A sobering plea to cut needless road deaths

None for the road! Even one drink dramatically increases the risk of a driver crashing.

None for the road! Even one drink dramatically increases the risk of a driver crashing. - Credit: PA

Drivers are being urged to commit to staying stone-cold sober if driving home from Christmas festivities – not a drop, not a drag – or plan to get home by taxi or public transport to prevent devastating casualties.

Road safety charity Brake's call comes as the annual drink and drug driving enforcement campaign kicks off. The month-long campaign sees police forces stepping up checks to catch drivers risking lives.

Last year 280 people were killed (one in six road deaths) and 1,210 were seriously injured in crashes involving someone over the limit. It's estimated a further 65 deaths are caused annually by drivers who have been drinking but are under the limit. Drug-driving is estimated to cause 200 deaths each year.

Brake is renewing calls for a zero tolerance drink-drive limit, of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood, because even one drink increases crash risk so the clear message is 'none for the road'. A blood alcohol level of 20 to 50mg increases your likelihood of crashing three-fold. The current limit is 80mg, but Scotland and Northern Ireland plan to lower their limits to 50mg, which Brake welcomes as a positive step.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: 'As a charity that supports bereaved and injured road crash victims, we witness the suffering that drink and drug-driving inflict, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it.


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'Drink and drug-driving deaths and injuries are cruel and needless, ending and ruining lives and leaving behind traumatised families to pick up the pieces. If you're driving home from celebrations this festive season, especially if you're a designated driver, it's vital you take your responsibility for people's safety seriously.

'It's a proven fact that even small amounts of alcohol or drugs inflate your risk of crashing. So even if you feel okay after a drink, the reality is that if you get behind the wheel you're putting yourself and others in needless danger.

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'We are also appealing to the government to take action on drink-driving. We have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, sending out the dreadful message that a drink or two before driving is acceptable. The evidence shows that tougher laws and enforcement would help prevent casualties.'

Brake is calling on people to make roads safer by signing its pledge at www.brake.org.uk/pledge, to make a personal commitment to use roads safely and sustainably, and help reduce the lives lost needlessly.

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