Driving under Influence:Written question - HL16133

Asked by Earl Attlee
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Department for Transport
Driving under Influence
To ask Her Majesty's Government for what reason the drink drive limit in England and Wales was set at 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood; and what scientific studies, if any, were the basis for determining that limit.
Answered on: 13 June 2019

The Road Safety Act 1967 made it an offence to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in excess of 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood and obliged drivers to submit to a screening, breathalyser test at the roadside in certain circumstances.

In 1966 Professor Allsop published a paper “Alcohol and Road Accidents” which stated that earlier research by Professor Borkenstein in 1964 showed that with “blood alcohol levels above 80 mg/100 ml, the risk of being involved in an accident is higher”.

Professor Allsop’s report provided the basis for setting the drink drive limit in 1967.

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