Drink and drug driving 14 Sep 2010

RACF gives evidence on drink and drug driving as George Michael jailed

On the same day singer George Michael is jailed for crashing his car whilst under the influence of cannabis the RAC Foundation has given evidence on drink and drug driving to a televised session of the Transport Select Committee.

The Committee was scrutinising the independent review into the subject carried out by Sir Peter North published earlier in the year.

Sir Peter recommends the drink drive limit be reduced to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood from the current level of 80mg, a move supported by the Foundation as well as ACPO, PACTS, Brake and the AA.

The Foundation believes that while a reduction will not have much impact on those hardened drinkers who drive when well over the current limit, it will save lives and reinforce the 'social norm' that drink driving is unacceptable behaviour. But the Foundation warned that any cut would have to be accompanied by strict enforcement. It highlighted the situation with regard to hand-held mobile phones where almost as many people are using them whilst driving as when the law banning such behaviour was first introduced in December 2003.

Commenting on the George Michael case, Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“The dangers of drink driving have long been known, but this case highlights the serious hazards associated with driving under the influence of drugs – be they illegal or prescription. Drug driving is believed to be widespread but the true scale of the problem is hard to judge because of the lack of testing equipment similar to the roadside breathalyzer used to identify alcohol. But the government has recently announcement that new detection kit for use in police stations is soon to be trialed and could be rolled out to all police forces within two years.

“This morning the House of Commons Transport Select Committee heard evidence from a range of experts on how drug driving should be tackled. Today’s events show that was a conversation worth having.”

ENDS

Contact:

Philip Gomm - Head of External Communications - 020 7747 3486 / 07711 776448 / philip.gomm@racfoundation.org

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