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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Lowering drink-drive limit could save lives

17th June 2010

A proposal to reduce the blood alcohol limit for drivers in the UK could prevent around 16,000 road-traffic injuries and 170 deaths in the first year.

A study has been carried out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on behalf of the Department for Transport.

The current legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers in the UK is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. However, several countries around the world have cut this threshold to 50mg/100ml with clear improvements to road safety.

Director of Public Health Excellence at NICE, Professor Mike Kelly, said: ÔÇťOverall, the international evidence indicates that lowering the BAC limit from 80mg to 50mg could reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths and injuries in the UK.

"Not only could it have a positive impact on those who regularly drink well above the current limit before driving, but it also has the potential to make everyone think twice about having a drink before they decide to drive somewhere."

Figures from 15 countries in Europe show dramatic results from the introduction of a 50mg/100ml limit.

It led to 11.5% fewer alcohol-related driving deaths among the most at risk group of 18 to 25 year olds while in Queensland in Australia the move saw 18% fewer deaths on the roads.

However, Professor Kelly stressed for such a measure to effectively change people's attitudes to drink-driving and improve road safety in the long term in the UK, it had to be supported by ongoing publicity, as well as visible and rapid enforcement.


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