England and Wales could follow Scotland by introducing a 50mg/100ml drink driving limit, Ministers have hinted
10 February 2016

The UK government could slash the drink-driving limit in England and Wales, making it illegal to drive after one pint of beer or a glass of wine.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones has suggested that England and Wales could follow the example set by Scotland, which lowered its drink-driving limit from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg in 2014.

It is understood that the rest of the UK could follow Scotland’s lead, with Jones saying he will seek “robust evidence” of the impact of the lower limit.

In response to a parliamentary question asked earlier this month, Jones said he would meet and discuss the matter with his Scottish counterpart: “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 the limits in England and Wales.

“This Government’s current position, however, remains to focus resources on enforcing against the most serious offenders.”

Police in Scotland have said that the number of drink-driving offences fell by 12.5% in the first nine months of its new limit being enforced.

In 2014, drink-driving led to 240 fatalities and 1080 serious injuries in England and Wales.

The current 80mg limit is among the highest in Europe. Countries including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia have a blanket zero alcohol policy, while the majority of countries have limits of around 50mg per 100ml.

Although the new limits would suggest a single pint of beer or glass of wine would place drivers over the limit, in practice it is impossible to predict, because each person metabolises alcohol at a different rate.

Reaction to the news has been positive. The RAC Foundation’s director, Steve Gooding, said that ministers were “right to remain open minded about drink-drive limits and ready to assess evidence from north of the border.

“It would be a poor argument to say cut the drink-drive limit just because others have done it, but there is now plenty of data to suggest a change would have a marked improvement in terms of road safety.”

The RAC Foundation’s own research estimates that a lower drink-driving limit would save around 25 lives annually. Since 1979, the number of people killed in drink-driving accidents has dropped by around 85%.

Speaking to The Telegraph, AA president, Edmund King, said that a majority of his organisation’s members would support a lower limit. He said the move “seems a sensible step to bring us into line with Scotland and the majority of European countries.

"However, it would probably be more effective for the police to target hard-core offenders, who are way over the current limit, as they are involved in the most deaths and injuries on the road.

"With a lower limit, drivers will also have to be aware of being over the limit the morning after. Our research shows that almost 20% of drivers have driven the morning after when they believed they could be over the limit."

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12

10 February 2016

it will vastly increase the number of people who presently nip out for a responsible social drink, losing their licences and livelihoods for being just over the new limit. While those who presently ignore the limit by driving after 4, 5, 6 or more pints, will CARRY ON driving after 4, 5, 6 or more pints. The second thing that it'll do is ensure the closure of many remote village pubs that rely on passing trade.

So the same logic for NOT lowering the limit exists now, as it did the time this matter was discussed the time before, the time before that, and the time before that.

10 February 2016

Couldn't agree more. If you can just hear the plaintive tolling of distant bells, it's probably the approaching death knell of the great English country pub.

It's all too easy to imagine (and understand) a typical couple deciding to get in inexpensive but good quality bottled beers from their local supermarket (at around £1.25 each), and organising delivery of a takeaway, rather than risk that trip to their favourite pub for a pint and a meal. Result - significantly less enjoyment for the couple, with an absence of convivial social interaction. Oh, and the pub goes bust!

Carmentator

10 February 2016
Cobnapint wrote:

it will vastly increase the number of people who presently nip out for a responsible social drink, losing their licences and livelihoods for being just over the new limit. While those who presently ignore the limit by driving after 4, 5, 6 or more pints, will CARRY ON driving after 4, 5, 6 or more pints. The second thing that it'll do is ensure the closure of many remote village pubs that rely on passing trade.

So the same logic for NOT lowering the limit exists now, as it did the time this matter was discussed the time before, the time before that, and the time before that.

Spot on. I have posted the same argument many times in various places. How many of the people pulled out of wrecks where alcohol is involved have had 1 pint and how many have had 3,4,5,6+ ?

10 February 2016

RAC says:
“It would be a poor argument to say cut the drink-drive limit just because others have done it"

AA says doing so
“seems a sensible step to bring us into line with Scotland and the majority of European countries"

10 February 2016
Bullfinch wrote:

RAC says:
“It would be a poor argument to say cut the drink-drive limit just because others have done it"

AA says doing so
“seems a sensible step to bring us into line with Scotland and the majority of European countries"

I am sure the AA will not turn the extra drivers away from their Drink Driving / Rehabilitation Courses...

10 February 2016

Gov is denying they have any intention of lowering drink/drive limit. If anything I expect pressure for Scotland to put it's limit back up to the previous level. I am sure SNP had planned to do data analysis on the effects of the change, how its affected road safety verses the Scottish economy and lifestyle choices ?

10 February 2016

It should be a simple case of follow the evidence. All drivers involved in road traffic collisions where the police attend are breathlysed. An analysis of the data will show how many people involved had an alcohol level equivalent to 50-80mgs. However, the comparison with many other European countries in unfair as I believe the UK have the harshest punishments for drink-driving ie. The loss of your licence for 9 months minimum.
The suggestion that concentrating police resources on drunk-drivers is spot on; it's a shame the cuts have led to traffic departments a thing of the past in most forces as the Home Office does not place an obligation on the Chief Constable to provide traffic officers.
If a reduction was imposed. I would suggest points and a fine would be proportionate for those under the old limit and keep the threshold for losing your licence at 80mgs.

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

10 February 2016
Rich_uk wrote:

It should be a simple case of follow the evidence. All drivers involved in road traffic collisions where the police attend are breathlysed. An analysis of the data will show how many people involved had an alcohol level equivalent to 50-80mgs.

But that evidence would be flawed. Road traffic accidents, as we all know, happen every single day, throughout the morning, lunchtime, afternoon, evening and overnight. These accidents were going to happen 'anyway' - it just so happens that at certain times of the day some of the people involved may have had a swift couple of pints before the event. The alcohol probably never had anything to do with it, but it still goes down as a drink related RTA. The authorities don't bother trying to prove that drink was the cause, once you blow over, it is automatically presumed.

10 February 2016

You're wrong Cobnapint. Part of the police paperwork seeks the professional opinion of the attending officers as to what caused the collision so there is no automatic presumption. I must also add that it's not just RTCs that result in drivers being breathlysed. It's my experience that coming across drivers who have blown under the 35ugs limit but have some alcohol level on their breath and been involved in a collision is exceedingly small so from personal experience, I have not yet seen evidence that the limit needs to be lowered. However, studies across in the States tell a very different story. Furthermore, it's not just the lower limit that's behind the logic; it's the message to those that risk the 'extra' pint and venture just over (35-50ugs) that drink-driving is best avoided and that's what the Scottish stats allude to. Following all available evidence objectively is the right thing to do rather than using my or anyone else's gut instinct or blindly following others without reason.

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

11 February 2016

It has been lowered in Scotland for about a year and a half. Its like the smoking ban. At first, there is outrage/discussions/worries about the effects of what will happen. Now, it is just accepted as the norm. It will be the same in England & Wales if it were to happen

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