impossible and guess if they are safe to drive. The law needs to make it crystal clear that drinking any amount of alcohol makes you a danger at the wheel. We also need the government to give greater priority to traffic policing, so we have a suitably strong deterrent against this abhorrent behaviour."

Brake campaigns for a zero-tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood through the Not a drop, not a drag campaign, as well as greater priority and investment in traffic policing. Brake is urging all political parties to make zero tolerance on drink driving a key manifesto commitment for the 2015 general election. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #notadrop.

Facts
One in six deaths on UK roads are caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit [1] of 80mg alcohol per 100 ml blood, but drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [2]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [3].

Brake's advice
Even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times and hazard perception, making them much more likely to crash, even if they don't feel drunk or even tipsy. The only way to ensure you're safe is to not drink any alcohol before driving, and never drive the morning after having more than one or two drinks. As a passenger, only accept a lift with a driver who's had no alcohol at all.

Planning ahead to get home safely will help avoid getting into an awkward or risky situation, such as having to refuse a lift from a driver who has had alcohol. If you're getting a lift back from a BBQ, party or night out with someone, make sure they are 100% on board with not having any alcohol at all. Always have a plan B just in case a designated driver lets you down, or arrange from the outset to get a taxi or public transport instead.

Calls for government action
Brake calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, to send a clear message that it should be none for the road. This allows for naturally occurring alcohol in the body, and is a limit set by numerous other countries including Sweden, Poland and Greece. The EU recommends a limit of no more than 50mg, and within the EU only Malta shares the UK's limit of 80mg. Governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced intentions to reduce their limits to 50mg, and in Northern Ireland, newly qualified drivers and commercial drivers will have a zero tolerance limit of 20mg.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes
[1] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[2] Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010
[3] ibid

Drink driving

sober2strapKey facts

  • In 2014, 240 people in Great Britain were killed in crashes where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, largely unchanged since 2011;
  • Fatalities involving at least one driver over the alcohol limit accounted for 13% of road deaths in 2014;
  • Serious injuries where at least one driver was over the limit dropped by 3% between 2013 and 2014, the third consecutive annual decrease;
  • 70% of drink-drive fatalities in 2014 were men, showing a worrying trend developing;
  • A quarter of all drink-drive deaths in 2014 resulted from crashes where the driver over the limit was 25-39;[1]
  • Between 2010 and 2013 for every four deaths in collisions involving a drink-drive offence, one more death happened in a collision at a lower blood alcohol level;
  • It is estimated that lowering the drink-drive limit in 2010 could have saved 25 lives and prevented 95 serious injuries between 2010 and 2013.[2]

Introduction

Drink driving is still one of the biggest killers on our roads. In 2014, it is estimated that 13% of all road deaths in Great Britain resulted from crashes where the at least one driver was over the alcohol limit [3]. A further estimated 25 road deaths per year are caused by drivers who are under the drink-drive limit, but who have significant amounts of alcohol in their blood [4].

The number of deaths involving a driver under the influence of alcohol was 240 in 2014. That figure has been consistently been reported since 2010 and this trend looks set to continue if the provisional estimate for the 2015 figures proves to be accurate (200-290 killed).[5]

These deaths, and the many more serious injuries, can be stopped if all drivers pledge to not drink any alcohol – not a drop – before driving. They can also be stopped by improving government policies. Evidence from around the world shows that taking steps such as lowering drink drive limits and stepping up police enforcement checks are highly effective in cutting drink-drive casualties.

Learn more: Use Brake's interactive resource to bust the myths on drink driving.

Who drink-drives?

According to a survey of 1,000 drivers by Brake and Direct Line, one in three (32%) UK drivers admit to driving after drinking any amount of alcohol in the last year. Almost one in five (19%) admit driving the morning after having a lot to drink, when they are likely to still be over the limit [6].

Certain types of driver are more likely to be in drink-drive crashes:

  • In 2014 70% of drink-drive fatalities in 2014 were men, showing a worrying trend developing; [7]
  • Three-quarters (73%) of drivers who fail breath tests following crashes are men [8], and more than twice as many men as women admit to drink-driving [9]
  • Young drivers aged 17-24 have the highest level of drink-drive crashes per distance travelled [10]
  • However, a quarter (25%) of all drink-drive deaths in 2014 resulted from crashes where the driver over the limit was aged 25-39. [11]

How much is too much?

The legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving in England and Wales is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (80mg/100ml).

In many countries, the BAC limit is much lower. In most of Europe, including Scotland, it is 50mg/100ml. The Road Traffic (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 legislates for the drink-drive limit in Northern Ireland to be reduced to 50mg/100ml (20mg/100ml for learners, newly qualified drivers and professional drivers) in 2016.

In some countries, such as Sweden, the legal limit is 20mg/100ml for all drivers [12] – effectively zero tolerance.

There is no failsafe way to tell how much alcohol will put you over the limit, or to convert the BAC limit into how many units you can have: the concentration of alcohol in blood depends on various factors.

What is clear is that even very small amounts of alcohol affect your driving. Drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [13]. Drivers with BAC of 10mg/100ml, far below the UK or European drink drive limits, are 46% more likely to be at fault in collisions than sober drivers [14], and when they crash, do more damage than sober drivers [15]. That’s why the only safe amount to drink if you’re driving is nothing at all – not a drop.

Take action: Support Brake’s Driving for Zero campaign for zero tolerance on drink driving.

What are the penalties for drink driving?

In the UK if a driver is found to be over the drink-drive limit, and/or driving while impaired by alcohol, they can receive a maximum penalty of six months in prison, an unlimited fine and an automatic driving ban of at least one year. If a driver kills someone while under the influence of alcohol, they can be charged with causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs (Section 3A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended by the Road Traffic Act 1991, section 3)), which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

How do the police catch drink drivers?

In the UK, police can stop and breathalyse you if they have reason to suspect you have been drinking – for example, if you are driving erratically. They can also breathalyse you if you have committed another traffic offence (such as speeding or driving without a seat belt) or if you are involved in a crash [16].

In many countries police have the power to stop and breathalyse drivers at random, with no need to suspect the driver is under the influence. For example, police may randomly test drivers near pubs and clubs late at night. Random testing is allowed in most EU countries [17]. Random breath-testing has been found to be highly effective in reducing drink-drive casualties without over-burdening the police and criminal justice system [18].

In some countries, including more than half of EU member states, police can also set up sobriety checkpoints. Police will test either a random selection, or all drivers passing the checkpoint [19].

What does alcohol do to the body?

Alcohol is a depressant and even small amounts (such as half a pint of lager) affect your reaction times, judgement and co-ordination. It also makes you drowsy and affects your vision and how you judge speed and distance [20].

Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not. For these reasons, the only way for drivers to be safe is to not drink anything at all before driving: feeling sober is not a reliable indication that you are safe to drive.

Learn more: Read our advice for drivers on staying sober and safe.

How much alcohol is in your drink?

The alcohol content of drinks is measured in units. A UK unit is eight grams (or 10 millilitres) of pure alcohol [21]. Below is a list of some popular drinks and how many units they contain: 

  • A single shot (25ml measure) of 40% spirit (e.g. gin, whisky or vodka): one unit
  • A pint of 4.5% beer: 2.3 units
  • A large (250ml) glass of 13% wine: 3.2 units
  • A pint of 6% cider: 3.4 units 

DrinkAware has a unit calculator that you can use to track exactly how much alcohol you have drunk. Apps such as MyDrinkAware can help you keep track of how much you've drunk when out and about.

Resource: Download our 'Sober Up' factsheet on the risks of drink driving, or order a free leaflet.

How long does it take to sober up?

To be safe, drivers should ensure they are completely sober before driving – including the following day.

There’s no way of knowing exactly how long it takes to sober up completely after drinking, but it’s longer than many people think. As a rough guide drivers should allow at least one hour to absorb alcohol, plus at least one hour for each unit consumed [22] – but it can take longer, so it’s wise to leave extra time to be safe. Our morning-after calculator, at the bottom of this page, shows how long it can take to be alcohol-free after a few drinks.

For example, if you finish drinking three pints of strong lager or one bottle of 12% ABV wine (both nine units) at midnight, you will not be rid of alcohol until at least 9am. If you have a heavy and/or late night drinking you could be impaired all of the next day. Drinking coffee, eating, sleeping and showering don’t make you sober up any faster. It just takes time.

How long it takes for alcohol to leave your system varies depending on lots of factors, including: 

  • Gender – men tend to process alcohol faster than women;
  • Dehydration– if you haven’t drunk enough fluids, alcohol will stay in your system for longer;
  • Mixers– mixing drinks with water and juice means you absorb alcohol slower, fizzy mixers mean you absorb alcohol faster than with no mixers;
  • Tiredness– when you’re tired your liver becomes less efficient, processing alcohol more slowly so it stays in your system for longer. [23] 

Brake advises people who need to drive the next day to limit themselves to one or two drinks.

                                                 Morning-after calculator

Please note: the calculator requires a Flash-enabled browser.

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End notes

[1] DfT,Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional), 2016

[2] Prof. R. Allsop, Saving lives by lowering the drink-drive limit, 2015

[3] DfT,Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional), 2016

[4] Prof. R. Allsop, Saving lives by lowering the drink-drive limit, 2015

[5] DfT, Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional), 2016

[6] Brake, Direct Line and Brake Survey report 2012-14: Fit to Drive, 2014

[7] DfT, Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional), 2016

[8] DfT, Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2014, 2015, table RAS51018

[9] DfT, Self-reported drink and drug driving: Finding from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2015, table RAS51102 

[10] DfT, Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2014, 2015, table RAS51010

[11] DfT, Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional), 2016

[12] World Health Organisation, Global status report on road safety, 2013

[13] Global status report on road safety, World Health Organisation, 2015

[14] Official blame for drivers with very low blood alcohol content, British Medical Journal, 2014

[15] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration, University of California San Diego, 2011

[16] Gov.uk, Being stopped by the police while driving: breath tests, 2014

[17] Random breath testing: data by country, World Health Organisation, 2012

[18] The impact of implementing random breath testing on criminal justice system resources, MADD, 2012

[19] Sobriety checkpoints: data by country, World Health Organisation, 2012

[20] How much alcohol can I drink before driving?NHS Choices, 2013

[21] What is an alcohol unit?DrinkAware, 2014

[22] How long does alcohol stay in your blood?NHS Choices, 2013

[23] Calculating your BAC, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2012


 Page last updated: March 2016

The number of deaths involving a driver under the influence of alcohol was 240 in 2014. That figure has been consistently been reported since 2010 and this trend looks set to continue if theprovisional estimate for the 2015 figures proves to be accurate (200-290 killed).