Drivers should not be allowed to drink any alcohol before getting behind the wheel, nurses said yesterday.
They called for drinking even a single unit before driving to be made illegal.
Rod Thomson, vice chairman of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘Ideally it should be illegal to drink half a pint of beer.
‘People find messages confusing – they think one glass of wine is a unit and that it is OK to drive after two or three.
‘Telling people that they could not drink at all before getting behind the wheel would make the message much clearer.’
Some countries already have absolute zero limits, including Estonia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary.
But critics said the suggestion – raised at the Royal College of Nursing conference in Gateshead – was unworkable and unfair.
If the law were changed, a woman who had consumed three large glasses of wine in an evening could be stopped for drink-driving on her way to work the next day.
The average man’s liver takes about an hour to remove one unit of alcohol from the bloodstream – although it usually takes longer for women.
This means that if a woman were to consume six units in an evening – two or three large glasses of wine – she could still have alcohol in her bloodstream by the time she woke up in the morning.
Nurses, however, said drivers can turn their cars into ‘potential killing machines’ by consuming only one or two drinks with lunch or over the evening.
They said even one unit of alcohol can greatly impair a motorist’s reaction times and concentration.
Andrew Frazer, an emergency care nurse from East London, told the conference: ‘You would not drink two pints of beer before going to work so why would you do it before getting behind three-quarters of a tonne of steel capable of going 100 miles per hour?’
The Department for Transport is considering reducing the current legal limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
It means a man can drink up to two pints of beer or three small glasses of wine and still drive – although experts warn size and metabolism can greatly affect how worse for wear an individual feels.
Ministers could reduce the limit to 50mg, as is the case in much of Europe. This means one pint could put a man over the limit.
They believe this could prevent up to 65 deaths and 230 serious injuries on the road every year.
But Neil Williams, from the British Beer and Pub Association, called instead for better enforcement of the existing limit.Source on net: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1269589/Nurses-complete-ban-drinking-alcohol-driving.html?ito=feeds-newsxml