As the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACPO) launch its June drink and drug driving campaign, the Penningtons Manches’ personal Injury and clinical negligence team looks at the success of the 2012 and 2013 campaigns.

In the June 2012 campaign, approximately 83,000 drivers were stopped and tested, of which just under 6% (approximately 4,800) failed the breathalyser test for alcohol. In July 2013 100,892 drivers were stopped and tested, of which 5.1% (approximately 5,200) failed the test. The campaign was targeted at under 25s and day time drinkers attending barbeques and weekend events, among whom there was a slight decrease in those who failed the test, from 1,327 in 2012 to 1,290 in 2013. Of those stopped, Field Impairment Tests for drugs were also carried out, revealing a slight fall, resulting in 59 arrests (compared to 63 the year before).

With drink driving being accountable for one in six deaths on the UKs roads, Brake, the road safety charity, has called for a zero tolerance drink drive limit. The current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood is considerably higher than the EU’s recommendation of 50mg and is among the highest in Europe. Brake has called for a 20mg limit, which would allow for naturally occurring alcohol. This limit is already imposed in Sweden, Poland and Greece. Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced intentions to reduce the limit to 50mg but England has currently not followed suit.

Commenting on the findings, William Broadbent, personal injury and clinical negligence lawyer, said: “While the campaign revealed a slight fall in the number of people failing breathalyser tests during the police campaign, drink driving campaigns have existed for many years and every driver should be  aware of the risks. The message of the current drink drive limit is that it is acceptable to drive after a drink, yet any alcohol in the blood system is known to slow reaction times and affect awareness. A zero tolerance policy is the only way to send out the correct message that it is completely unacceptable to drink and drive and more needs to be done with high profile random testing and checks for both drink and drugs.

“If you are driving, don’t give in to the temptation of a drink or take drugs and no passenger should get into a car driven by anyone who has had a drink or taken drugs. There are too many avoidable deaths or catastrophic injuries caused by drink/drug-driving and we see the devastation caused by such accidents far too frequently.”