These figures offer a limited insight into the extent of ‘drinking and driving’ below the current legal limit of 80 mg/100ml.
Of the tens of thousands of people who do have a trace of alcohol in their blood (though bear in mind that this is anything above zero) and are involved in an accident, just over 1% are above the 50 mg/100ml limit seen across much of continental Europe.
What this data doesn’t tell us is the severity of the accidents they are involved in.
Parliamentary Q & A from Friday 9th November 2012.
Nic Dakin:To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers involved in accidents in the UK were found to have a blood alcohol content of between 0 mg/100 ml and 80 mg/100 ml in each of the last 10 years. 
Stephen Hammond: The estimated number and proportion of drivers and riders under the legal alcohol limit (0 to 80 mg/100 ml of blood) involved in a road traffic accident in Great Britain 2001-10 was:
||Proportion of drivers/riders below the alcohol limit (0-80 mg/100 ml of blood) ( % )
||Number of drivers/riders below the alcohol limit (0-80 mg/100 ml of blood) (1)
|(1) Figures rounded to nearest 100, since these are estimates Note: We do not hold figures for Northern Ireland.
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds on how many drivers involved in accidents registered a blood alcohol content of between 50 and 80 mg in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Stephen Hammond: The number of drivers and riders involved in an accident in Great Britain for 2010 that were between 50-80 mg/100 ml of blood-alcohol level was approximately 1,100 (rounded to the nearest 100).
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Drink Drive on 30 September, 10 |
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In Finland, a country of nearly five and a half million people, alcohol is involved in a quarter of all traffic accidents which result in one or more fatalities. The blood alcohol limit for drivers there is the European standard maximum of 50mg per 100ml. In the UK, the limit is 80mg per 100ml. Finnish police strictly enforce all traffic laws and carry out random roadside breathalyser tests. Those drivers whose roadside readings exceed the legal limit must complete further tests. A conviction for drunk driving is accompanied by a driving disqualification and either a fine or a maximum of six months in prison. Aggravated drunk driving (having in excess of 120mg alcohol per 100ml of blood) leads to a driving disqualification, an income-based fine and a maximum of two years in prison.
But despite these measures to reduce the number of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) related accidents, around 26,000 Finnish drivers are caught over the limit each year. However, the Finnish Government, supported by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (http://www.trafi.fi/en/
), have now increased their armoury to include alcohol interlocks (alcolocks). A successful large scale trial of the devices was carried out between 2005 and 2008. This has resulted in a permanent programme of their installation – at the drivers’ expense – in the cars of those convicted of DUI. The Finnish Transport Safety Agency believes that alcolocks should now be installed in all school transportation, and eventually in all professional and commercial vehicles.
An interesting statistic gathered from the alcolock data collected by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency is that drivers using the device ‘fail’ to start their vehicles most often between 4am and midday on every day of the week, except Sunday.
The RAC Foundation believes targeted check point testing for drink drivers is important in acting as a strong deterrent to those drink drivers who do not currently believe they will be caught. Without this type of approach persistent drink drivers are not reminded of the risk of being stopped. Visible enforcement represents a real threat of being caught by the Police and is thought to be influential on many drivers’ behaviour: whether they use their cars or organise some other means of transport for a particular occasion, for example.
According to latest government statistics: (http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/casualtiesgbar/rrcgb2009)
Of all casualties recorded on British roads in 2009, 5 per cent (11,990) occurred when someone was driving whilst over the legal alcohol limit. The number of people estimated to have been killed in drink drive accidents in 2009 was 17 per cent (380) of all road fatalities.
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