Campaigners want to introduce changes to the driving test to counter drink driving trends

Calls For Driving Test Changes To Counter Drink Driving

Campaigners want to introduce changes to the driving test to counter drink driving trends

Campaigners want the national driving test to be changed to better reflect drink and drug driving trends. The request comes as recent government statistics revealed drink driving to be at its highest levels since 2012. Statistics from the Department of Transport (DoT) have shown that over 9,040 people were killed or injured in 2016 due to drink-drive accidents; a 7% rise from 2015’s figure of 8,470. 

AlcoDigital’s Suzannah Robin, alcohol and drug safety expert, believes there needs to be greater educational emphasis on the subject and that changes should be introduced to the driving test. She said, “the issue isn’t how much alcohol you might consume, but if you have any alcohol in your system at all. Even just one drink means you are three times more likely to cause an incident. The problem is this information isn’t being highlighted or filtering through quickly enough because drink-drive limits aren’t immediately clear, and blood or breath alcohol stipulations are often quite meaningless to the general public.” She concluded, “however, what is clear from research is that driving with any alcohol in your system is simply not safe.” Robin suggested that learner drivers should be subjected to compulsory drug and alcohol sessions and be tested in a way “similar to the current speed awareness course.”

A survey from the winter of 2017, conducted by First4Lawyers, highlighted how prevalent drink-driving could be. Out of 2,000 drivers who responded to the survey, a staggering 29% said they’d driven whilst under the influence. Of these, 37% said they stuck to speed limits in order to avoid police detection whilst 16% used country roads; a further 2% admitted that they’d made themselves sick before driving in order to reduce the volume of alcohol in their systems. Andrew Cullick, a spokesman from the company, stated “driving drunk, speeding and using a mobile behind the wheel are all illegal, yet it appears that attempts so far to crack down on these incidents have been largely unsuccessful. It can only be hoped that the increase in the death by dangerous driving sentencing from 14 years to a life sentence will act as a deterrent to those risking the lives of other road users through their dangerous actions.”

Generally speaking, it’s men of all age groups who tend to be the most likely to drink-drive. However, it’s young drivers who tend to be the worst offenders. It’s therefore reasonable to suggest that educational measures could better reinforce the risks and dangers of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As it stands, penalties have become increasingly tougher and stringent. Driving or attempting to drive whilst over the limit can mean 6 month’s imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a driving ban for at least one year; this can be increased to three years if more than one offence is committed in ten years. In short, it’s never worth taking to the roads after drinking.

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