Swanswell welcomes call for reduced drink-drive limit
20 May 2015
Swanswell has backed calls by the Police Federation for the legal drink-driving limit in England and Wales to be lowered in line with Scotland but questioned whether it goes far enough. Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem drug and alcohol use, believes the clearest guidance for motorists would be to abstain from consuming alcohol altogether.
Swanswell were responding to news that the Police Federation is calling for a legal limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (instead of 80mg per 100ml as it is currently).
The legal limit can be confusing for motorists when people don’t understand how many units of alcohol can take them over the legal limit and it creates the impression that it is safe to drink and drive at the legal level. The evidence shows that even by consuming low levels of alcohol, drivers are putting themselves and others at greater risk of accident and injury. Drivers with 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a car crash than those with no alcohol in their blood.
Key to reducing drink-driving is education, and Swanswell are calling for the introduction of a mandatory drink-drive awareness course as part of the driving test. Presently, only those caught drink-driving attend such a course, when the damage has already been done.
A lower drink-drive limit would bring England into line with other parts of the UK and many European countries.
Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Ultimately, although this proposal would be a step in the right direction, there is no safe limit for the amount of alcohol you can drink before driving – any amount can affect judgement and the ability to drive safely. So the only way you can be sure you’re not over the limit and posing a risk to yourself and others, is to not drive after drinking.’
She added; ‘Education about drink-driving is important and there should be a drink-driving awareness course as part of the driving test. At the moment only drink-drivers receive this help after they have been caught and when it’s too late. We all have a part to play by taking responsibility for our own alcohol use. And we need to give motorists the tools to make good decisions enabling them to act responsibly and be safe.’