21 March 2011
From: Brake, the road safety charity
The Government has announced today that it will not lower the drink drive limit or introduce random breath-testing, despite recommendations from parliament’s Transport Select Committee and an independent review by Sir Peter North.
The Government has stated that it will consider making it a specific offence to drive on drugs, removing the need to prove impairment, and that it will introduce roadside drugs testing devices as soon as possible.
Brake welcomes the move to introduce roadside drugs testing, and urges the Government to implement a specific drug driving offence without delay.
However, it is bitterly disappointed that the Government has failed to listen to the evidence showing that lowering the drink drive limit and implementing random breath testing would be effective in cutting casualties. Brake advocates a drink-drive limit of 20mg per 100ml blood (currently 80mg/100ml blood) – a ‘zero tolerance’ approach that would send out a clear message that it’s none for the road. Brake is highlighting that there is widespread support for this lower limit, as well as international evidence that it would be a positive step in tackling drink-drive deaths and injuries.
About one in six road deaths are caused by drink drivers. In 2009, there were were seven deaths and 28 serious injuries every week in Britain caused by drink drivers who were over the limit . More deaths, estimated at 65 a year, are caused by drivers who have between 50-80mg of alcohol per 100ml blood .
Read Brake’s full recommendations for Government action on drink and drug driving submitted to the Transport Select Committee inquiry in 2010.
Julie Townsend, campaigns director at Brake, says: “These moves by Government to address the scourge of drug driving are incredibly important in tackling casualties and making our roads safer for everyone. We hope the Government will act quickly to implement a specific offence on drug driving, and roadside testing, both of which are desperately needed.
“However, we must not forget that drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads. It’s therefore bitterly disappointing that the Government has chosen to ignore evidence showing that lowering our drink drive limit and implementing random breath-testing would be highly effective in cutting these tragic, costly and preventable casualties. Quite simply, we need a zero tolerance approach to drink driving – including a lower limit, and far more breath-testing – if we are to stamp out this deadly menace once and for all.”