The legal drink-drive limit should be lowered to cut alcohol-related accidents, councils and fire authorities have urged.
The Local Government Association (LGA) and all fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales are calling for it to be lowered from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, following Scotland’s example two years ago.
The LGA said it was estimated that doing so could save up to 170 lives in the first year, rising to more than 300 lives in the sixth year. A lower limit would also save £300m annually by reducing the number of 999 responses and hospital admissions.
It cited new provisional government figures showing that reported “serious” drink-drive accidents between 2014 and 2015 had risen 11 per cent from 880 to 980, while total reported drink-drive accidents had increased by two per cent from 5,620 to 5,740.
Between 2010 and 2015 the number of people killed in reported drink-drive accidents has remained between 220 and 240.
Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “England and Wales will soon have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, which is not sending the right message to motorists and safety campaigners. Latest figures show that alcohol has contributed to a rise in both the number of road accidents and those injured in the UK. The Government should be leading by example by toughening up drink-drive laws in line with other European countries which will make roads safer and save lives.”