Breathalyser law could help save lives

Sunderland driver is one of eight motorists arrested in police drink and drug drive crackdown
Sunderland driver is one of eight motorists arrested in police drink and drug drive crackdown
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alcohol safety experts believe dozens more lives could be saved by the introduction of a law to keep a breathalyser in your car.

The claim followed the debate of a Private Members’ Bill in the House of Lords last month which sought to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to the same as Scotland.

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

France witnessed an eight percent decrease in road deaths in 2013 – the lowest level of fatalities on French roads since 1948. By contrast, road fatalities in the UK have remained static since 2010.

Alcohol safety expert Suzannah Robin, of AlcoDigital, said: “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.

“We wholeheartedly support a reduction in the drink-drive limit in England and Wales, however more needs to be done to address issues such as drivers who are unaware that they may still not be safe to drive the morning after drinking. “We would actively encourage a debate on introducing a breathalyser law to the UK so that even more lives can be saved.”

Sales of breathalysers in the UK to individuals have quadrupled since the introduction of the French breathalyser law in 2012 and the reduction in the drink-drive limit in Scotland in December 2014. Tesco has also introduced single-use, morning after breathalysers into their UK fuel stations. Sales increased five-fold in the first six weeks of trading. A new Alcohol Health Alliance poll shows 77 per cent would support a reduction in the drink-drive limit.

Road deaths statistics unchanged

The number of people killed and seriously injured on British roads as a result of drink-driving has remained largely static for the last five years.

New government figures show that between 210 and 270 people were killed in accidents in Britain where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, with a central estimate of 240 deaths; unchanged since 2010.

The number of seriously injured casualties in drink-drive accidents fell by 2 per cent from 1,100 in 2013 to 1,080. The government says if this figure is confirmed in the final estimates it will be the lowest number of seriously injured casualties on record.