After the year that called for a lower alcohol limit, we are now heading into the party season and there has recently been a fresh call to reduce the drink driving limit as well as the new clamp down on using mobile devices whilst driving.
The move followed the release of new statistics that show that drink-driving figures have shown no improvement since 2010. A 2015 Government study has found that the number of drivers who failed a breath test following a collision has risen for the first time in 10 years. The figure of 240 people killed in collisions where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit has remained unchanged since 2013.
The new campaign for a lower limit is being led by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) and supported by a number of stakeholders in the industry. The current 80mg limit in England in Wales was set in 1965, but in 2014, Scotland lowered its drink-drive limit to 50mg/100ml – bringing it in line with the rest of Europe. Malta, the only remaining country with a drink-drive limit the same as England and Wales, is also set to lower its limit to 50mg/100ml, leaving us behind.
According to the IAS, reducing the limit to 50mg/100ml would save at least 25 lives per year.
The Department for Transport statistics also show that drink driving costs Great Britain £800m each year, and a British Social Attitudes Survey shows 77 per cent of the public support a lower legal limit.
Due to car and technological advances, we have seen a continual improvement in road safety in every other area except in regards to drink driving. Every year more than 3,000 people in the UK are killed or injured as a result of crashes on our roads relating to drink–driving and this number predictably spikes over the Christmas period.
Mobile devices also cause major road accidents, just glancing down for a second during your journey, means you are not looking at the road for 25 metres, and a lot can happen in that time. Being caught on your mobile can mean six points on the license and a fine of up to £1,000.
So whilst we pick out our outfits for the office party season, forces across the country are braced for their traditionally hectic festive and New Year period, trying hard to raise awareness of the dangers on our roads in order to keep people safe as they travel around.
Even a very small amount of alcohol can affect driving performance with two drinks almost doubling the risk of a fatal accident. In general, people are getting far better at staying away from the wheel after one too many during the night but too many are quick to jump back behind it after a sleep, unaware that they are still over the limit. And be sure to stay off those mobiles, nothing is worth the risk.
So don’t take chances. Drive safe and stay safe this winter.