Swanswell calls for a ‘zero’ drink-drive limit

23 March 2011

Swanswell’s calling for the drink-drive limit to be lowered to zero to help reduce alcohol-related deaths on the roads.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, believes a zero limit is the only way to avoid confusion among motorists about exactly how much they can drink before getting behind the wheel.

It comes as ministers reject plans to lower the legal limit from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg (almost half); instead opting for improved enforcement to bring down the number of drink-drive related deaths.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While we welcome the fact that tackling drink-driving is in the spotlight again, we are encouraging the government to reconsider its decision to leave the limit as it is.

A report that the government commissioned even suggests the limit should be reduced by 30mg, which is a start. However, they have chosen to ignore that advice.

Swanswell believes that reducing the drink-drive limit to zero would send a clear message to everyone that drink-driving should not be tolerated.

‘It’s impossible to set an acceptable drinking level for driving as alcohol affects people in different ways – and what is fine for one person, won’t be for another. The strength and type of drink also have to be considered.

‘Therefore the only way to be sure that someone isn’t a risk to themselves or others, is to not drink at all if getting behind the wheel.

Feedback from those who attend our drink impaired drivers programme shows that people need to be clearly informed of the impact alcohol has on their ability to drive safely.

Swanswell would be happy to share our learning and our expertise to help reduce drink driving.’

Swanswell also believes that many motorists face confusion about what is a safe amount to drink because there is no clear advertised link between units and the drink-drive measurement.

Debbie added: ‘Most people will have an understanding of the recommended drinking limits set by the government of 2-3 units per day for women, and 3-4 units per day for men. However, when it comes to drink driving, this is measured differently.

It’s another example of muddled up thinking and there should be clearer guidance about what is acceptable, and what isn’t.

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