BMA calls for cut in legal alcohol limits

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 20 July 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:136

The BMA has called for the maximum blood alcohol concentration for drivers to be lowered to 50 mg/100 ml from the current 80 mg/100 ml.

The association has the support of Alcohol Concern and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, who have written to the transport secretary, the home secretary, and the chief medical officer, urging them to lower the legal alcohol limit in order to reduce accidents.

The call is reinforced by a new report from the BMA's board of science and education, Driving Impairment Through Alcohol and Other Drugs. This says that although there is no scientific answer to the question of what the permitted blood alcohol concentration should be, there is evidence that any detectable blood alcohol increases the risk of drivers being involved in accidents. It says that though it would be sensible to adopt a zero level, legislation would only succeed if it was acceptable to the public and was practical.

The call came on the eve of the government's £1m ($1.5m) media campaign aimed at younger drinkers.—LINDA BEECHAM, BMJ

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