New study led by HEHTA on the lowering of the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers in Scotland

‌A new study led by Health Economics Health Technology Assessment (HEHTA) shows lowering of the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers in Scotland showed has had no impact on the rates of Road Traffic Accidents.

The research, led by Professor Jim Lewsey, evaluated the impact of the change in legislation, which occurred in Scotland in December 2014, when the blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers was reduced from 80 mg/dL to 50 mg/dL.

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The study, undertaken in collaboration with partners at NHS Health Scotland, the University of Stirling and the University of East Anglia, suggests that lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration limit on its own does not improve RTA outcomes.

To conduct the study, the researchers used data from the whole of Scotland, as well as England and Wales, and compiled counts of RTAs from police accident records combined with alcohol consumption rates from market research data. The study design allowed the researchers to isolate the effect of changing the legal limit and assessed the sole effect of change in legislation without any enhanced law enforcement measures such as random breath testing.

The findings could have significant policy implications for other international countries and jurisdictions considering similar legislation.

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First published: 14 March 2018

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