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Doctors want drink-drive limit cut.

Welsh doctors are calling on the Government to lower the alcohol drink-drive limit in a bid to cut the number of people killed or injured every year.

The British Medical Association Cymru also wants more random roadside breath tests to deter drivers from drinking before they get behind the wheel.

The blood alcohol concentration level for driving is currently 80mg per 100ml of blood in the UK, compared to 50mg elsewhere in Europe.

Only Ireland and Luxembourg have the same higher limit as the UK.

The latest drink-driving casualty statistics for Wales reveal that 582 people were injured in drink-related road traffic accidents in 2003 and six people - two pedestrians and four were passengers - were killed.

In 2002 alone in Wales there were 6,500 positive breath tests.

Scientific evidence from around the world has found that once a person's alcohol level goes over 50mg their driving becomes impaired.

Dr Richard Lewis, Welsh secretary of the BMA, said, 'The BMA believes that a further reduction in blood alcohol concentration levels will prevent deaths and reduce the number of lives ruined by drinking drivers.

'As a road accident doctor and a member of the British Association of Immediate Care (Basics), I go to road accidents to provide advanced medical care with the emergency services, and I have seen at first hand the awful and devastating consequences of drink driving.

'The BMA is not suggesting a zero limit because there will be cases where an individual would register slightly above zero even when they had not been drinking - diabetes and the use of mouthwash can both cause an above-zero level.

'The BMA doubts whether an absolute zero would be enforceable and acceptable to the public but argues that a 50mg level, which would bring the UK into line with many other European countries, would be effective and beneficial.'
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 25, 2005
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