Two in three drivers 'want drink drive limit cut'AA poll findings will be given to MPs

22 April 2008

A car on a road

Two in three motorists support a lowering of the legal drink-drive limit, according to a poll of more than 17,000 drivers.

Women in the survey of members of the AA were even keen than men in backing a reduction in the current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

While 62% of men favoured a lower limit, as many as 75% of women supported a reduction.

Only 42% of younger drivers (those aged 18-24) were keen on a lower limit, compared with 50% of those aged 35-54.

Zero limit

Regionally, the greatest support for a reduction was in Wales and Scotland , where 72% of AA members were in favour. The least support was in London (61%).

As many as 30% opted for a zero limit, while 28% were happy with the current limit.

There has been some support for a move to lower the UK limit from 80mg to 50mg which would bring the country into line with most European nations and which, it is argued, could save as many as 65 lives a year. However, no decision on any lowering has yet been reached by the UK government.

Penalty

In some European countries, the penalty of an automatic 12-month driving ban is not imposed if offenders are just over the 50mg limit.

The AA said that if the government brings in the 50mg limit, the police should issue advisory letters to those found between 50mg and 80mg in the six to 12 months before the lower limit is introduced.

The findings are the result of the setting up of a panel of AA members by the AA and research company Populus.

Widespread support

AA president Edmund King said: 'We have set up the biggest motoring panel in the UK to get clearer guidance on policy issues from our members.

'The first results of the panel clearly show that there is now widespread support for a reduction in the drink-drive limit.'

He went on: 'Although many of those killed in drink drive crashes are way above the current limit, a move to a lower limit would send out a clear message about the dangers of drink driving and put us in line with most European countries.

'Whatever the legal limit, the best safety advice is, if you are going to drive don't drink, and if you are going to drink, don't drive.'

Deaths reduction

The survey results will be presented to the House of Commons Transport Committee by Andrew Howard, the AA's head of road safety, later this week in an investigation into road safety.

He will also stress that the reduction of 65 deaths will still leave approximately 500 deaths a year involving drinking drivers, and that although a reduction will send out a strong signal it is not a panacea for the drink-drive problem.

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