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Mr Loophole' Attacks Drink Driving Limit

By raccars Published

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A lawyer who has made his name by extricating celebrities from drink driving charges has, somewhat paradoxically, criticised the Government for failing to lower the current legal blood alcohol limit. Nick Freeman suggested that last week would have been an excellent time to bring the UK's blood alcohol limit in line with the rest of Europe, marking as it did the 50th anniversary of the first drink driving campaign.

Mr Freeman specialises in acquitting clients accused of driving while exceeding the legal alcohol limit and even posts information on his website, suggesting how to defend against the charge. The advice given is that technical procedure while testing is being carried out is of utmost importance and that a failure to comply exactly with the due process could help to secure an acquittal of charges.

However, he believes more needs to be done to make the UK's roads safer, claiming that while campaigns have played a large part in changing the drink drive culture, a lower legal limit and the implementation of random breath tests are the necessary next step. The lawyer points out that most of the rest of Europe has set a lower legal blood alcohol limit than the UK at 0.05%, and that certain countries, including Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania and Sweden, are even stricter.

Last week, saw the 50th anniversary of the UK's first ever anti-drink driving campaign, a cheerful and genteel short film in black and white, targeting women by advising them not to ask a man to drink and drive. Its dated innocence paints a very different picture from hard hitting modern campaigns. At that time, drink driving was completely socially acceptable so while the film may have provoked interest, its message was rarely taken seriously.

However, the ever increasing number of road deaths saw the Ministry of Transport commission further campaigns and eventually, in 1967, set the first legal drink drive limit. Roadside breathalysing procedures were introduced the following year. Slowly, the idea began to permeate and persistence was rewarded, as drink driving deaths have dropped sixfold in the UK in the last 35 years. When the gory statistics for drink driving deaths were compiled for the first time, in 1979, 31,430 accidents that year were attributed to alcohol, resulting in 1,640 deaths and 8,300 serious injuries.

While the picture is very different now, the Department for Transport still recorded 6,630 alcohol related road accidents in 2012, causing 230 deaths and serious injury to 1,200.

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