A small glass of wine and women could be over the limit

A shake-up of drink-drive laws could mean a rise in prosecutions

You might want to think again about having that small glass of wine before driving home if The Transport Secretary has anything to do with it.

Lord Adonis has hinted at reviewing the drinking law and lowering the legal limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg – the same as much of the Continent. This figure could be as low as 20mg for novice, lorry and bus drivers.

The Government believes that the review would help prevent up to 65 deaths and 230 serious injuries a year, and would be the biggest change to drink drive laws since the introduction of the breathalyser by Barbara Castle in 1967.

The move is also likely to affect the law of ‘drug driving’, making it an offence to operate a car with a quantity of illegal narcotics in the bloodstream. As opposed to now, where police have to prove that the drug has impaired the motorist’s driving.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the Transport Secretary said: ‘It will be taken seriously. 430 people a year are killed on our roads in drink drive incidents. That is 430 too many.

‘We have a good record over the last 30 years – the numbers killed in drink drive have come down by three quarters.

‘We do need to see whether it is possible to improve on our record further. I would want to weigh the evidence very carefully before I make the change.’

In response, the shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers has made it clear that a Tory Government would not change the limit.

‘If the Conservatives win the election, we will not reduce the limit to 50ms. We don’t think the case has been made for change.’

The AA, however, is 100% behind the reduction, as is the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.

Rob Gifford, the organisation’s executive director, said: ‘This is a decision that has long awaited.’


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