Don’t drink-drive this Christmas

Gareth Herincx

1 week ago
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Don't drink and drive - GEM Motoring Assist

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers to make safety their priority this Christmas and not to take any risks by drinking alcohol.

The advice comes as figures show the number of breath tests conducted by police officers continues to decline. In 2021, the total number of tests was 224,162, seven per cent lower than in 2020, and just 31.5 per cent of the tests conducted in 2009.

However, 40,861 tests were positive or refused – the highest proportion since 2003.

An average of 220 people are killed in the UK through drink-driving each year, a figure that has remained largely unchanged since 2010.

“We urge everyone to respect the law and to understand the significant risk of choosing to flout it,” said GEM chief executive Neil Worth.

“Drink-drive deaths have not reduced for a decade now, and we believe there is a need for lower limits and a stronger safety message.

“Anyone who believes it’s acceptable to drive after drinking alcohol is creating an unnecessary risk – for themselves, their families and for anyone who happens to be sharing the road with them.”

The legal limit in England and Wales is 35 micrograms (µg) of alcohol per 100ml of breath. In Scotland, the limit changed in December 2014 and is now 22µg. This is equivalent to a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.8 in England and Wales and 0.5 in Scotland.

The penalty for a first drink-driving offence is a minimum 12-month ban, a fine of up to £2,500, and even a prison sentence of up to six months. Refusal to provide a specimen carries the same penalty.

Neil Worth added: “If you’re going out for a few drinks, then make arrangements to get home. A £20 taxi fare is definitely worth every penny for your peace of mind. And if you prefer to drive, then stay on soft drinks. Don’t ever take a risk with drink-driving.”

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