60% of UK Motorists Question the Proposition of Stricter Drunk Driving Limits

UK Police 1 photo
Photo: West Midlands Police
A poll done just before the Christmas holidays uncovered disturbing facts about British drivers and their opinions on drunk driving.
According to SmartWitness, the maker of Britain’s most popular dash cams, over 60% of the questioned drivers oppose the idea of reducing the legal alcohol limit for drivers from 80 to 50 mg/100 ml of blood. Currently, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have the highest blood alcohol limit in the European Union.

Only 43% of the British drivers surveyed by SmartWitness agreed that reducing the drunk driving limit to the same level applied in Scotland in 2014 would make UK’s roads safer. The survey revealed that 84% of the respondents considered that this measure would further affect the pub trade and 68% of them believed that the quality of life in rural areas would be affected by this rule.

The proposition of changing BAC levels in the United Kingdom after the Scottish example came from the Police Federation. Experts in human physiology claim that the proposed Blood Alcohol Concentration levels of 50 mg of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood would limit the average male driver to a pint of beer and an average woman to half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine.

We find this particular situation questionable because the proposal isn’t a complete ban on driving while under the influence of alcohol, but a reduction of BAC limits from 80 mg/100 ml of blood to 50 mg/100 ml of blood. Some European countries enforce a strict “zero alcohol” policy for drivers, a solution which is safer in most situations. After all, it’s safer never to drink and drive than wonder what your Blood Alcohol Concentration is and how dangerous you are if you get behind the wheel after drinking alcoholic beverages.

The UK government claims it has no plans to adopt the Scottish measures because they wouldn’t have an impact on “high-risk offenders.”

The action taken last year in Scotland was promptly named “one-pint-and-you’re-out” for its effect. If an average driver consumed a pint of beer, they would not be able to legally drive a car in Scotland. Reducing the allowed BAC to 50 mg/100 ml of blood made 74% of the questioned drivers to claim that said measure would affect drivers travelling to work in the morning following a night of drinking. In case you’re wondering, this is called buzzed driving and the situation is considered as dangerous as drunk driving in other countries.

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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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