Close Menu

UK considers slashing drink-drive limit

A review of the drink-drive limit in the UK is set to recommend that legal level of alcohol in drivers’ blood be almost halved, bringing Britain into line with the rest of the EU.

The report is expected to say that more than 150 lives a year could be saved by cutting the current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg.

There is a possibility that the new coalition government will not accept the proposals put forward by the Labour-commissioned review, but should it be accepted Britain will have one of the toughest regimes in Europe, particularly when coupled with the mandatory 12 month ban.

Under the new rules, drivers would not be able to drink even a single pint of premium-strength lager or enjoy a glass of wine before getting behind the wheel, though the individual’s weight and metabolism may create exceptions to this, as well as how much food they had consumed and at what time they had stopped drinking.

The report is also expected to recommend scrapping rules which allow drivers close to the limit to insist on a blood or urine test at a police station, while another likely recommendation is for the police to be given powers to carry out random breath tests.

Nick Bish from the Association of Licensed Retailers said a lower limit would not necessarily lead to a drop in offending, seeing as the UK has the lowest number of drinking and driving offences in Europe.

He told the BBC: “The reason for our success is the penalties – the enforcement is very tight, the penalties are very onerous.

“A year’s ban, and there are the social penalties; people say, ‘you are an idiot, you are a fool if you drink and drive’.

"But in other countries the social and employment penalties are lower too."

Alan Lodge, 16.06.2010

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No