The RAC has conducted a poll in which more than half the drivers in England and Wales have said they believe the drink-drive threshold should be lowered.
They asked motorists if they were in favour of a reduction in the amount people can drink, legally, before driving, in a survey to mark the 50th anniversary of the breathalyser test. Of the 1,727 people surveyed, 59 percent said they supported a lower limit.
In December 2014 the Scottish Government reduced the drink-drive limit from 80mg per 100ml blood to 50mg per 100ml blood, bringing it in line with most of the rest of Europe. In England and Wales, however, the figure remains at 80mg, meaning drivers are allowed to drink half as much again before being deemed over the limit.
Campaigners have complained that there has been relatively little progress in tackling drink-driving in recent years. Statistics from the Department for Transport reveal that the same number of people were killed in 2016 in accidents related to excess alcohol behind the wheel as back in 2012.
Road safety spokesman for the RAC Pete Williams said: “Motorists are overwhelmingly in favour of reducing the current drink-drive limit in England and Wales to no more than 50mg as Scotland has already done and Northern Ireland is doing.
“Fifty years after the drink-drive limit became law, it is time for the Government to move with the times and fall in line with the large swathe of other countries which enforce a 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood limit.”
In 1967 publicans protested too Transport Minister at the time Barbara Castle that the drink drive limit and breathalysation could put them out of business, despite the fact that in that year alone there were 1,640 deaths attributed to drink-driving.
AA president Edmund King said: “The breathalyser sits alongside compulsory seat belts and the introduction of EuroNCAP crash testing as the three biggest road safety life-saving measures introduced in the last half-century.”
“The breathalyser and subsequent campaigns saved thousands of lives and helped make drink driving socially unacceptable.”
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