Ministers ponder lowering England and Wales drink-drive limit to Scottish levels

Pint

Ministers are considering lowering the drink-driving limit in England and Wales to the tougher level set by Scotland.

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,” he said.

“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.”

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.

Ministers have been under pressure from road safety experts to toughen up the law, given that the England and Wales’s limits are among the highest in Europe. However, Whitehall sources downplayed the idea, saying there were no plans to lower the limit.

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.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Rowena Mason, for The Guardian on Wednesday 10th February 2016 00.07 Europe/London

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