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Drink Drive Limit Must Be Cut After Another Bad Xmas
 
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Drink Drive Limit Must Be Cut After Another Bad Xmas - January 15th 2007


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    After around 310 people were caught drink driving every day during December, RoSPA said it was high time the Government agreed to cut the drink-drive limit to protect innocent road users from the menace of alcohol.

    The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said the figures for the festive campaign carried out in England and Wales showed far too many people were ignoring the safety messages and putting themselves and others at risk.

    Duncan Vernon, Road Safety Officer for RoSPA, said: "Reducing the drink-drive limit from 80mg to 50mg would save around 65 lives and 230 serious injuries on Britain's roads each year. Between 50mg and 80mg you are two to two-and-a-half times more likely to be involved in an accident and six times more likely to be in a fatal crash than with no alcohol in your system.

    "This reduction would give the opportunity for a new education campaign to point out the seriousness of drinking and driving, particularly addressing the worrying problem of the young drivers who apparently have not been getting the message.

    "As a result of police action at Christmas and New Year more than 9,600 drivers will probably lose their licence and many of them may lose their job as well - even if they were lucky enough not to kill someone else as a result of their recklessness.

    "We welcome the fact that more breath tests were carried out during December but the figures are still shocking. RoSPA would like to see the police given powers to breath test people anywhere and at any time. Drivers who flout the law have to be made to realise that they are likely to be caught and punished.

    "Although there was a slight fall in the percentage of people who tested positive, the reduction is still not good enough when 560 people were killed in drink-drive-related accidents in 2005."

    The campaign, which ran throughout England and Wales for the whole of December, saw 145,867 drivers breath tested - the greatest number to date - of whom 9,658 tested positive (6.6 per cent, down from 6.9 per cent last year).

    The total number of breath tests carried out on drivers involved in collisions that resulted in injury for the 2006 period was 12,494 of whom 915 tested positive (7.3 per cent, down from 8.6 per cent). Fit to drive tests were carried out again this year as part of the national campaign. Fit tests were conducted on 666 drivers who were suspected of being impaired while driving under the influence of drugs. 251 drivers were arrested for drink or drug impairment offences (37.68 per cent) not necessarily as a direct result of a fit to drive test.