The Department for Transport has confirmed there are no plans to
lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales despite the
earlier suggestion of Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, when he
implied that the drink-drive limit in England and Wales could be
reduced by a third.
Responding to a parliamentary question, Andrew Jones told MPs
"I am intending to discuss with the Scottish Minister the
experience of the lower limit in Scotland and the timescales to get
access to robust evidence of the road safety impact." This
follows the drink-drive limit in Scotland being reduced in 2014.
Andrew Jones went on to say "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."
The current position
In England and Wales, the legal limit for alcohol is 80mg per
100ml of blood. This is equivalent to 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of
breath and is one of the highest drink-drive limits in Europe. In
Scotland, the legal limit was reduced to 50mg per 100ml of blood as
of 14 December 2014.
What are the benefits of changing the law?
According to Police figures, drink-drive offences fell by 17% in
Scotland during the first three months following the change in the
law. Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health
Alliance stated that the benefit of reducing the limit was that
"several hundred lives could be saved in England each
So why the U-Turn?
The Government believes that rigorous enforcement and severe
penalties for those who break the law are more of a deterrent than
simply changing the limit; after all, Britain is said to have some
of the safest roads in the world.
For the time being, it appears that the debate between safety
and personal freedom goes on. We will keep you up to date with any
further developments on this issue.
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