Trade delight as drink-drive limit plans are overturned

Related tags Drink-drive limit Police Alcoholic beverage

Fears that the drink-drive limit could be lowered have been put to rest by the Government.The DTLR said this week it will not be going ahead with...

Fears that the drink-drive limit could be lowered have been put to rest by the Government.

The DTLR said this week it will not be going ahead with plans to drop the drink-drive limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, as had been suggested by Europe.

The decision has delighted trade campaigners who had feared such a cut would not stop hardcore offenders but could lead customers to stay away from pubs and drink at home instead.

Transport minister David Jamieson said the decision had been reached because the penalties for drinking and driving in Britain were already among the toughest in Europe.

"We will continue the fight against people who endanger themselves and others by drinking and driving and shall continue to emphasise that the only really safe option is never to drink and drive," he added.

The possibility of a limit cut has been hanging over the industry for the last few years but was raised again at the start of this year after Christmas drink-drive figures revealed the first rise in offences for five years. The rise prompted the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to renew lobbying efforts for a limit cut.

The UK is one of only four European member states with an 80mg limit, and Brussels has recommended that it is brought into line with the rest of the union. But trade leaders successfully argued against the move on the grounds that the UK is very strict in enforcing its higher limit, with jail terms if necessary, where many states simply fine offenders.

Evidence was also presented by Canadian road safety researchers who found that a lower limit would not deter the main hardcore of offenders.

But ACPO condemned the decision. David Kenworthy, head of ACPO's road policing policy, said: "This sends out the wrong message and suggests that we do not view drink-driving as seriously as other countries, particularly when the last ACPO figures for drink-driving over Christmas and the New Year showed a slight increase in offences."

Jean Coussins, director of drinks watchdog The Portman Group which runs a designated driver scheme, said the Government had made the right decision. "The evidence shows that it's strong enforcement, tough penalties and year-round campaigning that makes the difference when it comes to saving lives," she said.

Related stories:

New evidence: cut in drink-drive limit would not deter offenders (31 January 2002)

Licensees fear loss of trade as police push for drink-drive cut (18 January 2002)

Trade fears cut to drink-driving limit after sharp rise in offences (10 January 2002)

Related topics Legislation

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