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Why The Drink Drive Limit Should be Lowered

By Practice Group Leader, Road Traffic Defence

Despite efforts and annual campaigns to tackle drink and drug driving, many people continue to break the law when getting behind the wheel.

As road traffic defence lawyers we see lives ruined all too often, especially around the festive period when people are tempted to drive during or after a night out.

We have commissioned research asking over 2,000 motorists their thoughts and experiences on driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.

To support the research we will be releasing a series of blogs which highlight the dangers of both drug driving and drink driving.

The drink-drive limit should be lowered in order to reduce the number of accidents on our roads and to remove any confusion amongst drivers as to whether or not they are legally allowed to drive.

In the UK the drink-drive limit is 80 mgs of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body or 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath or 107 mgs per 100 millilitres of urine.

For many drivers on the UK roads, this is confusing as it is not explained in terms of the number of units of alcohol you can consume and still be alright to drive. However, there is a reason for this – the extremely unpredictable rate at which alcohol is absorbed by the body.

Guidelines for how much you can drink and still drive are no guarantee of keeping below the legal limit as alcohol affects everyone differently. Not only this, the affect alcohol has on your body can change according to your stress levels at the time and what you have had to eat beforehand. The only way to ensure you are legal and avoid all possibility of committing a drink driving offence is to drink nothing.

If the driving limit were to be reduced to a zero-tolerance then there would be no confusion amongst drivers.

If the drink-driving limit in England were to be reduced to 50 mgs of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood and to 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath then it would be in line with not only Scotland but most of Europe.

A move to reduce the drink-drive limit should help to reduce the number of accidents we see on our roads because alcohol makes the brain take longer to receive messages from the eyes and send instructions to the muscles of the body, slowing our reaction times needed to help avoid accidents.

If the UK Government were to lower the drink-driving limit the move would probably be popular amongst the general public. A British Social Attitudes Survey of over 2,000 adults found that three-quarters of people wanted the drink-drive limit lowered and a poll from the Northwest Evening Mail found two-thirds of people in favour of lowering the limit.

Paul Reddy is an expert in road traffic offences.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers is one of the largest and well known law firms in the UK. We can provide legal representation for drunk-driving offences anywhere in England and Wales. Call us on freephone 0808 175 7998 or contact us online.

Drink Driving, Driving Offences

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