Should the UK government introduce a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit?
According to figures from the Department for Transport, an estimated 9,040 people were killed or injured in drink-drive accidents in 2016. It’s clear that, despite UK drink-drive limits being in place, significant numbers of motorists continue to rebel against them. These figures left me wondering if enough is being done to combat this issue. We decided to conduct an independent study with 200 UK motorists to find out their opinions on a range of drink-driving related questions.
Drink-drive Limit Awareness
First, we wanted to establish whether UK motorists are aware of the UK drink-drive limit. Our study revealed that only 56% of motorists have a clear understanding of the UK drink-drive limits. This meant 44% of motorists either didn’t know or were unsure about what the limits are.
These statistics suggest generally there is a lack of knowledge and awareness amongst motorists about drink-driving laws. One of our survey respondents said; "The legal limit isn’t known to many people who drink and drive, awareness of the matter should be increased." Therefore, we feel greater awareness of the limits could potentially help to reduce the number of drink-driving offences. One suggestion would be to include a mandatory question about drink-driving as part of the theory driving test. This would encourage more people to learn and understand the drink-drive limits in order to pass their test. What do you think of this idea?
Should the government do more to prevent drink-driving?
According to figures from the Department for Transport, drink-drive accidents are estimated to have significantly decreased by 69% from 1979 to 2016. However, drink-drive casualties of all severities was an estimated 7% higher in 2016 than 2015. This raised some concern that drink-driving is still a major issue in the UK.
Our study found a significant proportion of motorists feel that the government should do more to prevent drink-driving. Over recent years, there have been discussions about potential methods to prevent drink-driving including breathalysers to start cars and more DUI checkpoints. It seems clear that many people would welcome the introduction of these prevention methods.
Zero Tolerance Drink-drive Limit?
In some countries including Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, they have implemented a zero-tolerance drive-drive limit. This means in these countries it is against the law to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of any amount of alcohol. Whereas in the UK, we have drink-drive limits in place (see below).
From our independent study, we found that 68% of people think the UK government should introduce a zero-tolerance limit. One respondent commented; "I strongly agree that there should be a zero tolerance level for drink driving. After say one pint you feel 'Nice' I would never risk it neither should others". Many other motorists expressed similar opinions towards drink-driving. Introducing a zero tolerance, could be an effective way to help reduce the number of drink-drive offences and accidents. However, implementing a zero-tolerance limit would require careful consideration as some common household items such as mouthwash can contain alcohol. But will this ever be a law introduced in the UK?
It's clear that since reporting on drink-driving started, there has been a large reduction in the number of drink-drive accidents. However, drink-drive figures still remain too high and this is ultimately putting lives at risk. We feel introducing stricter penalties for drink-driving would help to further reduce the number of offences and accidents on our roads. Also, it seems clear that greater awareness of the UK laws and drink-drive limits is required amongst motorists.