Calls are being made for the drink-driving limit to be lowered across England and Wales in light of a ‘worrying trend’ of increasing numbers of women drivers flouting the law.
A survey of drivers carried out last year saw nearly one in six women admit to getting behind the wheel even though they believed they may be over the alcohol limit.
It has led to The Police Federation saying drink-driving levels for women are ‘not falling quick enough’, with ‘the message not getting through to women’, despite thousands more men still being caught driving over the limit each year.
The number of women found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in England and Wales rose from 9,077 in 2011 to 9,586 in 2012. The number of men convicted over the same period of time dropped from 46,204 to 45,471.
Without doubt these figures provide a shocking insight into the attitude towards the much publicised dangers and consequences of drink-driving. It is shocking that so many men still put the lives of themselves and others at risk. It’s equally, if not more shocking that the number of women drink-drivers rose.
The Police Federation now says the limit should be lowered across England and Wales to match that of Scotland, 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, compared to the current 80mg.
The lower limit was introduced north of the border last year, bringing a ‘marked reduction in failed breathalyser tests’, says Victoria Martin, chief executive of The Police Federation of England and Wales.
Given the horrific consequences of drink-driving, it is hard to imagine any argument against any moves to make our roads safer.
One of our clients at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, cyclist Raich Carter of Hull, suffered life-threatening injuries when he was hit by a woman drink-driver. He suffered a fractured skull and was left blind in his left eye when the woman, who was almost three times over the limit, knocked him off his pushbike and left him in a pool of blood in the road.
Mr Carter, who has not worked since and is still going through his rehabilitation eight months on, says all drivers must greater responsibility for their actions.
“The problem is that a person heavily under the influence of alcohol isn’t making the right decisions anyway,” he said.
“People shouldn’t put themselves in that position if they are going out drinking, they should simply leave their keys at home, or take the car home before they drink. Friends should also take responsibility for their mates and take their keys off them.”
And therein perhaps lies the only solution to this problem.
For no matter how low the limit is, it ultimately comes down to individuals and groups of people acting responsibly and thinking about the safety of not only themselves, but others on the roads.
As personal injury specialists, we see far too many lives forever changed, or even brought to a premature end, by irresponsible drink drivers.
Quite simply, there are no excuses. It is a life-threatening crime people choose to commit.