councils and fire authorities have urged that the legal drink-drive limit should be lowered in England and Wales in order to cut alcohol-related accidents. A lower limit would also save £300 million a year by reducing the number of 999 responses and hospital admissions
The request is for the current
limit of 80mg to be lowered to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
The Scottish Government reduced its legal limit for drivers
to 50mg in December 2014 and Northern Ireland will also soon drop its
limit to the same level, and even lower for professional and learner
The LGA said it was estimated that lowering the limit in
England and Wales could save up to 170 lives in the first year, rising
to more than 300 lives in the sixth year.
New provisional government figures show that
reported "serious" drink-drive accidents between 2014 and 2015 in Great
Britain had risen from 880 to 980, an increase of 11 per cent, while
total reported drink-drive accidents had increased by 2 per cent from
5,620 to 5,740.
The same figures showed the number of people seriously
injured in reported drink-drive accidents between 2014 and 2015 had
risen from 1,070 to 1,170, an increase of 9 per cent, while the total
number of drink-drive casualties had increased by 3 per cent from 8,210
The organisations said England and Wales had one of the
highest drink-drive limits in the world and the highest in Europe, with
the exception of Malta, which has also announced plans to lower its
limit to 50mg.
Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA's Safer and Stronger
Communities Board, said: "England and Wales will soon have the highest
drink-drive limit in Europe, which is not sending the right message to
motorists and safety campaigners.
"Latest figures show that alcohol has contributed to a rise in both the number of road accidents and those injured in the UK.
"The Government should be leading by example by toughening
up drink-drive laws in line with other European countries which will
make roads safer and save lives. In Scotland alone, adopting a lower
alcohol limit has led to a significant fall in fatal road accidents.
"A lower alcohol limit would help to deter motorists from
drinking at all before getting behind the wheel and encourage them to
have 'none for the road'."