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Lower drink drive limit would save lives this Christmas
The drink drive limit in the UK should be immediately lowered in an effort to save lives, according to an expert in road safety.
Joanna Bailey, a specialist in road traffic injuries with Fentons Solicitors LLP and a spokesperson for road safety charity Brake, was speaking after the publication of government recommendations to increase enforcement and education to tackle drink and drug driving this festive season.
"As Christmas approaches, the government's advertising campaign to remind people not to drink and drive is getting into full swing," said Joanna, a partner with the firm. "But the message we should be sending out is that it is simply unacceptable to drink and drive - a 'zero tolerance' approach that would make it clear that it's 'none for the road'."
The latest report from the House of Commons transport committee recommended that 'in the long-term' the legal limit should be reduced from its current 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 20mg - what it describes as 'virtually nothing.' But the committee believed this would be 'too great a step at this stage' and states that an education campaign is needed before this change can be implemented.
"For many years, millions of pounds have been spent on campaigns warning motorists of the dangers of drinking and driving," said Joanna. "How much more education is conceivably needed? Nobody is telling people not to drink and have fun over Christmas, but we should all be responsible if we intend to travel afterwards."
Joanna, who for many years has helped victims and their families deal with the effects of drink driving, said some of the most serious incidents she had ever dealt with involved drivers who had been drinking.
"You don't need to drink massive quantities to be 'over the limit' but some people's reflexes can be affected by only one drink," she said. "The drink drive limit should be cut without delay, making it clear that it if you have had anything to drink you should not be climbing behind the wheel."
An earlier report suggested an interim reduction in the limit - to 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - but MPs decided this would only confuse the public.
"If we are to put a stop to the thousands of accidents on our roads every year caused by drivers who have been drinking, we must see a reduction in the amount of alcohol that people believe they can consume and still be considered 'legal'," said Joanna. "The answer is plain for all to see - reduce the limit to a level that means any right-minded person who plans on drinking at any point over the Christmas period does not even consider driving afterwards."
How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to road traffic accidents. If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.
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