A new government-funded report has recommended that the drink-drive limit in England and Wales is lowered. Increased alcohol consumption coupled with reduced traffic-police numbers during the pandemic mean tougher rules surrounding drink-driving are required, reports Auto Express.
Looking at road accident statistics since 2010, around 240 people have been killed in collisions involving at least one drink-driver each year. The problem is that these figures are not dropping. Public attitudes towards drink-driving have improved greatly since the 1960s, yet this shift has not been seen in road accident data over the last decade.
It is this stagnation of figures that has prompted the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) to urge the Department for Transport to lower the UK’s drink-drive limits.
According to PACTS, lowering the drink-driving limit would be “the single most important measure” ministers could take to reduce deaths on the roads.
Other recommendations being made include greater powers for police officers to conduct random breath tests. Currently, police can only carry out a roadside breath test in the event of an accident, a traffic violation or if there are grounds to believe a driver is over the limit.
To say the pandemic has been tough is an understatement; alcohol has offered a form of escapism. Because of this increase in alcohol consumption, the number of people suffering from mental health problems has also risen (the two tend to go hand in hand). The report recommends specialist rehabilitation courses for people with alcohol and mental health issues, offering support to those who need it.
According to the report, there has been a 63% drop in police enforcement since 2009 with officers lacking the resources they need to enforce drink driving legislation. This, it believes, has led some drivers to think they are less likely to get caught if they drink and drive. More than 32,000 of those convicted for drunk-driving over the last ten years are repeat offenders.
Speaking about the report, David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said: “Drink driving is often cited as a road safety success story, yet it remains a major killer and progress has ground to a halt since 2010.”
He continued: “A lower limit is not a magic bullet but government policies to reduce drink driving will lack credibility as long as they avoid this change.”