Brake backs Police Federation plea for lower drink drive limit and calls for greater priority for life-saving roads policing

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Brake, the road safety charity 

Brake, the road safety charity, has given its strong backing to calls made today (19 May 2015) by the Police Federation – the staff association for all police constables, sergeants and inspectors in England and Wales – for a lower drink drive limit, following evidence from Scotland that the lower limit introduced there last year has led to a marked reduction in drink driving rates [1].

The call is being made at the Police Federation’s annual conference, being held in Bournemouth this week. The Police Federation is also highlighting what it calls the “unprecedented cuts” suffered by roads policing units in the last five years, leaving them unable to properly enforce life-saving road safety laws [2].

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Brake agrees with the Police Federation that the UK drink drive limit – one of the highest in Europe – needs to be lowered. We would like to see an effective zero-tolerance limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood. This would make it clear that even small amounts of alcohol affect your ability to drive safely, and end the widespread confusion over whether it’s safe and acceptable to have one or two drinks and drive. Research is clear that even very small amounts of alcohol impair, hence it should always be ‘none for the road’ – not a drop.

“Brake also echoes the Police Federation’s concern over the severe cuts that have been made to roads policing in recent years, which have been disproportionally heavier than cuts to other areas of policing. Given that enhanced traffic policing offers a huge return on investment and a way to avert needless casualties and suffering, this makes no rational, moral or economic sense. Brake urges the government to make traffic policing a national priority and give officers the backing and resources they need to do their job.”

Brake campaigns for a zero-tolerance drink drive limit through its not a drop, not a drag campaign, and for prioritised police traffic enforcement through its crackdown campaign. Tweet us @Brakecharity, #notadrop, #crackdown.


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] Charity welcomes reduction in Scotland’s drink driving rates, Brake, 9 January 2015

[2] Women’s drink driving comes under scrutiny, Police Federation, 19 May 2015

Tags: Drink-Drive police scotland conference