Road Safety charity request ‘not a drop, not a drag’ this Christmas


The road safety charity Brake is asking drivers to remain sober this Christmas – or to use public transport instead, as part of their ‘not a drag – not a drop’ campaign.

Brake support the bereaved and injured victims of road crashes and witness first-hand the devastating effects of drinking and driving. The charity want a zero-tolerance approach to drink driving in the UK, and are campaigning for the current legal limit to be reduced to 20mg of alcohol for 100ml of blood.

The drink drive limit in Scotland was lowered earlier this month to 50mg, but it remains at 80mg in the rest of the UK. The UK (along with Malta) has the highest drink driving limit in Europe, despite evidence that lowering the limit will result in fewer road deaths.

Brake believe that the UK’s comparatively high limit sends out the wrong message to drivers, as it implies that having one or two drinks before driving is acceptable. Even having one drink has been proven to affect the ability to drive and to increase the risk of having a crash. They stress that alcohol makes it impossible for a driver to assess their own impairment because it gives them a false sense of confidence, and that it may make the driver more inclined to take dangerous risks.

One in eight road deaths are as a result of drink or drug driving. The most recent figures are from 2012, when 230 people were killed by a driver over the limit, and an estimated 65 deaths were caused by drivers who had been drinking but were under the current legal limit. 1,210 people were seriously injured in that time. Drug driving in comparison causes an estimated 200 deaths a year.

Brake are also campaigning for tougher laws relating to drink driving more generally; they want more investment in the enforcement of existing laws to catch drunk or drugged drivers, and for the police to use targeted testing as a deterrent.

They want the public to be aware of the dangers of drinking and driving during the Christmas period, and emphasise that the only way to stay safe this Christmas is by drinking nothing before driving. Even non-drivers can play a role by speaking out about drink driving and looking out for friends or family members who may choose to drink and drive. They recommend that you plan ahead to get home safely. If someone is giving you a lift after a party, make sure that they agree not to drink any alcohol or take drugs, and have an alternative plan in mind in case they do such as booking a taxi or using public transport.

Anthony McCarthy, Director Solicitor at Macks, says, “I unreservedly support Brake’s campaign and wish them well in their attempts to reduce the current legal limit for drink driving.”

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