Campaigners call for new breathalyser law to be introduced

Campaigners calling for new breathalyser laws say it is time to follow the French example and keep a breathalyser in every car.

Monday, 15th February 2016, 7:47 am
Updated Monday, 15th February 2016, 7:55 am
BREATHALYSER: There have been calls to lower Englands drink drive limit

The call follows the recent debate on a Private Members’ Bill in the Lords which sought to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to bring it in line with Scotland.

Alcohol safety experts believe many more lives would be saved if a new breathalyser law was introduced.

In France, where the drink-drive limit has been the same as Scotland’s for many years, it is a legal requirement for all motorists to keep a breathalyser in their vehicle.

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This has made a significant contribution to road safety in France, with the French road safety board the Comité Interministériel de Sécurité Routière reporting an 8 per cent decrease in road deaths in 2013.

In comparison, in 2014 alone alcohol accounted for 5,650 accidents and 8,320 casualties on UK roads and thre was an increase in deaths between 2012 and 2013.

Recently supermarket chain Tesco introduced single use morning-after breathalysers into their UK fuel stations and sales increased five-fold in the first six weeks of trading.

Suzannah Robin, alcohol safety expert at AlcoDigital. She said: “The introduction of a lower drink-drive limit in England and Wales to fall in line with Scotland will save hundreds of lives.

“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.”

She works with corporate and governmental organisations and has helped dozens of local authorities and councils implement alcohol testing policies for staff.

Meanwhile the latest Alcohol Health Alliance poll reveals that 77 per cent 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 in the past four years.

The French breathalyser law was introduced in 2012 and the reduction in the drink-drive limit in Scotland in December 2014.

Suzannah added:“We wholeheartedly support a reduction in the drink-drive limit in England and Wales, however more needs to be done to address issues such as drivers who are unaware that they may still not be safe to drive the morning after drinking.

“We would actively encourage a debate on introducing a breathalyser law to the UK so that even more lives can be saved.”

In December 2014 the Scottish Government lowered the alcohol limit for drivers from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams. The breath alcohol limits reduced from 35 m of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath to 22 micrograms.

The intention was to bring Scotland into line with other European countries.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is: 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body. 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath and 107 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of urine.