Time to Call Last Orders on Drink Driving

I was very disappointed when the new statistics from the Department of Transport were released last week. With an increase in deaths and accidents involving drivers over the limit, we are losing the war on drink driving.

The number of fatalities involving alcohol rose 12% to 280 last year, after a 30 year low.

Some key statistics from the Department of Transport’s report:

  • Fatalities resulting from drink and drive accidents increased by 12 per cent from 250 in 2010 to 280 in 2011, and seriously injured casualties rose by 3 per cent from 1,250 to 1,290.

  • 15% of all road accident fatalities involved drink driving

  • The total number of drink drive accidents increased by 1.5 per cent, from 6,630 to 6,730.

  • The total number of casualties involving drink driving rose by 3 per cent, from 9,700 in 2010 to 9,990 in 2011.

Sir Peter North compiled a report, urging that we follow the example of our European neighbours and lower the blood-alcohol limit from 80mg per 100ml to 50mg. This small action alone could save 168 lives within a year, effectively preventing 7% of all road deaths.

As it stands, says Sir Peter, "With a blood alcohol level between my proposed new limit of 50mg per 100ml and the current 80mg per 100ml limit, a driver has a six times greater risk of road death than a non-drinking driver.”

The Government rejected the recommendation to lower the limit, arguing that we needed to focus our attention on enforcing the current limit. Disappointingly the Transport Select Committee has also rejected lowering the limit, with a coalition of Tory and Labour MPs voting to support retaining the existing limit. But these recent figures prove that the Government’s strategy isn’t working. We need to revisit the North Review recommendations and make it crystal clear to motorists that drink driving will not be tolerated. I’ve written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, urging her to reconsider the Department’s strategy, arguing the case for reducing the legal limit to 50mg per 100ml.

You can read more about this issue here:

DfT Report on road casualties in Great Britain: 2011

BBC News Article on DfT Report

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