Proposal for lowered drink-drive limit

By Sandamali Zbyszewski

Experts have called for the UK to fall in line with neighbouring European countries by lowering the legal alcohol limit by nearly half.

The case for reducing the drink-drive limit was made in a government commissioned report which will be handed over to the new transport secretary later today.

The report, headed by Sir Peter North, recommends the drink-drive limit be lowered to 50mg per 100ml of blood, down from the current 80mg.

A leading academic and legal expert, Sir Peter stated that "research conclusively shows the much higher risk posed by drink-driving.

"With a blood alcohol level between my proposed new limit of 50mg per 100ml and the current 80mg per 100ml limit, a driver has a six times greater risk of road death than a non-drinking driver."

Doubts have emerged as to whether the much vaunted proposals will be taken on by the government. The Conservatives had previously been outspokenly dismissive of a proposed lowering of the drink-drive limit.

While in opposition, then shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers had panned the proposal. "If the Conservatives are elected as the next government, we would not reduce the drink driving limit to 50mg.

"We do not believe that the case has been made to justify such a change. We would keep the existing limit and focus on improving enforcement of the current rules on drink driving."

Under the coalition, the 51 measures contained in the report might receive a kinder reading.

Other measures will include a broadening of police powers towards drink-driving. If implemented, the reform will grant police officers powers to spot breath check at random, to further reduce the drink-drive limit for learners and to issue lifetime bans if deemed necessary.


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