Fleet News

Brake backs Police Federation plea for lower drink drive limit

Brake has given its backing to calls made today (May 19) by the Police Federation for a lower drink drive limit.

The move follows evidence from Scotland that the lower limit introduced there last year has led to a marked reduction in drink driving rates.

The call is being made at the Police Federation’s annual conference, being held in Bournemouth this week.

The Police Federation is also highlighting what it calls the “unprecedented cuts” suffered by roads policing units in the last five years.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Brake agrees with the Police Federation that the UK drink drive limit – one of the highest in Europe – needs to be lowered.

“We would like to see an effective zero-tolerance limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood. This would make it clear that even small amounts of alcohol affect your ability to drive safely, and end the widespread confusion over whether it’s safe and acceptable to have one or two drinks and drive.”

The road safety charity also echoed the Police Federation’s concern over the cuts that have been made to roads policing in recent years, which it says have been disproportionally heavier than cuts to other areas of policing.

Townsend said: “Given that enhanced traffic policing offers a huge return on investment and a way to avert needless casualties and suffering, this makes no rational, moral or economic sense.

“Brake urges the government to make traffic policing a national priority and give officers the backing and resources they need to do their job.”

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  • Maria Cole - 19/05/2015 13:12

    You should have 2 choices! You either DRINK or your DRIVE! You can't do both! I never have and I never will. No Alcohol is an acceptable amount when you are in charge of a vehicle. This should apply to ALL drivers. Zero tolerance of anyone who drinks and drives. Maria

  • L Garrick - 19/05/2015 13:17

    Alcohol affects individuals in different ways: take into consideration body mass, metabolism, whether food has been consumed, time elapsed since consumption etc. There should either be an outright ban on alcohol consumption for drivers or leave the current legal limits as they are and prosecute when drivers exceed these. Messing about with the limits is only going to cause more confusion. The problems come down to lack of policing of current driving laws rather than the laws themselves.

  • Edward Handley - 19/05/2015 14:12

    If reducing the drink drive limit from 80 to 50mg, in line with Scotland and most of Europe is going to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads, then I am all for it. The recent Scottish experience suggests that a reduction may be beneficial, but please don't let's have one of those crazy reverse Dutch auctions with a succession of demands for even lower limits unless there is clear scientific research based evidence to show it will be worthwhile. Never forget the "Law of Unintended Consequences": A zero limit is actually impossible because alcohol is a substance that occurs naturally in the body and in food - especially ripe fruit and vegetables. Alcohol is also present in some medicines and in cleaning fluids - including some windscreen washer additives, and yes, some can be absorbed by breathing it in. Quite a high proportion of drink drive convictions are the result of drivers being over the limit the following morning. A lower limit will result in a significant increase in these, and a very low limit could well mean that driver would not be able to drink for 24 hours before driving - like pilots. Pilots mostly work to strict and planned schedules - but most drivers and the public do not, and the question is would the public actually accept a lower limit, particularly once below 50 mg? Pubs have been closing at the rate of one a day for quite a few years now which is causing considerable disruption and hardship, especially in rural areas. A much lower limit could actually solve this problem as most of the remaining pubs might well be closed within a matter of a few weeks. You may regard this as a good thing, but there are plenty of voters out there who would not!

  • M Williams - 19/05/2015 15:22

    There seems to be confusion from drivers I have spoken to about how many drinks will put a person over the drink drive limit - some say that two pints of regular strength beer will not put them over the limit but there are many factors which determine how an individual can be affected. Is this "confusion" genuine or just an excuse to have a drink or two then take a chance? Maybe zero tolerance is the answer rather than individuals self-policing their ability to drive following alcohol consumption.

  • wayne.walton05 - 19/05/2015 18:53

    Our limit is too high and needs to come in line with the rest of Europe no ifs not buts no maybes. Drug driving is beginning to be tackled too. The Government need to get on and get this through parliament right now. One more death due to a drink or drug driver is too many!

  • AJB - 20/05/2015 09:33

    Why should we come in line with the rest of Europe? I see no relevance. The current limit is generally perceived as a couple of pints which in reality does not really affect performance. Not going to bed for 24hours would affect performance but that's ok then ? Driving non stop for 10 hours is ok too? I do not think the DD limit is an issue.

    • Ste - 20/05/2015 13:43

      AJB it is s the "generally perceived" bit that is the problem. Any ambiguity makes death more likely. Lets admit it, we all feel slightly different after just one drink. The law should state 'No Drink if you Drive'. In the actual test it self the 'science' needs allow for any 'natural' low levels of alcohol that could be present e.g. 5 mg or whatever the science says.

    • Maria Cole - 20/05/2015 14:49

      A couple of Pints would be a problem for me and I'm sure for some other people too! Everyone absorbs alcohol at different rates. What is fine for one is not always right for the other. I still think you should either DRINK or DRIVE, not both. x

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