Shocking numbers of drivers risked lives in Scotland last Christmas

News from Brake
13th January 2016

news@brake.org.uk

Brake is deeply disappointed as the latest drink drive figures show the number of people caught over the legal limit in Scotland over Christmas and New Year rose by a third.

Out of the 16,225 people tested between 3 December 2015 and 1 January 2016, 459 were found to be over the limit, that’s around 1 in 35. During the same period over the previous festive season it was 1 in 50.

The Scottish government admits the seasonal spike is in stark contrast to the general downward trend in drink driving since the legal limit was lowered in December 2014. The number of people caught drink driving over the whole of 2015 was down 7.6% on the previous year.

Gary Rae, Director of Campaigns and communications for Brake said: “It’s deeply disappointing that so many drivers have seen Christmas as an excuse to risk not only their lives, but other road users’ lives too. Drink driving is still one of the biggest killers on our roads with 1 in 7 road deaths in UK caused by a driver who was over the limit. We see first-hand the devastation left behind for families and loved ones by these entirely preventable collisions. The figures are especially disheartening when compared to the lower figures of Christmas 2014, and the reduced numbers of people caught drink driving in 2015 as a whole after Scotland lowered the legal drink drive limit the previous year.”

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 [1], 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 [2]. In December, 2014 the Scottish Government introduced a lower limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. 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.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety 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 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.

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[1] 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

[2] 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

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.