Doctors call for drink-drive limit to be cut to one beer or single glass of wine as BMA launches campaign

18 June 2024, 06:01

Drink-driving limits in England are set at 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
Drink-driving limits in England are set at 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Doctors are calling for the drink-drive limit in England to be cut to the equivalent one beer or a single glass of small wine.

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The British Medical Association (BMA) wants the legal limit to be decreased to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood and just 20mg for the newest drivers.

Limits currently sit at 80mg of alcohol, the highest in Europe, where a number of countries have imposed a hard ban on drink-driving.

Under the new proposals, which are supported by the Alcohol Health Alliance and numerous charities, motorists would be able to drink, on average, one glass of beer or small wine.

Doctors wants the legal driving limit to be reduced
Doctors wants the legal driving limit to be reduced. Picture: Getty

According to the BMA, drivers who drink as much as the current limit allows are six times more likely to be killing in a crash than if they were completely sober

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Carrie Reidinger, who works on population health policy advice and research at the BMA, told The Times: "We think it's really important to call on the Government to lower the legal limit. 

"This is in line with the approach taken by many European countries such as Ireland and Greece."

Drivers who are currently caught driving under the influence face six months in prison, an unlimited fine and potentially a driving ban.

Scotland took a similar measure in 2014, reducing the legal limit to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Drivers currently face six months in prison and an unlimited fine for drink driving
Drivers currently face six months in prison and an unlimited fine for drink driving. Picture: Getty

Research shows the change had little impact on the number of road-traffic incidents on the road, with some arguing such a move would make little difference.

Christopher Snowdon, who is head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, added: "Drink-driving accidents typically involve people who are well over the limit, and they will only be deterred by proper enforcement of the law, not by tinkering with the existing limit."

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