A coalition of road safety charities, emergency services and health experts have today made fresh calls for MPs to reduce the drink-driving limit in England and Wales.

The call comes after statistics show progress on drink-driving stalling since 2010, with 240 deaths and more than 8,000 casualties reported each year.

A short animation by The Institute of Alcohol Studies (see below) shows how:

  • Drink-driving deaths have not fallen since 2010, with 240 deaths and more than 8,000 casualties each year
  • At 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, England and Wales have one of the highest legal limits in the world; higher than Scotland, the rest of Europe,* Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
  • Reducing the legal limit to 50mg alcohol per 100ml blood would save at least 25 lives per year
  • The British Social Attitudes Survey shows 77% of the public support a lower legal limit.

In England and Wales, the drink drive limit is set at 80mg alcohol/100ml blood and has been since 1965. Drivers who drink up to this limit are six times more likely to be killed in an accident as drivers who have not consumed alcohol.

When Scotland lowered its limit to 50mg in December 2014, police figures showed a 12.5% decrease in drink drive offences in the first nine months. Northern Ireland is set to follow suit by lowering its drink-driving limit before the end of 2016.

Drink-driving costs Great Britain £800million each year and the majority (60%) of those killed or injured are people other than the driver, according the the Department for Transport. In addition to popular support among the public for a lower limit, a host of organisations are also in favour, including the RAC Foundation, BRAKE, the Police Federation, Fire Brigade Union, Royal College of Emergency Medicine and the AA.

Katherine Brown, Director at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said

“Recent decades have seen great improvements in road safety, but progress on drink-driving has ground to a halt. With hundreds of lives lost each year, we can’t afford to let England and Wales fall behind our neighbours in road safety standards.

“It’s time the Government looked at the evidence and what other countries are doing to save lives and make roads safer. We need to make drink-driving a thing of the past, and to do this we need a lower drink drive limit.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Policy in this area hasn’t moved for half a century, but in the face of mounting evidence it increasingly falls on opponents of a limit reduction to defend the status quo, rather than asking those who support a cut to keep making their case.”

Please watch the animation ‘Save lives, safer roads, lower the drink-drive limit‘, produced by The Institute of Alcohol Studies to find out more. For more information on the campaign please visit the webpage www.ias.org.uk/lowerlimit



IAS – Lowering the drink-drive limit from The Institute of Alcohol Studies on Vimeo.

* Malta, the only other European country with a 0.8mg/ml limit, has recently announced proposals to lower its legal limit to 0.5mg/ml