CHARITY CALLS FOR ACTION ON DRINK DRIVING AS RESULTS OF SUMMER CRACKDOWN RELEASED







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: July 31, 2012
Categories: General News

Road safety charity Brake today urged ministers and the public to take action on drink driving, as results from the Association of Chief Police Officers’ summer enforcement campaign were released. 5.8% of the 83,000 drivers breathalysed in June tested positive, refused or failed a breath test: only a marginal drop from last year.

Brake is renewing its appeal to government to lower the drink drive limit in England and Wales, adopting a clear, zero tolerance approach, and give greater priority to traffic policing to ensure more breath tests are carried out.

England and Wales have a drink drive limit of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, the highest in Europe, encouraging many to believe that one or two drinks before driving is okay. Research shows just 20-50mg alcohol increases crash risk by three times [1]. Recently Northern Ireland and Scotland have announced plans to reduce their limit to 50mg, while in Northern Ireland novice and at-work drivers will have a zero-tolerance limit of 20mg.

At the same time, Brake is calling on all members of the public to be vigilant about all forms of drink driving this summer and throughout the year. It is calling on drivers to pledge to never drive after drinking any amount of alcohol – not a drop – and appealing to everyone to look out for friends and loved ones and speak out against driving after drinking.
Read more about Brake’s Not a drop, not a drag campaign.

Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer at Brake, said: “Brake is appealing to Westminster to follow the lead of devolved governments and take bold action to tackle the devastating casualties that continue to result from drink driving. Brake backs a zero-tolerance limit of 20mg alcohol, which means you couldn’t have one drink and drive. Research is clear that even small amounts of alcohol significantly impair driving, so it just isn’t worth risking a drink.

“Lives are being torn apart daily because some drivers are continuing to take these unnecessary risks, often because of misunderstanding the dangers or believing they can get away with it. Responsible drivers should make a positive commitment to always drive stone cold sober – that means not a drop of alcohol – or not at all.”

Advice to drivers There are plenty of alternatives to driving if you want to have a drink. Plan ahead for how you will get home by walking (if there’s a safe route), taking public transport or booking a taxi. If you need to drive then decide on a designated driver who doesn’t drink any alcohol at all, and make sure they stick to this.

Driving after drinking alcohol significantly increases your risk of crashing, potentially killing yourself, you passengers or someone else. Even if you feel sober after one drink, your reaction times will have slowed and your crash risk increased [2].

Don't drink if you are driving early the next morning. There's no way of knowing exactly how long it takes to sober up completely after drinking, but it's longer than many people think. As a rough guide you should allow at least one hour to absorb alcohol, plus at least one hour for each unit consumed - but it could take longer, so you should always leave extra time to be safe. If you've had a lot to drink you may be impaired for all of the following day.

Facts One in seven deaths on UK roads are still caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit [3], but drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [4]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affects drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [5].

Brake

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 66 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (19-25 November 2012), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake’s support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

[1] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[2] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011
[3] Department for Transport, 2011. Reported road casualties Great Britain 2010 annual report, London: Department for Transport
[4] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[5] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011