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05/10/2012

Latest drink driving policy developments in Europe

Scotland and Northern Ireland to lower BAC, stronger sanctions for drink drivers in Italy, UK and Spain latest data on alcohol related road collisions

6 October 2012. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has published the 17th issue of its Drink Driving Monitor, which brings news from across the EU on drink driving legislation and enforcement.

Main highlights of this issue:

-The Scottish Government has launched a public consultation on lowering the drink driving limit in Scotland from 0.8g/l to 0.5g/l for all drivers. This would bring Scotland in line with the European Commission 2001 Recommendation to tackle drink driving and most of other European Countries;

Eurocare very much welcomes the Scottish Government's decision to prioritise this topic within the scope of its new powers and hopes that Northern Ireland (where a consultation on reducing the BAC limit has just been completed) and Scotland will set an example that England, Wales and Malta (with a BAC limit still set at 0.8g/l, the highest within Europe) will follow;

-The authorities in Northern Ireland are currently consulting on a draft Bill which proposes a reduction from the current 0.8 BAC limit to 0.2 for professional and novice drivers and 0.5 for all other drivers;

-The Italian Highway Code has been modified in September with stronger sanctions for those who commit a drink driving offence;

-The Department for Transport in Great Britain has presented provisional estimates for drink driving road crashes. Main findings show that deaths resulting from drink driving road crashes increased by 12% from 250 in 2010 to 280 in 2011, and serious injuries rose by 3% from 1,250 to 1,290;

-The Spanish Public Prosecutor Office for Road Safety has published figures on the number of road traffic offences committed by Spanish drivers. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs corresponds to almost 95% of all traffic offences registered and prosecuted in Spain last year. In 2011 there were 60,625 people sanctioned for drink driving.

-The number of drink driving offenders applying for an alcohol interlock programme in Sweden is increasing. Between the 1st of January and the 31st of August 2012, some 1,323 drivers asked the Swedish Transport Administration to have the device installed in their cars instead of losing their driving licence;

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