London, 3 Nov 1999.
For immediate release.

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Canadian Government Rejects Cut In Drink Drive Limit
The ABD Urges the British Government to Follow Suit
The Government of Canada has decisively rejected calls to lower the permitted blood alcohol level for driving from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml - the so called "one pint limit".

This followed publication of an influential report by a key Canadian road safety advisory group which highlighted the "lack of convincing scientific evidence" that lowering the limit would cut casualties and warned of the risk of losing public support in the war against drunken driving.

The British Government have been considering a similar reduction in the blood alcohol limit for two years. The ABD submitted a detailed response to a 1998 consultation exercise, making exactly the same points as the later Canadian report .

"The ABD is the only road safety group which has publicly and consistently opposed a cut in the permitted blood alcohol limit," says ABD Chairman Brian Gregory. "The arguments are straightforward and make sense, but other safety organisations have failed to put them forward, allowing emotive outbursts based on ignorance to set the agenda. Only the ABD has the courage and independence to tell the truth about this and many other road safety issues."

We would urge the Government to listen to these arguments and announce that the UK blood alcohol limit will remain at 80mg.

Instead of cutting the limit and criminalising the innocent, efforts should be concentrated on apprehending those driving well above the current 80mg limit and on imposing an escalating scale of penalties as blood alcohol levels (and consequent danger) increase, rather than the current minimum twelve month ban.

 

"Recommendations for Improving the Impact of Federal Impaired Driving Laws"
- a submission to the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada (TIRF)

The ABD's response to the UK government's blood alcohol limit consultation.

 

Quotations concerning reducing permitted blood alcohol (BAC) - TIRF report

To this powerful litany of arguments, the ABD would add one more - the issue of the "morning after", where thousands of drivers who never drink and drive would be caught out with residual alcohol in their blood of which they were completely unaware. Not only is this a fundamental injustice, but it is certain to act as a significant disincentive to a hard core drink driver moderating his behaviour. Why bother if he will be caught the next day, anyway?
 

Notes for Editors