English drink-drive limit could soon match Scotland's

Following the debate of a Private Members' Bill in the House of Lords on Friday January 29, which sought to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to the same as in Scotland, alcohol safety experts say more lives could be saved with the introduction of a breathalyser law.

Monday, 1st February 2016, 1:59 pm
Updated Monday, 1st February 2016, 2:02 pm
Lothian and Borders had the worst increase in drink drivers caught over the festive season in comparison with the rest of Scotland. Pictured is Superintendent Colin McNeil of the Traffic Police, outside Fettes Headquarters with a breathalyser.

In France, where the drink-drive limit has been the same as Scotland’s for many years, a legal requirement for all motorists to keep a breathalyser in their vehicle was introduced in 2012.

Following its implementation the breathalyser law has made a significant contribution to road safety in France. Figures released last year by France’s road safety board the CISR (Comité inTerministériel de Sécurité Routière) reported an 8% decrease in road deaths in 2013 – just one year after the breathalyser law came into force, and the lowest level of fatalities on French roads since 1948.

By comparison, in 2014 alone alcohol accounted for 5,650 accidents and 8,320 casualties on UK roads and figures for fatalities have remained static since 2010 with an increase in deaths even being recorded between 2012 and 2013.

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Suzannah Robin, an alcohol safety expert at AlcoDigital, works with corporate and governmental organisations and has helped dozens of local authorities and councils to implement their alcohol testing policies for staff. She said this week: “The introduction of a lower drink-drive limit in England and Wales to fall in line with Scotland will save hundreds of lives.

“However, as results in France have shown, there is the opportunity to save dozens of more lives through the introduction of a similar breathalyser law across the UK.”