Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland
Alistair Carmichael MP is campaigning to stop the horrifying number of deaths and injuries caused by drink-drivers in the UK. Throughout June, he raised awareness of the problem in Parliament and through the media, urging the Government to lower the drink-drive limit and increase the number of dedicated roads policing officers enforcing the law.
Alistair gathered information through Parliamentary questions, finding that:
- the number of people killed in drink-drive crashes has risen by 26%, from 460 in 1999 to 580 in 2004 (Hansard, 19 Jun 2007 : Column 1776W)
- there was a 35% rise in the number of people convicted of ‘causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs’ between 1999 and 2004. The number shot up from 46 to 62 in just five years (Hansard, 25 Jun 2007 : Column 342W)
- the number of women found guilty of drink or drug driving has risen by 58% in the last 10 years, from 6,793 in 1995 to 10,765 in 2004. The number of men found guilty of drink or drug driving fell slightly (from 85,693 in 1995 to 85,473 in 2004) but remains much higher than the number of women (Hansard, 20 Jun 2007 : Column 1956W)
- a total of 577,600 breath tests were carried out in 2004 (Hansard, 22 May 2007 : Column 1246W)
Alistair worked with press to gain support and momentum for his campaign. After issuing a press release to highlight the topic, Alistair and the Liberal Democrats were featured commenting on drink-driving in many national papers, including the Independent.
Alistair’s campaign coincided with road safety minister Stephen Ladyman’s announcement at a conference that the Government was considering cutting the legal alcohol limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, in line with EC recommendations and the vast majority of EU countries. The Liberal Democrats have actively campaigned for this change since adopting this measure as a party policy several years ago. Following the minister’s announcement, Alistair stepped up his campaign, urging a lower drink-drive limit and to calling for more police officers on the roads to enforce the law. He also issued a press release on this topic.
Brake’s website has more information and advice on drink-driving.