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Lower alcohol limit needed to reduce deaths on our roads, says BMA

Commenting on the launch of the Road Safety Compliance consultation published (Thursday, 20th November 2008), BMA Head of Science and Ethics, Dr Vivienne Nathanson said:

"There are a number of sensible ideas in this consultation which if adopted will help improve the nation’s road safety.

“It is particularly encouraging that the Government intends to investigate the impact of drugs on driving, as well as initiate a major awareness campaign on the issue.

“Research suggests that illicit drugs contribute significantly to road accidents in this country. It is vital that the public is educated about the dangers of drug driving and that the police are given more support, both in training and resources, so that they can tackle this dangerous issue.

“The BMA also supports the removal of a drunk driver’s ability to request a second alcohol test by a doctor if they are just over the limit. Modern technology renders such a requirement completely redundant and some drivers may be exploiting this option in the hope that their alcohol levels will drop while they are waiting for a doctor to arrive.

“The BMA will continue to lobby the Government strongly to reduce the current drink drive limit. The science is clear: a 50mg limit would lower the number of road crashes, deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

"The introduction of the current limit, backed up by police enforcement and a hard-hitting media campaign, led to a dramatic fall in the number of deaths on the road, but the position has been stagnant since 1993. We need a new impetus, with a lower limit, to reduce the 2,946 deaths and around 30,000 injuries that occurred on Britain’s roads last year.”