PACTS supports calls to reduce drink drive limit

PACTS supports calls to reduce drink drive limit

A report to be launched today[1] (Tuesday 9th September) will highlight the growing proportion of all drink driving convictions received by women, up from nine per cent in 1998 to 17 per cent in 2012. It calls for the breathalyser limit to be reduced for all drivers and for road safety messages to make clear that drink driving is not a just a male problem.

Responding to the report, David Davies, Executive Director of PACTS, commented:

“Great progress has been made over many years in reducing drink drive casualties. However, 230 people died in traffic collisions involving a drunk driver in 2012 – 13 % of total road deaths in Great Britain. A further 1,200 people were seriously injured and 8,510 were slightly injured.[2] These deaths and injuries are preventable.

“The UK has the highest drink drive limit in Europe – a Blood Alcohol Concentration limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Northern Ireland and Scotland are proposing to reduce the limit to 50mg/ 100ml – the limit that applies in most other countries. PACTS wants England and Wales to follow suit.

“We accept this is unlikely to happen under the current Government which rejected the recommendations of the independent report by Sir Peter North to cut the drink drive limit. In the meantime we call on:

  • the Home Office to speed up the approval process (type approval) for evidential roadside breathtesting equipment. This will enable the police to administer breath tests much more efficiently;
  • the Police to put the equipment into service as quickly and widely as possible;
  • Police and Crime Commissioners to give a higher priority to roads policing. Very few PCCs do so currently and numbers of dedicated roads police officers have been cut substantially over some years.”

PACTS estimates that a reduction in the drink drive limit would prevent at least 40 deaths a year. Other estimates, including the North report, put the figure higher.

Background: UK road safety record

Great progress has been made in reducing casualties on the road in the UK over the past few decades. However, road traffic incidents remain the leading cause of death for young people aged 5-25 in the UK.”[3]

According to a report published by PACTS in March this year, one third of a million people are likely to be killed or seriously injured on GB’s roads between 2011 and 2030, even assuming past progress is maintained. The cost to society of these deaths and injuries is officially estimated at £110 billion.[4]

The UK no longer tops the European road safety league table. Sweden now heads the table with 27 deaths per million population compared with 28 deaths per million in the UK.[5]




Note to Editors: The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is a registered charity and associate all-party Parliamentary group. Its charitable objective is: To protect human life through the promotion of transport safety for the public benefit. It was established over 30 years ago by MPs to press for legislation on seat-belt wearing.

For further details, please contact David Davies, Executive Director, PACTS       Tel: 020 7222 7732

PACTS, Clutha House, 10 Storey’s Gate, Westminster, London SW1P 3AY

Twitter: @pacts




[3] IHME (2010 data) and ONS (Eng & Wales 2012):–deaths-registered-in-england-and-wales–series-dr-/2012/info-causes-of-death.html

[4] C. G. B. (Kit) Mitchell and R. E. Allsop, Projections of road casualties in Great Britain to 2030, March 2014, PACTS.

[5] ETSC 8th Annual Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) Report , June 2014 and DfT Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2012, September 2013, Table RAS52001, p224

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