Stricter Drink Drive Laws Have Not Worked Says Report

Thu 13th Dec 2018

A respected medical journal has published a report which suggests that Scotland’s stricter drink-drive limits have not had an affect on the rate of road traffic accidents.

Worryingly, the report in The Lancet suggests that the Scottish Government’s policy of lowering the legal drink-drive limit from 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath to 22 may have seen RTAs increase compared to England and Wales since 2014.

The study, which was led by Professor Jim Lewsey from Glasgow University’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing said:  “This reduction in the BAC limit for drivers decreased alcohol consumption from on-trade alcohol sales (e.g. in bars and restaurants) by less than one per cent but did not affect alcohol consumption from off-trade sales (e.g. from supermarkets and convenience stores), which account for approximately three-quarters of total sales.

“Our negative findings for total, serious or fatal, and single-vehicle night-time RTAs were unexpected given previous evidence that generally supports a reduction of RTAs after reducing the BAC limit for drivers.”

Prof Lewsey said: “In our view, the most plausible explanation for our findings is that the change in legislation was not backed up with additional police enforcement, nor sustained media campaigning.

“It is also perhaps an indication of the safety of Scotland’s roads more generally, following continual improvements in recent years, and the fact that drink-driving is increasingly socially unacceptable.”

He stressed: “Drink-driving remains highly dangerous and against the law. It is important to stress that these findings should not be interpreted to imply that any level of drink-driving is safe.”