Road Safety News

Drink drive limit should be zero: ACPO roads policing lead

Thursday 1st December 2011

DCC Suzette Davenport, ACPO lead for roads policing, believes that drivers should be banned from drinking any alcohol before driving, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Speaking as ACPO launched its Christmas drink and drug drive campaign, DCC Davenport said the change would drastically reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads and pledged to call on Government ministers to consider the change.

DCC Davenport said: “I am certainly going to take my view to the Government and the Department for Transport. It may make me unpopular.

“Why is it we allow people to have a drink and drive? This change would take us into line with many other European countries.”

Last year the Government rejected a recommendation in the North Report to lower the legal limit from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “Lowering the limit would back up road safety messages about how and why driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous and would help to encourage people not to drink any alcohol before driving.”

Robert Gifford, of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), said: “It’s a very laudable long-term aim but could not be achieved in one go. What we need is a staged approach, moving to 50mg, ensuring that works and then moving to 20mg.”

Click here to read the full Daily Mail report.


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When the government of the day looked at the drink driving issue not so long ago, they decided not to change the drink drive limit. Concentrating on making the current law more effective by increased deterrent aligned to more effective enforcement should precede any further reduction of the threshold. It is fine for the Road Safety fraternity to promote a “Don’t drink and drive” message and I strongly support this. I do not, however, consider it appropriate to criminalise those who choose to disagree with that message but are NOT breaking the law of the land. On a slightly different note, I would be interested to see side-by-side comparisons on driver impairment between someone who has had one pint of beer and someone suffering from fatigue or tiredness.
Pat Wales

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Good morning Dave. I would agree with you that there is a hard core of people out there who would drive after drinking regardless of the drink drive limit. The Zero tolerance limit will not protect the innocent against this type of person, but what it will do is clear up any confusion as to how much a person can safely drink and drive. The vast majority of collisions, deaths and injuries are caused by so called responsible people in our society and not the hardened drink drive individuals you refer to.

However, I do support your point that we need more police officers to police our roads effectively and further more, I in common with many other law abiding citizens believe the sooner we stop using our police officers as social workers and nannies the better. Let the few police officers that patrol our streets and roads do their job.

Zero tolerance is about putting the responsibility back on the shoulders of the individual to apply self control and act in a manner that contributes to our society. We should all support DCC Suzette Davenport's call for a zero limit.
Charles Dunn

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I would make the point that those who still choose to drink and drive now would continue to do so regardless of the limit, be it zero or half what it is now. Their attitude and behaviour is unlikely to change - we've had decades of work getting the message out there that drinking and driving is unacceptable and yet there is still a small % of drivers who do it. This time of year we get a surge of officers assigned to stopping and testing motorists, where are they the rest of the year? Some drivers will only respond to enforcement and for that to be effective we need more roads policing.
Dave, Leeds

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RoadDriver applauds DCC Suzette Davenport's call for a complete ban on drink driving. Zero drink and drugs when driving should be mandatory NOW; the sooner we adopt this policy the better.

Apart from the carnage on our roads due to alcohol and drugs, we need only look around our city centres at night-time, to see what alcohol has done to the social fabric of our country. Successive governments should be ashamed of themselves for relaxing the restriction both on the purchasing and consumption of alcohol, all in their quest to raise tax revenue.

This ill-conceived policy has created, in a relatively short period of time, a society where excessive consumption of alcohol has become the norm across all social and economic classes, the cost of which is only becoming clear in the physical and mental health of our nation.

We should all support this call regardless of the lack of police to enforce this policy. How many more innocent children, mums and dads need to die before we as a society grow up and accept that the loss of some drinking privileges, is a price worth paying to protect our loved ones?

May I suggest that when you kiss your wife or child good night tonight, give a thought to the many thousands of parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters who will not be able to kiss their loved one because some selfish idiot, who had no self-control, decided to drink or drug drive a ton of metal at velocity into a human being.

I like many thousands of parents have seen what a ton of metal at speed can do to a human being, let alone someone I loved and nurtured for seventeen years. I make no apology for this emotional plea, I urge you all to support DCC Suzette Davenport's call for a complete ban on drink and drug driving.
Charles Dunn

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What's the point of bringing it down and down, when they are reluctant to start its reduction? What's it going to take 4 or 5 yrs and many deaths and others disabled by drunk drivers. Common sense should prevail. I am sure the 85 percentile would agree with a total ban on any consumption of alcohol.

We do not need heavy handed policing of this rule of law as in previous years enough officers have been found who can stop and check.

Alcohol consumption is on the increase and many more drivers are intoxicated or have a reduced ability. The powers that be are maybe scared of the impact on earnings and the other social consequences of more banned drivers.
bob craven Lancs

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Dave - totally agree, no good having any rules for the road if they are not enforced....but think of the powerful message 'zero tolerance' for DD would send to ALL drivers - attitudes as well as behaviour need to change when it comes to bad driving and sadly police can only really tackle the 'behaviour' bit.....see a cop slow down etc....what we need is more education, national advertising, documentaries and better targeted information campaigns to really change 'attitudes' about we bring back PSA's....public service announcements! the old "Charlie says" and "they're waving at us Petunia"...(showing my age now!)...modern day obviously but really focused on topics that effect us all...the BBC have a mandate to publish a certain % of PSA's "FOC"...but how many do we get??....mmmm....I would like my licence fee used for more PSA's to do with road safety and other life saving topics and less back slapping circle of luvie self promoting adverts, which probably cost a fortune to put together - er hum!
Susan, Northamptonshire

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Perhaps Miss Davenport would be better off going to the Home Office and asking for more officers to actually police our roads effectively. Whether it's drink drivers, bad drivers or illegal drivers it's having enough officers on the roads to detect and deter them that's the real issue.
Dave, Leeds

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