Drink driving limit changes mulled over for England and Wales

10 February, 2016

The drink-driving limit in England and Wales could be lowered to match the tougher stance taken in Scotland, according to media reports.

The new limit would make it illegal to drive after one pint of lager or a small glass of wine, bringing the levels down from the current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg; the same as in Scotland.

A transport minister, Andrew Jones, discussed the idea in a parliamentary answer, saying he would be looking at the Scottish limits with experts.

“I am intending to discuss with the Scottish minister the experience of the lower limit in Scotland and the timescales to get access to robust evidence of the road safety impact,” he said.

“It is important to base our decisions on evidence and the Scottish experience will be crucial to that before we consider any possible changes to limits in England and Wales. This government’s current position, however, remains to focus resources on enforcing against the most serious offenders.”

The current limit in England and Wales is one of the highest in Europe and Ministers have long faced pressure from road safety experts who have been calling for a tougher law on this issue; several EU nations have banned drinking while driving altogether.

Drink driving led to 240 fatalities and 1,080 serious injuries in 2014, according to figures published in The Telegraph. The report also noted that nine months after the current drink drive limit was introduced in Scotland (in December 2014), the number of offences fell by 12.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, an analysis by the RAC Foundation found that lowering the limit would have saved 25 lives last year and prevented 95 people being seriously injured. 




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