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Drink Drive Limit May Be Cut To A Single Glass Of Wine – But With A Softer Sentence

December 5, 2009

Drivers caught over the alcohol limit could escape without an automatic ban under a two-tier system unveiled by ministers yesterday.

But the legal limit will also be reduced from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg – meaning a single glass of wine or pint of beer would leave motorists facing prosecution.

The current legal drink-drive limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, but it could be lowered to 50mg in line with other EU countries 

In the biggest rethink of drink-drive law since breathalysers were introduced 42 years ago, those caught with between 50mg and 79mg in their blood would receive points on their licence or a fine instead of a ban.

The move would bring England and Wales into line with most of Europe and Scotland. Government advisers say the lower limit could save 65 lives a year.

The proposals were put forward by Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, who asked legal expert Sir Peter North to advise on tightening up rules on drug and drink-driving.

Lord Adonis said: ‘We need to cut further the number of tragedies on our roads. Drinkdriving killed 430 people last year and research suggests drug- driving is a key concern for the public.’

As well as the two-tier drink system, Sir Peter will investigate the use of roadside testing equipment for drug-driving.

He will report his findings in March, which could see any changes to the law deferred until after a general election.

Transport groups last night voiced concerns that a sliding scale of penalties would confuse the public.

The Tories said they were against more lenient punishments.

Transport spokesman Theresa Villiers said: ‘We have yet to be convinced of the case for an across-the-board reduction in the drink- driving limit and would certainly strongly oppose any moves which would see the penalties for drink-driving reduced.’

RAC spokesman John Franklin backed lowering the limit, but said: ‘The two-tier penalty system will need further clarification.’

AA president Edmund King welcomed the Government review, saying two thirds of AA members backed a lower limit.But he warned: ‘Having a sliding scale of penalties could reduce the deterrent effect.’

Source: Daily Mail 4th December 2009

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