Lowering Drink Drive Limit Could Save Over 200 Lives A Year

Lowering the drink drive limit is the most important element
in the package of measures needed if the Labour Government wishes to
crown the road safety success begun by a previous Labour Government
under Barbara Castle.

The beneficial effect on road fatalities of reducing the legal
limit is evidenced from Australia, USA and Sweden. If similar results
were to be achieved in the UK, then overall road deaths could be cut by
200 to 300.

In addition to cutting the limit to 50mgs, the Government package must include:

  • the right of the police to a general power to breathalyse
  • bringing offenders to court within 36 hours of committing the offence
  • mandatory disqualifications for at least 6 months for an offence at 50mgs with the 12 months or more for those over 80mgs.
  • all those over 150mgs or with two offences above whatever is
    the legal limit within a ten year period should not have their licence
    reinstated until they satisfy a medical examiner that they no longer
    have a serious alcohol problem and thereafter an annual certification
    from an independent medical examiner.
  • an extensive publicity campaign particularly highlighting
    the time it takes to eliminate alcohol from the body and the high risk
    offenders requirement to satisfy medical advisors about their drinking
    before the return of their licence.

Speaking for the IAS, Derek Rutherford said:

“Evidence suggests that the proportion of problem drinkers is
the same within the range 50 mgs to 80 mgs and 80 mgs to 150 mgs. If the
Government is seriously wanting to target the ‘hard core’ of drink
drivers and to reduce fatalities, lowering the legal limit is vital”.


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