Ireland plans to reduce drink-drive limit to 50mg

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The drink-drive limit in Ireland is to be cut by the end of 2009. The current limit of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood will be cut to 50mg, with a lower limit of 20mg for learner drivers and people who drive for work.

This leaves Britain and Malta as the last two European countries with drink-drive limits of 80mg. Once Ireland’s new drink-drive limit comes into effect, all other European countries will have limits of 50mg or lower.

Research shows that driving is impaired by even a very small amount of alcohol in the blood stream. In 2008, 430 people were killed by drink-drivers, an increase of 20 fatalities compared to 2007. In addition, 1630 were seriously injured and 10,970 suffered lesser injuries from crashes involving drivers over the 80mg limit. Experts have estimated that reducing the drink-drive limit in Britain to 50mg/100ml blood could save about 65 lives and 230 serious injuries per year[4]. Despite this, the Government is dragging its heels on cutting the UK limit.

Brake’s Road Safety Week 2009 (November 23-29) will highlight the risks of drink and drug driving to challenge the behaviour of drivers who think it is acceptable and put a stop to the carnage they cause on our roads.

In the wake of this announcement, Brake calls on the UK Government to follow the example of our Irish neighbours by lowering the drink-drive limit and stepping up enforcement of the law.