About This Site
The objectives of Sense on Drink-Driving are:
I was prompted to create this website by my investigations into the drink-driving issue following the publication in early 1998 of the Government consultation document on reducing the UK drink-driving limit. The basic premise is to be a responsible site that opposes drunken driving but supports the retention of the current 80 mg limit. The website is essentially a summary of my knowledge of and personal opinions about the subject, and it is not in any sense an official site. While I have made reasonable endeavours to ensure that all factual material presented is correct and up-to-date, clearly it cannot be guaranteed that no errors have occurred. Much of the site contents are personal opinion and should be taken as such.
Obviously the issue of drink-driving can be an emotive one and I have received the occasional offensive communication in response to this site. However, it must be stressed that I am doing no more than defending the current legal position, something that was accepted by the present government following a detailed review. It is not my intention to encourage or condone drunken or over-the-limit driving. However, the relevance of the site has been greatly increased by the official Government announcement in November 2007 that they are once again going to launch a consultation on reducing the limit.
I am a member of CAMRA - the Campaign for Real Ale - and I am very concerned about the future of pubs. It isn't only country pubs that would be threatened by a reduction in the limit, it is pubs in villages, small towns, urban fringe areas and suburbs as well. Because people don't tend to shout it from the rooftops - and you never see it on television - it is often underestimated just to what extent pubs depend on the custom of law-abiding drinking drivers. It has been described as "the pubgoing that dare not speak its name".
I have held a driving licence for over thirty years, have a long-standing interest in road safety matters and am a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists. I certainly don't want to condone any dangerous or irresponsible behaviour on the roads. But I firmly believe that someone who drives home from the pub after drinking a pint and a half or a couple of pints of mild or ordinary bitter - or indeed Guinness or standard lager, because this isn't just about real ale - does not pose any significantly increased risk on the roads, certainly at worst no more than driving home after a bad day at the office. Criminalising such people is absolutely irrelevant to improving road safety. This is not to say that I would wish to encourage anyone to do this who didn't want to, merely that the danger involved is far less than is often supposed.
I accept the current UK drink-driving legislation, with an 80 mg limit and mandatory one-year bans for those found to be exceeding it, as being a strict but reasonable law that has been very effective in reducing drink-related road deaths. Given a clean sheet of paper it is perhaps not the legal régime that I would implement myself, but since there is no realistic prospect of relaxing any aspect of it I see no point in challenging it. I have lived with it throughout my driving career without feeling unduly restricted, and I do not see this law in itself as a threat to well-run pubs or a curb on responsible pubgoers.
I also believe that much of the impetus for reducing the legal limit stems from an anti-alcohol agenda rather than a genuine concern for road safety. The 80 mg limit is in line with road safety requirements - anything more is basically a means of deterring the majority of the adult population from drinking alcohol on many occasions. This is reflected in the change in emphasis of anti-drink-driving campaigns from "Stay Low!" - which is entirely reasonable - to "Have None for the Road" - which strongly implies that even a single small alcoholic drink is dangerous, a proposition that is entirely untrue. An alcoholic drink will never make you a better driver, but one or two won't make you a worse driver either. It is instructive how keen anti-alcohol pressure groups are on reducing the drink-drive limit, even though they have no special expertise on road safety, and drivers who successfully keep within the legal limit could be regarded as showing precisely the moderation and self-restraint they seek to encourage in the population at large.
If you have any questions or comments about the site, please send me an e-mail. Please note that, as this is not an official website, I am unable to send out copies of any literature or publicity material; nor am I in a position to do television, radio or press interviews.