THE DRINK-DRIVING limit may be lowered in England and Wales to make it illegal to drive after one pint of beer or a glass of wine, a government minister has indicated.
The move would see the current limit fall from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg, in line with Scotland’s current drink-driving limit introduced in December 2014. Campaigners say England’s existing drink-driving limit is one of the highest in Europe.
The new, lower limit would mean an adult male could drink only a pint of beer or a large glass of wine before being over the limit, and a woman half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine.
Until now, the government has said the current limit “strikes an important balance between safety and personal freedom”. Its latest position was revealed by Andrew Jones, a transport minister, who said he was intending to meet his Scottish counterpart to discuss the impact of the new limit.
He said: “I am intending to discuss with the Scottish Minister about the experience of the lower limit in Scotland, and about the time scales to get access to robust evidence of the road safety impact.
“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.”
According to Scotland Police, in the nine months after the new, lower limit was introduced in Scotland, drink-driving offences fell by 12.5%. The RAC Foundation said that had the lower limit been introduced in England in 2015, 25 deaths and 95 serious injuries would have been avoided.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “There is now plenty of data to suggest a change would have a marked improvement in road safety terms. Drink-drive policy has not moved on for half a century, but the momentum now seems to be in favour of change.”
According to the Department for Transport’s most recent figures, in 2014, drink driving led to 240 fatalities and 1,080 serious injuries on UK roads.