Three in four want tougher drink-drive laws

Three quarters of people think that the amount of alcohol drivers are allowed to drink should be reduced
Three quarters of people think that the amount of alcohol drivers are allowed to drink should be reduced
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THREE-QUARTERS of people think that the amount of alcohol drivers are allowed to drink should be reduced, an official new poll has found.

The survey, commissioned by Public Health England, found that 77 per cent of people are in favour of the law being changed so drivers are legally allowed to consume less alcohol before getting behind a wheel.

Meanwhile, the figures, which were part of the British Social Attitudes Survey of more than 2,000 adults, show that more than half of Britons support the notion of a minimum price per unit for alcohol.

At present the current legal limit for drink-driving is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath in England and Wales. In Scotland it is 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

But the amount of alcohol which can be consumed before a person is considered “over the limit” varies from person to person. Influential factors include a person’s weight, age, sex, metabolism, the type and amount of alcohol drunk and what a person has eaten.

When asked: “How much would you be in favour, or against, changing drink driving laws to reduce the amount of alcohol drivers are allowed to drink?” Half said they were strongly in favour and 27 per cent said they were in favour.

Just three per cent said they were strongly against and eight per cent said they were against a change in the law.

Meanwhile, 54 per cent disagree with the assertion that “whatever the law says, most people are safe to drive after a pint of beer”.

The authors, from NatCen Social Research, also found a “big gap in attitudes between the sexes” on whether it is acceptable for alcoholic companies to sponsor sporting events, with 45 per cent of men thinking it is acceptable, compared with 23 per cent of women.

Commenting on the report, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, leading liver doctor and chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “We welcome the findings published today from the British Social Attitudes Survey that show the British public has a strong appetite for Government action to reduce alcohol harm.

“There is clear recognition of the damage caused by cheap alcohol, with more than half of the British public supporting minimum unit pricing for alcohol. A minimum unit price for alcohol is the fairest and most targeted way of helping those most at risk of damaging their own health or causing harm to others.”

Rosanna O’Connor, director of alcohol at PHE, said: “These social attitudes research findings will provide context as we build our evidence review on alcohol harms, which is due out later this year.

“Millions of people drink at a level that poses a risk to their health and we are committed to preventing and reducing this.”