Department for Transport confirms it will not be undertaking a review of the current drink-driving limit
Road safety campaigners have expressed their dismay after it was revealed that the UK government will not be reviewing the drink-driving limit, despite the transport minister telling MPs that he would be discussing the issue with his Scottish counterpart.
Transport minister Andrew Jones had previously told MPs that he would be assessing whether or not Scotland’s decision to lower the legal amount from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood had had an impact on road safety. The Department for Transport has now confirmed that it will not be reviewing whether or not a similar change should be adopted in England and Wales.
Road safety campaigners have expressed concern that this is not being reviewed, especially as the current 80g limit in England and Wales is higher than most European countries and the number of deaths resulting from road traffic accidents increased last year.
By contrast in Scotland, the number of drink-driving cases fell by 12% in the eight months following the change in legislation. A study by the Scottish government also shows that the change in law altered people’s attitudes towards drinking and driving as 82 percent of Scottish people now believe that it is unacceptable to drink any amount of alcohol and then drive.
David Robinson, a specialist road traffic accident solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Newcastle office, said: “Given that we have a higher limit for alcohol and driving than most countries in Europe, that the death rate is rising and that there is evidence from Scotland to show that a change in the limit has had a positive impact on the number of deaths and public attitude, it beggar’s belief that the UK government has concluded that there should be no change. What negative impact is the government scared of?
"If, as the government claims serious penalties are an effective deterrent for drink-drivers, why were there an estimated 240 alcohol related fatalities in road traffic accidents in 2014 and 5,620 drink-drive accidents in the same year which was just a one percent decrease from the previous year?
“We are hugely disappointed that the transport minister has not only dismissed a debate on the issue, but has gone against his original statement that he would be discussing the impact of the lower limit with his Scottish counterparts.
“All the evidence points in one direction. The government is refusing to make a move that would save the NHS £millions every year and families long term devastation. The government have failed to show any clear leadership on this issue which is, frankly, appalling."
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