Brake have joined the British Medical Association (BMA) and other organisations to call for a reduction in the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers. Together, they have developed a consensus statement setting out the key steps needed to tackle drink- and drug-driving across the UK.

England and Wales have the highest drink-drive limits in Europe, with drivers allowed a blood-alcohol concentration of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (80mg/100m). The BMA is calling for this limit to be reduced to 50mg/100ml, and 20mg/100ml for new and commercial drivers, across the UK.

Every year, more than 200 people die in drink-driving related crashes, and many more are seriously injured [1].

Michelle Martell, regional case manager for Brake’s National Road Victim Service, was invited to speak at the campaign launch at the BMA in London. She shared the story of Stephen, whose brother Tony was killed by a drink driver travelling at 65mph in a 30mph zone.

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Attendees at the BMA also heard from doctors and police, highlighting the wider impact that drink driving has on resources and communities.

Road death is sudden and traumatic. It sends shock waves across families, communities and workplaces, and changes lives for ever 

Lucy Straker, campaigns manager, Brake

There is no failsafe way for a person to know their blood-alcohol concentration. Factors including age, weight, gender, or how much you’ve eaten before drinking can affect it, so Brake recommends not having any alcohol to drink before driving.

Recommendations from the BMA consensus statement include mandatory labelling of all alcohol products, sufficient and targeted funding for police to enforce drink-driving laws, and enhanced alcohol and drug testing at the roadside.

Lucy Straker, campaigns manager at Brake, said: “We are proud to be a part of this consensus calling for a reduction in the legal limit for alcohol when driving. Road death is sudden, and traumatic. It sends shock waves across families, communities and workplaces, and changes lives for ever.

“Every year, more than 200 people die in drink-driving-related crashes, and a further 1,600 are seriously injured. Many of these are other road users who haven’t had anything to drink. All of this puts a tremendous strain on our emergency services which can be reduced by lowering the limit.”

The following organisations have endorsed the BMA’s consensus statement:

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Aftermath Support, Alcohol Change UK, Alcohol Health Alliance, Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, Brake, The Road Safety Charity, British Medical Association, CADD (Campaign Against Drink Driving), College of Paramedics, Faculty of Public Health, IAM Roadsmart, IAS (Institute of Alcohol Studies), MCA (Medical Council on Alcohol), PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety), RCEM (Royal College of Emergency Medicine), RoadPeace, RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), SCARD (Support and Care After Road Death and Injury)