Drink driving law: 50 years on

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QUAYS NEWS reporter Becky Waldren investigated how the drink driving law has been implemented in Greater Manchester and around the UK since it came into play. 

The Landmark Road Safety Act of 1967 limited drivers to a limit of blood alcohol concentration of 80mg per 100ml of blood and since the law has come into play there has been a significant drop in deaths as a result of drink driving.

Speaking to an Inspector from GMP, Lee Norton, he was happy with the way that the law had changed the safety of the roads in the Greater Manchester area, and the feeling of safety for the community, which has been helped by further education on the dangers of drink driving.

“I think through education over the years now it is made out to be a socially unacceptable thing to do and if you do drink or drug drive it hands a risk to the chances of you having a road accident,” explained Inspector Norton.

Drink Driving Law

The initiatives which the Greater Manchester Police department have supported that are linked to the issue of drink driving and implement the law, are the THINK! Campaigns, the fatal four risk initiative (seatbelt, using mobile phones, don’t drink or drug drive and reduce speed) and the ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’ scheme.

He continued: “We are keen on the education side of it so when people start off their career they will pass it on to their friends or family and hopefully in years to come that will have a massive impact on the fatalities caused by these problems in the future.

“I do believe we have had a massive impact on people’s behaviour and that has reduced road accidents and road deaths associated with drink or drug driving,” said Inspector Norton.

Since the law came about statistics supplied by Transport for Greater Manchester conclude that 80 people in Greater Manchester were in road accidents involving drunk drivers in 2017, which is significantly lower in comparison to the 527 of 1989.

In the UK as a whole, the DfT has recently released statistics which reveal that the number of drink-drive deaths per year has gone from 1,640 to 200, from 2015- an 88% decrease since the law was put in place.

“This is a remarkable milestone, and I am proud of the work this department has done to reduce the number of deaths from drink driving over the last 50 years,” commented Roads Minister Jesse Norman in a press release by the DfT to mark the event.

She continued: “The change in attitudes to drink driving during this time has been profound, and there is little doubt that the introduction of the drink-drive limit helped to give us what remains one of the safest road networks in the world.”

To accompany the anniversary of the drink driving law the DfT are releasing a brand new THINK! Campaign at the end of November, which they hope will further reduce the number of deaths by drink driving.

The campaigns have been going for 53 years, having celebrated their own anniversary in 2014, and have been a major support for the Landmark Road Safety Act of 1967, due to their large distribution across multiple media platforms and strong messages they send to motorists.

“There is still much further to go, but we are making good progress. Our THINK! campaigns should help to reduce the number of drink-drive incidents even further,” commented Jesse.

See the latest THINK! Campaign to mark the 50th Anniversary here.

For more information on the drink driving law visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/life-saving-drink-drive-law-turns-50 

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