Government urged to cut drink-drive limit after rise in the number of road accidents

Published 12 February 2020 The number of road accidents in the UK where at least one driver was over the legal alcohol limit has increased by four per cent.  Provisional figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show 5900 road accidents in 2018 where at least one driver was over the alcohol limit.

In 2017, the official figure was 5700. This means drink-drivers killed or injured 8700 people in 2018 - an increase of one per cent on the 8600 recorded in 2017. The figures were sourced from accident report forms from local police forces and toxicology data for road fatalities.  The DfT will release its definitive 2018 drink-drive figures in August, but the data is expected to show that the number of people being killed by drink-drivers is similar to levels last seen in 2010.

The drink-drive limit in the UK was introduced in 1967 as part of the Road Safety Act, which set a maximum alcohol concentration of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.  Government urged to cut drink-drive limit after rise in the number of road accidents In 2014, Scotland revised the drink-drive limit to 50mg of alcohol.

Road safety campaigners now want a similar reduction for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.   "The scourge of drink-drivers remains a serious problem in Great Britain. For nearly a decade there has been virtually no progress in reducing the number of fatalities involving a driver over the limit," said RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis.

"A reduction in the drink-drive limit in England and Wales could be a better deterrent for some of these drivers, but there is also a clear need for more roads policing officers and stronger measures to tackle reoffending."

In 1979, almost 10 per cent of all road casualties occurred in accidents where least one driver was over the drink-drive limit.

This fell to six per cent by 1990 and has mainly varied around five per cent since then.

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