New drink-drive limit and breathalyser law 'could save lives'

Alcohol safety experts believe more lives could be saved with the introduction of a '˜French-style' breathalyser law.

Monday, 1st February 2016, 8:44 pm
Updated Monday, 1st February 2016, 8:49 pm
Will motorists be forced to carry a breathalyser, as in France?

The debate of a Private Members’ Bill in the House of Lords on Friday (January 29) sought to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to the same level as Scotland.

However, Suzannah Robin of AlcoDigital believes that the introduction of a breathalyser law similar to that in place in France - where the drink-drive limit has been the same as Scotland’s for many years - could save many more lives.

In France, it is a legal requirement for all motorists to carry a breathalyser in their vehicle, since 2012. Figures released last year by France’s road safety board reported an 8% decrease in road deaths in 2013, to the lowest level on French roads since 1948.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“The introduction of a lower drink-drive limit in England and Wales to fall in line with Scotland will save hundreds of lives,” said Ms Robin. “However, as results in France have shown, there is the opportunity to save dozens of more lives through the introduction of a similar breathalyser law across the UK.”

In comparison to the French figures, in 2014 alone alcohol accounted for 5,650 accidents and 8,320 casualties on UK roads and figures for fatalities have remained static since 2010 with an increase in deaths even being recorded between 2012 and 2013.

There is increasing support for more to be done about drink-drive safety in the UK, with a AHA (Alcohol Health Alliance) poll showing that 77% of people would support a reduction in the drink-drive limit.

Sales of breathalysers in the UK to individuals wanting to ensure they are alcohol-free before they drive have also quadrupled since the introduction of the French breathalyser law in 2012 and the reduction in the drink-drive limit in Scotland in December 2014. Most recently, retail giant Tesco introduced single-use, morning-after breathalysers into their UK fuel stations with sales increasing five-fold within the first six weeks.