England and Wales are once again under more pressure to re-evaluate drink driving limits as the French government move their limits even lower. In England and Wales there is huge pressure to match the limits in Scotland whilst in France they’ve set the limit even lower.
In Scotland they successfully moved from a drink drive limit of .8g/l general blood alcohol limit for drivers to 0.5 in December and the success of the change has made more people believe the limit should be lowered across the UK. The French government have gone one step further and as of 1st July their limit has moved down from 0.5 to 0.2 specifically for novice drivers.
The new limit in France has been put in place specifically for young and new drivers and will apply for all drivers who have held their license for three years or less and it was announced in France in January after the first rise in road deaths in the country for over a decade. There has also been a rise in road deaths in the UK according to latest statistics so action surely needs to be taken to bring the numbers down and looking at the drink driving limit could make a real difference.
In Northern Ireland, they are in the process of passing a Road Traffic Amendment Bill which is hoping to lower the general blood alcohol limit to 0.5 and like France, to 0.2 for new drivers and also some commercial drivers. In England and Wales there have been repeated calls to follow suit with the rest of the United Kingdom but the government have made no commitments or given any guarantees.
The fight against drink driving has been ongoing for 50 years and the number of road casualties caused by drink driving has fallen dramatically in this time. Despite this, the statistics still aren’t good enough and in 2012, for example, there were will 230 people killed because of drink driving, which accounted for 13% of all the road fatalities for that. Whilst figures are falling it makes sense to take all measures possible to bring the numbers down further and this involves legislator measures as well as awareness campaigns. Reducing the drink drive blood alcohol limit in England and Wales seems a natural step in keeping with the rest of the United Kingdom and Europe as a whole so it will be interesting to see when the government finally take this crucial step in protecting our road safety.
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