Government must learn from Scottish drink drive laws and cut limit in England and Wales to save lives

News from Brake

10 February 2016

Brake is disappointed transport minister Andrew Jones MP has now confirmed there will be no review of the drink drive limit in England and Wales. This seems to be at odds with his stated intentions to discuss the experience of the lower limit in Scotland and get access to robust evidence of the road safety impact.   

We are urging the minister to learn from the successful reduction of the drink drive limit in Scotland during talks with his Scottish counterpart [i] and instigate a review of those levels in the rest of the UK. 

We already know the number of drink drive offences fell by more than 12 per cent in Scotland in the first nine months after the drink drive limit was lowered from 80 to 50mg/100ml of blood in December 2014.  It dropped by almost 8 percent during the first year in total, the figure being reduced by a drink driving spike over Christmas and New Year.[ii]

A study by the Scottish government also found the reduction is changing attitudes with 82 per cent of people there now believing it is not acceptable to drink any amount of alcohol and then drive. [iii] The government’s own research in the latest British Social Attitudes survey shows 85 percent of people think you should not drink any alcohol at all if you plan to drive.[iv]

Campaigns director for Brake, the road safety charity Gary Rae said: “We would urge the minister to listen to and learn from his Scottish counterpart and respect the wishes of both the British public and the police by following Scotland’s lead and dropping the drink drive limit. Early indications show a clear reduction in offences in Scotland which can only make our roads safer and mean fewer devastating preventable deaths and injuries. This would be a useful step in moving towards a complete zero tolerance of drink driving, which is the only way to make our roads safe.”


Notes to Editors:

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 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.


Tags: Drink-Drive scotland alcohol impairment