Brake has joined a wide range other groups, including the RAC Foundation, the AA and IAM RoadSmart, calling for MPs to reduce the UK’s drink-driving limit.
There is also strong public support for lowering the limit, claims the road safety charity, with the British Social Attitude Survey recently suggesting that three quarters of the public (77%) support lowering the drink-driving limit.
The Government says that drink driving ‘remains a priority’, but there has been no reduction in the number of drink-driving deaths since 2010, says Brake.
This is despite every year drink-driving causes 240 deaths and more than 8,000 casualties in the UK at a cost of £800 million a year.
Gary Rae, Brake’s director of communications and campaigns, said: “Drink-driving remains one of the biggest causes of devastating road crashes; often young and inexperienced drivers and passengers are involved and frequently they are the tragic victims.
“We must continue to send a clear message to all drivers that drinking and driving is a lethal cocktail.
“It's shocking to see how many crashes, many involving deaths and serious injuries, have involved men in their 20s. This call to action today is a useful stepping stone to a time when there is a zero alcohol limit.”
England and Wales have one of the highest drink-drive limits in the world. Set 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, it is greater than the rest of Europe (with the exception only of Malta), as well as Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Lowering the drink-drive limit to 50mg alcohol/100ml blood would reduce drink-driving deaths by at least 10%.
The Government of Malta recently announced plans to lower the drink drive limit to 50mg this month in a new National Alcohol Policy to reduce harm.
Scotland lowered its limit to 50mg in December 2014, and police figures showed a 12.5% decrease in drink-drive offences in the first nine months. Northern Ireland is set to lower its drink-driving limit before the end of 2016.
Katherine Brown, director at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: “Recent decades have seen great improvements in road safety, but progress on drink-driving has ground to a halt. With hundreds of lives lost each year, we can’t afford to let England and Wales fall behind our neighbours in road safety standards.
“It’s time the Government looked at the evidence and what other countries are doing to save lives and make roads safer. We need to make drink-driving a thing of the past, and to do this we need a lower drink-drive limit.”
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