New drink-drive limits are in the pipeline and designed to make more responsible drivers of us all, as well as making everyone around us, from passengers, pedestrians and even the neighbourhood cat, feel secure when someone is behind the wheel. The proposed new limits will see the level of alcohol allowed in the blood drop from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg per 100ml. All well and good but will it actually work?
The UK has the highest blood alcohol concentration (BAC) allowance in Europe, where as the rest of the continent is already requiring drivers to have no more than 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. This clearly shows Europe mean business on drink-driving and of course, if the new regulations become law it will show the UK is taking an ever increasing tougher view on those getting behind the wheel after one to many.
Understandably, the media have been having a field day with the news and have jumped on the numerous stories emerging of drink driving offences committed. This Independent article features quotes from Conservative MP Tracey Crouch stating,
“We have seen drink-driving accidents increase over the past two years and we want to start by targeting younger drivers who are more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than older drivers.”
Fortunately, while drink drive deaths have seen year on year increases in the last decade, deaths have actually fallen by three quarters overall in the UK during the last thirty years. Despite this, drink driving is still the cause of 250 deaths a year and a factor in about 10,000 road traffic accidents every year.*
Further evidence is found in a BBC report where it records 380 drink-driving related deaths in 2009, 240 in 2010, 230 in 2011 and 290 in 2012, which signalled the first increase in the number of drink-driver related deaths since 2006.
The question here is, do new regulations go far enough? Does simply enforcing a change in the quantity a driver is able to consume before being over the limit further reduce alcohol related accidents?
The numbers of deaths are significantly below what they were in 1979 when it was recorded there were 1,640 drink related deaths on UK roads, one of the highest numbers ever seen. The reduction over three decades shows government campaigns twinned with the current drink drive limit have worked well. But in order to achieve further reductions, Insurance Revolution have identified from working with convicted drivers coming to us for insurance, that education is the key to sustainable, further reductions.
Insurance Revolution customers requiring convicted driver insurance have often been charged, having innocently got behind the wheel, without recognising the “couple of pints after work” could risk the loss of their driving license.
Leading change is at the core of the mission Insurance Revolution set out to achieve for it’s customers and we urge the government to twin a proposed reduction in the drink drive limit with easier to digest guidelines.
Some of the many grey areas surrounding what effects BAC are listed below and highlight the difficulty many drivers have in appreciating whether they are over the limit:
- Whether you’re male or female
- If you are drinking on an empty stomach
- If you are drinking quickly
- Your proportion of body fat (body fat does not absorb alcohol)
- Your metabolic rate (affected by diet, digestion, fitness, emotional state, hormonal cycle, time of day, year etc).
- If you are tired – this will affect your concentration and absorption
- The percentage of alcohol in the drink
- The type of alcohol you are drinking (fizzy drinks are absorbed more quickly)*
If you’re convicted for having got behind the wheel after having consumed more than the legal limit, the team are on hand to support you. As well as providing you with insurance that caters to your specific needs, we are equipped with the advice you need following a motoring conviction.