UK Presidency of the Council of Ministers gives Britain the opportunity to introduce a 50mg limit.

A reduction in the Drink Drive limit to 50 mgs could save between 100 and 300 lives a year.

Lowering the limit affects drivers at all blood alcohol levels
and therefore is one of the most effective measures for tackling the
`hard core’ of drink drivers.

Reducing the limit to no more than 20 mgs for drivers under 21
is desirable, since a raised blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while
driving is one of the major causes of death for this age group.

These claims are made in a review of “30 years of the Breath Test” published by the Institute of Alcohol Studies today.

“Having assumed the Presidency of the EU Council, the British
Government should enact Commissioner Kinnock’s call for a maximum limit
of 50 mgs blood alcohol concentration in the UK and throughout the EU”,
says Derek Rutherford, Director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies.

“Not to do so would show the Government to be trailing behind
the rest of Europe and being a stumbling block to preventing unnecessary
injury and death on our roads.”

Evidence of the beneficial effects of a cut in the drink drive limit can be seen from the following countries:

Australia – reduced by 90% the number of drivers between 50 mgs and 80 mgs and 41% in those over 150mgs.

USA – States which reduced the limit saw a 16% reduction in
alcohol related fatalities among drivers above 80 mgs and an even
greater reduction of 18% among those who were over 150mgs compared with
those states which refused to reduce the limit.

Reducing the limit to zero or 20 mgs for drivers under 21 saw a
drop in alcohol related fatalities between 17-22% in those states which
introduced such a level compared with 2% drop in those states which did
not.

Netherlands – A country which has had a 50 mgs limit for 20
years has a lower rate of alcohol related fatalities of 1 in 15 compared
with 1 in 7 in the UK.

The review goes on to show that while the number of people
killed in drink related crashes had fallen substantially since 1983 from
a peak of 35%, it has never dropped to the level of 15% of total road
deaths which was achieved during the first year of the operation of the
1967 Act.

“Since the improvement over recent years has been stopped, a
fresh impetus is required which could be achieved by lowering the legal
limit and giving the police greater powers”, Derek Rutherford said.

Contacts:

Derek Rutherford, Director,
Institute of Alcohol Studies,
12 Caxton Street,
London
SW1H 0QS

Graham Buxton (co-founder of the Campaign Against Drink Driving): 01386 710426