Ministers to consider lowering drink driving limit in England and Wales

Ministers are considering lowering the drink driving limits in England and Wales, to match the level set in Scotland.

The current limit in England is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, compared with 50mg in Scotland – equivalent to a small glass of wine or half a pint for the average woman or a large glass of wine or pint for the average man.

Andrew Jones, a transport minister, floated the idea in a parliamentary answer, saying he would be looking at the Scottish limits with experts; “I am intending to discuss with the Scottish minister the experience of the lower limit in Scotland and the timescales 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 limits in England and Wales. This government’s current position, however, remains to focus resources on enforcing against the most serious offenders.”

Road safety experts have been applying pressure to ministers to toughen up the law; reports are widely available that show England and Wales’ limits as amongst the highest in Europe.

Jones, who has responsibility for road safety, said: “Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world because we crack down on those who break the law, and the government believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink-drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink-driving limit. We continue to look at the best ways to improve road safety but the drink-driving limit for England and Wales strikes an important balance between safety and personal freedom”.

What do you think – should England and Wales have the same limit as Scotland?

Author Lex Barber


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