Morning-after drink driving is on the rise, with more than a third of motorists admitting to driving first thing after excessive drinking the night before. So should we be opting for a zero tolerance approach?
A survey by road safety charity Brake and insurer Direct Line has found 38% (304 out of 800 people surveyed) of road users admit to driving first thing after drinking excessively the night before.
That’s a fairly large proportion of motorists. So with Christmas parties looming and drink driving being a focal point of road safety this month, would reverting to a zero-tolerance attitude be the answer?
Drink-driving in numbers
Which? has a strong focus on road and car safety – this is why we use the strictest crash tests as part of our car reviews and child car seat tests to determine which are best for the wellbeing of you and your family. But drink driving isn’t so clear-cut.
And sadly, it is still one of the biggest killers on our roads today. A total of 380 people were killed on our roads last year in accidents involving drivers over the drink-drive limit. That’s seven deaths per week, as well as 28 serious injuries.
And the Institute of Alcohol Studies estimates an additional 80 road deaths per year are caused by drivers who are under the limit, but have alcohol in their blood.
So why are so many of us still drink-driving? Road safety groups blame a lack of education, not enough enforcement and an out-of-date drink-drive limit.
Will zero tolerance work?
Earlier this month, the all-party Transport Select Committee called for a reduction of the drink-drive limit to 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, down from the current law of 80mg per 100ml. This would effectively mean one alcoholic drink would put you over the limit. And the committee also recommended a year-long ban for anyone caught over the new limit.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the suggestion has been faced with strong opposition. Many believe the current law is effective enough to reduce drink-driving deaths. Others argue it will destroy rural pubs and businesses. Some even say it will strip them of their social life.
For me, something does need to change. Current measures clearly aren’t having a big enough impact on the number of drink driving causalities on our roads. But zero tolerance won’t be the answer.
If zero tolerance was enforced, the same question would remain: how long after having alcohol does it take to get to ‘zero’? And unless prohibition was enforced in the UK, drinking and driving is going to continue to be down to personal responsibility.
So, if you are going to the office Christmas party in the next fortnight and planning to drive the next day, drink a responsible amount and stop drinking early to give your body enough time to rid itself of the alcohol.
Is zero tolerance the answer to our drink driving problem?
Yes (54%, 253 Votes)
No (44%, 205 Votes)
I don't know (2%, 11 Votes)
Total Voters: 469