Drivers warned: one drink and you're over the limit
Last updated at 10:15am on 15th June 2007 Comments (20)
Motorists would find themselves over the limit after just one drink under new plans
A massive cut in the drink drive limit is being considered by ministers.
Motorists would find themselves over the limit after just one drink under plans to bring UK law into line with Europe.
The plan was disclosed by Road Safety Minister Stephen Ladyman, who told a seminar that a formal consultation would begin this year.
Most EU countries have a limit of 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, while in Britain the current limit is 80mg.
Concern has raised at increasing numbers of drink-related deaths on the roads — up from 460 in 1999 to 560 in 2005.
In some European countries with the lower limit, including Germany and the Netherlands, fatalities have dropped sharply.
One academic study has claimed a lower limit would save 65 lives and 230 injuries a year in the UK.
The idea is backed by police leaders. Med Hughes, the chief constable of South Yorkshire and roads policing spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "Reducing the limit will make a public statement that it is impossible to have one drink and be certain you will pass a Breathalyzer test."
Mr Ladyman said he wanted to see evidence that the police are able to enforce the current level before agreeing to a reduction.
He told The Times: "I think it will happen. The consultation will include lowering the limit.
"It depends on how quickly we get enforcement at 80mg.
"If you go to 50mg before you have effective enforcement at 80mg people will just ignore the 50mg level."
A Transport Department spokeswoman said: "As part of our latest road safety review in February we said we would keep under review the case for a lower drink drive limit.
"The UK already has stringent penalties for drink driving, and better enforcement than many countries, but that doesn't mean we can't do better."