Further calls to reduce the drink driving limit in England and Wales have been made by councils and fire authorities.
The Local Government Association (LGA) and all fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales are urging the government to reduce the drink driving limit from 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood to 50mg, thereby being in line with Scotland.
In support of its argument, the LGA has estimated that such a reduction in the drink driving living limit would save 170 lives in its first year, then rise to 300 by the sixth year.
It further suggested that a lower drink driving limit would save £300 million annually by reducing emergency calls and hospital admissions.
The LGA referred to recent government figures which showed “serious” drink driving accidents had risen in Britain from 880 to 980, between 2014 and 2015. This can be compared with the total drink driving reported accidents have raised from 5,620 to 5,740.
The same figures also showed a rise in reported serious injuries from drink driving related accidents from 1,070 to 1,170.
It was further argued that England and Wales had the highest drink driving limit in the whole Europe, subject to Malta, who have recently announced their intention to lower the limit to 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.
Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “England and Wales will soon have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, which is not sending the right message to motorists and safety campaigners.
“Latest figures show that alcohol has contributed to a rise in both the number of road accidents and those injured in the UK.
“The Government should be leading by example by toughening up drink-drive laws in line with other European countries which will make roads safer and save lives. In Scotland alone, adopting a lower alcohol limit has led to a significant fall in fatal road accidents.
“A lower alcohol limit would help to deter motorists from drinking at all before getting behind the wheel and encourage them to have ‘none for the road’.”
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, said: “IAM RoadSmart and its members are very supportive of a lower limit.
“The early experience in Scotland is that a lower limit encourages a ‘none for the road’ approach, which is good for road safety as you are up to six times more likely to crash even below the English limit.
“The Government are, however, correct that lower limits are often ignored by the selfish minority who have an alcohol problem.
“Consistent enforcement through high-profile policing and better use of intelligence must continue to address the hard core drinker problem.”
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