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Brake is asking all motorists to commit to staying sober this Christmas behind the wheel with its new – not a drop, not a drag appeal. It is asking drivers to avoid drinking before driving home from Christmas festivities or plan to take a taxi or public transport.
The call comes as the Association of Chief Police Officers’ annual drink and drug driving enforcement campaign begins. The month long campaign will see forces across England and Wales stepping up checks to catch drivers who are risking people’s lives on the road.
In 2012, 280 people were killed (one in six road deaths) and 1,210 were seriously injured in crashes involving a driver being over the limit. It’s estimated a further 65 deaths are caused annually by drivers who have been drinking yet are under the limit. Drug driving is estimated to cause 200 deaths each year.
Brake is calling for a drink drive limit of 20mg of alcohol per 100ml as opposed to the current limit which is 80mg. It is sending a clear message that drink should be avoided at all costs if you are planning to get behind the wheel this Christmas. It has been proven that a blood alcohol level of 20-50mg increases the likelihood of crashing by three times.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake said: “As a charity that supports bereaved and injured road crash victims, we witness the suffering that drink and drug driving inflict, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it. Drink and drug driving deaths and injuries are cruel and needless, ending and ruining lives and leaving behind traumatised families to pick up the pieces. If you’re driving home from celebrations this festive season, especially if you’re a designated driver, it’s vital you take your responsibility for people’s safety seriously. It’s a proven fact that even small amounts of alcohol or drugs inflate your risk of crashing. So even if you feel okay after a drink, the reality is that if you get behind the wheel you’re putting yourself and others in needless danger.”
“We are also appealing to the government to take action on drink driving. We have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, sending out the dreadful message that a drink or two before driving is acceptable. The evidence shows that tougher laws and enforcement would help prevent casualties.”
Whilst governments in Northern Ireland and Scotland are making moves to reduce their drink drive limits to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml, decision-makers in Westminster have rejected calls for a lower limit which currently means the UK has the highest drink drive limit in Europe, alongside Malta.
Brake is calling on members of the public to play their part in making roads safer by signing Brake’s Pledge at www.brake.org.uk/pledge.