Balance North East wants alcohol limit reduced after drink-drive deaths reach 12-year high

A North East alcohol programme is calling for action after new figures show deaths from drink-drive crashes are at a 12-year high.
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Balance North East wants to see a reduction in the drink driving limit in an effort to save lives and protect road users.

The call comes as Department for Transport (DfT) figures show that fatalities from drink-drive crashes on Britain’s roads have reached a 12-year high.

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According to the figures, 260 people were killed in collisions that involved a driver who was over the alcohol limit in 2021.

This is up from 220 during the previous 12 months and is the highest annual total since 2009, when there were 380 fatalities.

The DfT figures also show that a further 1,610 people were seriously injured in drink-drive crashes in 2021.

Balance North East is calling for a reduction in the drink drive limit. Photo: Getty Images.Balance North East is calling for a reduction in the drink drive limit. Photo: Getty Images.
Balance North East is calling for a reduction in the drink drive limit. Photo: Getty Images.

In a Balance North East survery, 74% of 907 adults said that alcohol is a big problem in the region, while 65% of those who took part associate alcohol with road traffic accidents.

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Now Balance North East is calling on MPs to reduce England’s high drink driving limit to bring into line with Scotland where the limit is 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

England and Wales currently have the highest legal limit in Europe at 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh and Balance, said: “Too many people are dying and being injured on our roads because of alcohol.

“Lowering the limit won’t prevent every accident but it will leave less room for people to wrongly believe they can have a couple of drinks and still be OK.

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“England’s approach to alcohol and our roads is now looking outdated and irresponsible compared to the rest of Europe.

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“Cutting the limit would send a clear message, deter more drivers from getting behind the wheel after a few drinks or the morning after, and support our emergency services who have to deal with serious crashes on a daily basis.

“Alcohol is too cheap, too widely promoted and too available.

“We need a new national strategy to tackle all aspects of alcohol harm and look at solutions for its impact on lives, health, public safety and our economy.”