Currently reading: Plans to cut drink-drive limit 'shelved'
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

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trocadero 26 August 2010

Re: Plans to cut drink-drive limit 'shelved'

I will stick with my original comment, "drink or drive, not both"

As far as I know, no law in the statute book is age related , the law is the law.

MHanna 26 August 2010

Re: Plans to cut drink-drive limit 'shelved'

beachland2 wrote:

the debate over whether an 80 year old should drive is a different matter and not connected to the alcohol debate. still a worthy debate though.

. it has to be alcohol related for and against.

I know you didn't quote me but I imagine it's my post you're replyiing to. I have to disagree with you, the two are absolutely connected. Impairment is what's behind the drink-driving laws in the first place. If it was my child run over I wouldn't give a rat's a$$ whether the driver was drunk, high on crack, texting on their phone, looking over their shoulder for the Mars bar they dropped, or half blind and doddering because they're in their 80s. In each case it's their impairment that killed my child, not some arbitrary number in their blood and I'd want all their heads in a basket. Is it true that alcohol will reduce a given person's reaction time by a finite amount? Yes, of course. But imposing a blanket figure ignores the fact that one person's half shandy is another person's pint and a half. If they can both avoid my child running out then there's no difference between a sober 80 year-old in a Cadillac and a fighter pilot with two pints in him. It's the ability to react that matters, all else being equal. It's like the blanket statement that speed kills. Not by itself, it doesn't. If that were true no aircraft would ever get off the ground.

Rich_uk 26 August 2010

Re: Plans to cut drink-drive limit 'shelved'

Nope. I broadly agreed with you on my third post on page three of the other thread. Although as I said before the smallest amount of alcohol (and I don't mean a pint) would have no discernable effect on your driving abilities but yes, a pint would have some effect but not necessarily a dangerous effect which you skipped long ago. A quick google shows that the American medical association has determined that impairment occurs at above 0.04 Grams in 100 ml of blood. So technically, you're wrong it would seem. One step at a time I guess. Goodnight.