BMA Scotland called on politicians from all political parties in Scotland to continue to put pressure on the UK Government to reduce drink driving limits from 80mg/100ml to 50mg, a move that could prevent as many as 65 deaths on the UK's roads every year. The calls came in advance of today's debate on drink driving in the Scottish Parliament.
Dr Sally Winning, a member of the BMA's Scottish Council, said, "Doctors see and treat the tragic consequences of avoidable road accidents caused by drink driving and therefore believe that there is really no excuse for keeping the level at 80mg. Almost every European country has a 50mg or lower limit and the UK needs to follow this lead. Every death represents a family tragedy and every serious injury can be devastating for the person involved and their relatives."
The BMA supports a reduction in the drink drive limit because:
• There is clear evidence that this will reduce the number of deaths and serious injury caused by drink driving.
• Drivers' reaction times and motoring skills deteriorate after even a small amount of alcohol - and get worse with increased alcohol consumption.
• The risk of involvement in a collision rises significantly once the blood alcohol level rises above 50mg per 100ml of blood.
BMA Scotland would also like to see provision to allow the police to carry out roadside random breath tests - currently only drivers suspected of being over the limit can be tested by police. This measure is a vital element in deterring people from drinking and driving.
Dr Winning added, "Sadly, drink driving continues to be a health risk on Scotland's roads. Although it is the season to be merry, it is also a time to be sensible. Enjoy the Festive Season but don't drink and drive."