According to statistics from the Association of Chief Police Officers, 5.8% of the 83,000 people asked to ‘blow into the bag’ in June failed a blood-alcohol breath test or refused to comply.
This was a marginal decrease over last year’s figures, possibly as a result of the abysmal weather the country has had over the summer months. But the figures still bear scrutiny: if drink drive convictions aren’t really falling, what’s keeping the number of intoxicated motorists on our roads afloat?
The UK’s drink drive limit is already the highest in Europe, at 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Some believe that this is encouraging drivers – especially newly qualified motorists with a dearth of experience behind the wheel – to think they can still drive even after a few drinks in their system.
Most countries on the continent have a lower limit of just 50mg per 100ml of blood. Research from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence shows that between just 20 and 50mg of the drug in your bloodstream can increase your crash risk three fold. Food (or should that be drink?) for thought.
So yes, it looks as if our drink drive limit is too high, with research proving that you can drive within the letter of the law, yet be three times more likely to crash than if you were teetotal.
There’s only one answer to combining inebriating substances – be it drink or drugs – and driving: don’t. The simple way to avoid any uncertainty is to steer clear of the bar at that barbeque (Avoid drink driving temptation this summer).
So, argue some experts, why don’t we reduce the legal alcohol to blood ratio to a zero tolerance level of 20mg per 100ml with a view to mitigating the one in seven road deaths caused in the UK every year by intoxicated drivers?
When you step behind the wheel after a drink, you’re not only risking your own life for a petty cause, but the lives of other road users around you. So, isn’t it about time the debate over the UK’s drink-drive limits was opened up?