Tougher alcohol limits cut booze-linked crashes

Recent opinion polls suggest an increased acceptance of stricter drink-drive limits Keystone

Almost ten years after a lower drink-drive limit was set, the number of serious road accidents involving alcohol has fallen. The legal limit on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was changed from 0.8 to 0.5 in 2005.

This content was published on May 5, 2014 - 12:08 and agencies

Before the law was tightened up there were 630 accidents where alcohol played a role, which resulted in serious injuries on Swiss roads every year –  a further 80 were fatal incidents.

According to recently published figures from the Federal Statistical Office (BfS), in the last few years the number has dropped to 500 crashes linked to drinking per year, with an additional 50 resulting in a death.

The fall in the number of alcohol-related accidents can also be linked to other changes that were introduced by parliament in 2005. These included systematic alcohol testing; more breathalysers were put into use by the police and more testing was carried out.

The Federal Statistical Office also believes that awareness-raising campaigns and public discussion of the issue have contributed to making people less likely to drink-drive, although there is no clear evidence to support this.

In 2001, the BfS found that the lower blood alcohol level limit was supported by 65% of drivers in opinion polls. By 2012 87% backed the limit.

Other moves to increase road safety have been brought in as part of the Via Sicura programme. Since 2013 drivers who speed excessively have faced tougher penalties and since the start of 2014 all cars must have their lights on during the daytime.

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