UK experts call for tougher drink-driving law enforcement

Drink Driving solicitors

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On Tuesday, the 4th of July, The British Medical Association (BMA) passed a motion advocating for lower drink-driving limits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, similar to the standards in Scotland and other countries. 

What are the current UK laws?

At present, the threshold for drink-driving across the majority of the UK is 80mg per 100 millilitres of blood – or 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.

Why are there calls for this to change?

The UK’s drink-driving limits are one of the highest rates in the world. In fact, they are significantly higher than the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) recommended levels of 50mg per 100 millilitres (or 20mg/100ml for new drivers).

Additionally – in December 2014, the Scottish government lowered drink-driving limits to the WHO’s recommended rates – following an independent review that showed that drivers with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg were six times more likely to die in a road traffic accident than those with zero blood alcohol. 

Will the rest of the UK follow in Scotland’s footsteps?

Experts warn that simply reducing the drink-driving limits is an oversimplified solution. 

This is supported by research that found there had been no significant drop in road traffic accidents following Scotland’s decision to adopt the lower limits. 

“We don’t find an impact on drink-driving, on accidents, fatal accidents, serious or slight accidents,” said Dr Jonathan James of the University of Bath, who co-authored the 2021 study.

Instead, the researchers suggest that to see tangible changes in the number of road traffic accidents due to drink-driving, lower alcohol limits need to be combined with an increase in alternative transport options, as well as an increase in law enforcement.

Currently, the UK police force doesn’t have the power to undertake random breath tests on members of the public. Instead, they need to have a suspicion that a driver is under the influence in order to test them, which again – goes against the guidelines of the WHO. 

What do you need to be cautious of going forward?

Here at DRN Solicitors, we want to remind members of the public that what ‘sticking to the limits’ looks like varies drastically from person to person. 

There is often a common misconception among much of the public that “you can have two drinks and drive”, but this is not the case – and it never has been. 

Instead, there are several different factors that go into influencing the alcohol levels in someone’s body, including:

  • How much sleep you have had
  • How much you have had to eat
  • How much exercise you have done
  • Body size and composition
  • What medication you have taken 

What should you do if you’ve been caught drink driving and need a solicitor?

If you do ever find yourself arrested for driving under the influence, it is crucial that you contact us here at DRN Solicitors immediately. While you may not be able to do so until you have been tested and charged, the sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we can ensure your rights are protected.

The severity of the penalty you receive is determined by the magistrates who hear your case – which is why it is imperative that you prepare your case accordingly to work in your favour. 

We can help you present your case so that the magistrates understand the impact that a driving ban, fine, or even imprisonment would have on you and your family. 

Please contact us on 01282 443 231 for more information.