New government is set to ignore an official review supporting a lower drink-drive limit

Ministers are poised to shelve plans to reduce the legal drink-drive alcohol limit.

In June this year legal expert Sir Peter North produced an official review supporting a lower limit. He recommended cutting it from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg – bringing Britain into line with most of Europe.

The outgoing Labour government had indicated it was open to the report’s conclusions. Lord Adonis, the former transport secretary, had said there was a strong case for a lower limit, but current transport secretary Philip Hammond is unconvinced by the findings.

Read more on the original review's findings

He believes that it will have a damaging effect on rural pubs, and would criminalise millions who drink in moderation but need to drive to their local pub. For an average man the 50mg limit equates to just under a pint of average-strength beer.

Hammond has delayed any decision until November, so a report on the effect on rural pubs can be evaluated. Those against the change argue that lowering the limit would not deter serious offenders; those involved in accidents are often well over the limit.

Also, alcohol is related to 17 per cent of accidents in the UK but 27 per cent in France, where the limit is already 50mg.

But safety groups such as the Campaign against Drinking and Driving were quick to condemn Hammond's decision. Research suggests that 65 lives a year could be saved, and Sir Peter’s report suggested this figure could be as high as 300.

RAC director Professor Stephen Glaister said the group "broadly favoured a reduction in the limit", but agreed that it would do little to stop the most serious offenders.

Alan Riddoch

Allowable levels of alcohol per litre of blood

0.8g UK, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta0.5g Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain0.4g Lithuania0.2g Norway, Poland, Sweden0g Estonia, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, HungarySource: European Road Safety Observatory

Join the debate

Comments
42

25 August 2010

[quote Autocar]current transport secretary Philip Hammond is unconvinced by the findings.

He believes that it will have a damaging effect on rural pubs, and would criminalise millions who drink in moderation but need to drive to their local pub.

[/quote]

Ah! That will be the Tories integrated transport policy at work, then.

Where has all Japanese design went to?

25 August 2010

I think this is very sensible. As far as I can tell, there is no evidence that people at the 80mg level are crashing and causing fatalities. All road safety stats are highly self serving, I would very much doubt that you could produce any evidence at all that 65-300 deaths are caused by people with 51mg-80mg levels each year.

25 August 2010

[quote Broughster]I think this is very sensible. As far as I can tell, there is no evidence that people at the 80mg level are crashing and causing fatalities. All road safety stats are highly self serving, I would very much doubt that you could produce any evidence at all that 65-300 deaths are caused by people with 51mg-80mg levels each year. [/quote]

You're right. The road safety and medical experts who put the report together are clearly idiots and your opinion, which sounds like it was made up in a pub, is clearly superior.

I don't usually get wound up on this forum but, honestly, if this is the standard of debate...

25 August 2010

The simple solution is to either drink or drive, not both.

A designated driver who doesn't consume any alcohol whatever the limit anyone?

25 August 2010

Nice to see a bit of common sense prevail over the usual politically correct tosh.

Hail to the ale !!!

25 August 2010

[quote Pepsi Max]Hail to the ale !!![/quote]

Anyone of my advanced years can probably remember bokes leaning on pub bars in the 1970s and loudly proclaiming how they "drove better after a couple of pints". It was a widely accepted piece of pub wisdom for a surprisingly long time.

Welcome to the modern version.

25 August 2010

[quote Broughster]I think this is very sensible. As far as I can tell, there is no evidence that people at the 80mg level are crashing and causing fatalities. All road safety stats are highly self serving, I would very much doubt that you could produce any evidence at all that 65-300 deaths are caused by people with 51mg-80mg levels each year. [/quote]

I completely agree.

And i doubt anyone is advocating drinking and driving, but the more sensible limit means you are less likely to accidently be over the limit the morning after

25 August 2010

[quote Broughster]I think this is very sensible. As far as I can tell, there is no evidence that people at the 80mg level are crashing and causing fatalities. All road safety stats are highly self serving, I would very much doubt that you could produce any evidence at all that 65-300 deaths are caused by people with 51mg-80mg levels each year. [/quote]


As the DfT points out itself - the "problem" drink drivers, ie the ones who drive actually drunk (as opposed to carefully pootling home at 11 pm on a couple of cheeky ones) - and they are clearly flouting the rules and their own safety. I cannot see how lowering the limit will deter people who don't give a toss about the limit in the first place, it just serves to criminalize people who are no less fit to drive than someone who is tired, old, has a bad cold/headache/emotional drama etc.

25 August 2010

[quote Broughster]I would very much doubt that you could produce any evidence at all that 65-300 deaths are caused by people with 51mg-80mg levels each year.[/quote] I completely agree with this comment, but I bet the road safety people would argue that a lower limit would deter those who may have a couple of drinks (so over the 80mg limit) enough so they didn't actually drink alcohol in the pub. However, when someone has a drink and then drives, they tend to drive more cautiously on the way home than normal so as to not attract the police. But if they are sober, they may speed home, feeling invincible! And we all know is the cause of all other accidents on the roads is speeding!

If the government really want to help drivers to not drink alcoholic drinks in a pub, one way is to help promote non alcoholic drinks more, make them more popular. Who would have thought that pear cider would be a cool drink to have a few years ago? Now its everywhere. I would happily have a pint of (admittedly slightly strange tasting) non-alcoholic beer, but they only come in bottles. Which I hate. So I buy 2 and ask for a pint glass, which end costs more than a pint does.

25 August 2010

[quote Zeddy]He believes that it will have a damaging effect on rural pubs, and would criminalise millions who drink in moderation but need to drive to their local pub.[/quote]

I have never heard such utter twaddle in my life. I was the sixth generation of my family to run pubs and this excuse is just unbelievable. "Need to drive to their local pub" - could they not walk? Next thing, the smoking ban will be rescinded because that has an adverse effect on country pubs and some people only smoke in moderation.

Before the breathalyser[yes, I'm that old!] roads were quieter and people drove about drunk, because it was the accepted thing and the chance of getting caught in rural areas was slight. Now I don't even chance one drink, because the one occasion when I was breathalysed [and passed] I was so embarrassed that I vowed never to do it again and I haven't.

In Scotland, however, I think it will be lowered anyway so, once again, we lead the country in sensible legislation.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales