Road Safety News

Minister denies lower drink-drive limit rumours

Wednesday 10th February 2016


Road safety minister Andrew Jones has dismissed reports that the Government is planning to reduce the drink-drive limit in England and Wales.

Various media outlets had reported on Wednesday morning that ministers were pondering the decision, after Mr Jones ‘floated the idea in a parliamentary answer’.

However, Sky News is now reporting that the Government is in favour of ‘rigorous enforcement’ as opposed to lowering the limit.

There have been calls from road safety stakeholders for England and Wales to follow Scotland’s lead and reduce the drink-drive limit from 80mg alcohol/100ml blood to 50mg.

A recent report from the RAC Foundation and Pacts suggested that around 25 lives could have been saved across Great Britain in 2015 had the new lower limit been enforced across the UK.

Stats published by the DfT last week show that a central estimate of 240 people were killed in accidents in Great Britain where at least one driver was over the drink drive limit, unchanged from 2013.

Andrew Jones, road safety minister, told Sky News: "We have no plans to change the drink drive limit. There is no review.

"The Government believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink driving limit.

"Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world because we crack down on those who break the law.

"The Government believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink driving limit."



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The minister has not made a new statement - he has basically repeated to Sky what he originally said. The comment was misconstrued by the media into thinking he was looking at reducing the limit. When I first read the 'news' that a lower limit was being considered it surprised me, as I saw it was not what he had said.
Andy, Warwick

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

Risk of capture and deterrent have diminished considerably over recent years, but public apathy is at such a point that the minister has no incentive to move. Were someone to be drunk and walk down a high street with a shotgun the 999 lines would be in a meltdown, but let someone in the same state climb behind the wheel of a ton & a half of lethal metal and the lines are quiet. I would suggest the latter is more dangerous because the former requires a degree of aim and usually doesn't cause the same devastation. We need to change attitude a little more then the minister might see a political benefit.
Olly Lancs

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

I think Paul is right, if there isn't adequate enforcement so that people genuinely believe there is a good chance of being caught, hardend drinkers will keep taking the chance. I found this article that suggests that lowering the level in Scotland has had an impact with a 19% reduction in drivers caught. I'm not sure that you can evidence the effect of the reduction with this figure, but this is a great chance to do some research on the effect on the thinking and behaviour of drivers in Scotland now they have a lower limit. This perhaps would help guide England and Wales Policy direction on this. I'm interested in this as here in Jersey we are consideering lowering the limit to match Scotland.
Philip Blake, Jersey

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

Peter, as someone who worked on lowering the limit in Scotland, I can tell you that you are way off beam with your comment. The move was based on the findings and recommendations of the North Report, which was commissioned by the UK Parliament, not the Scottish one or the SNP.
Michael, Edinburgh

Agree (7) | Disagree (1)

Following Paul's comment, more and more I think it will be up to the general public to be prepared to report drivers for bad behaviour on the road but.. and it's a big but, we need some reassurance that the Police will actually folow up such reports. If one rings 999 whilst witnessing a drunk driver on the move, I would hope the police would respond, subject to their resources at the time, but otherwide, in my experience anyway, they are less inclined to follow up reports of bad driver beahviour - whatever it may be - after the event. Possibly if several complaints were made aginst the same driver it would help, but I think the responsible members of the motoring public should be prepared to report drivers more. With more and more dashcams being used, this would surely help.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (6)

No BAC limit or penalty seems to be effective against the 110mg plus brigade that are the real all year round problem (see table 2.2 from Prof Allsop's RACF report) - even if '25 lives saved' out of 240 was a carved in stone proven fact, which it isn't, that still leaves 215 untouched. I don't know what the answer is, but there is no 'rigorous enforcement' or anywhere near enough police officers to carry out sufficient enforcement. What are the chances of being caught drink driving if you are not involved in a crash?
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)

I think everyone will agree with Liz from London's comment that the road safety message should be: not even one drink and then drive. However the legal position is a different matter. I am also for the principle that there needs to be a lot more enforcement of the current legal levels. With regard to the minister not being interested in... please don't confuse "disagreeing" with someone's point of view as to be equal to a "lack of interest".
Pat, Wales

Agree (8) | Disagree (1)

I was quite heartened and surprised by the news in the morning, then the reality of the Minister's lack on interest in reducing this allowance of alcohol when driving was revealed. I wholeheartedly hope that in line with many drivers' opinions that we reduce the 'legal' amount we can drink and then drive. Let's have a policy that everyone understands - even one drink will put you over the limit so there is no ambiguity!
Liz, London

Agree (11) | Disagree (3)

Reducing the drink-driving limit in Scotland was supported by MSPs from all parties, not just the Scottish Nationalists, and not just because they could but because drinking makes driving worse.
David S, Scotland

Agree (13) | Disagree (3)

Correct outcome. We need to continue to target the tiny minority who flout the current limit with the reduced amount of traffic officers we still have. The S.N.P. have reduced the limit in Scotland just because they can.
Peter Robinson , Bolton

Agree (8) | Disagree (21)

Isnít this rather disingenuous. Having ďsome of the safest roadsĒ is meaningless unless quantified and isnít Britain slipping down the league tables, especially when looking at rate based pedestrian and cycling casualties.

And is he really suggesting that itís a choice between a correct drink-drive limit or rigorous enforcement and serious penalties. Are those asking for reduced levels expect enforcement to be relaxed or penalties reduced?

And what is that balance regarding safety and personal freedom? 240 drink related deaths is OK is it, balanced out by the ability to drink and drive? I wonder which of his family, friends or colleagues he would be prepared to sacrifice on the altar of alcohol and driving!
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (12) | Disagree (8)

Peter City of Westminster

Agree (17) | Disagree (7)