Health Expert Backing Lower Drink-Drive Limit
Health experts in South Tyneside have welcomed proposals to nearly halve the drink-drive limit and introduce random breath testing. A study commissioned by the last Government has proposed to change the legal alcohol limit for drivers from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml to 50mg – in line with most of Europe – in an attempt to tackle alcohol-related road accidents.
The report, published yesterday, has been backed by road safety campaigners and alcohol treatment experts. However, the new coalition Government is said to be wary of changing the limit. Founder of the North East Regional Alcohol Forum, Kevan Martin, who is due to open South Tyneside's first dedicated alcohol treatment centre later this year, has welcomed the study.
Mr. Martin said: "It is in the interest of public safety that the limit be reduced. "The idea may not be welcomed by the wider public at first, but it will certainly improve road safety. "However, I am mindful that people who have alcohol problems and drink-drive regularly will take no notice."
Mr. Martin said he hopes a change will prevent people from drinking any alcohol before driving. He added: "Someone who has a pint after work every day, then drives home, may become dependant on alcohol. It is an extremely addictive drug.
"If the law does not allow them to do this, then this may prevent them from becoming addicted. "I think a change in the limit would lead to fewer accidents, fewer health problems and fewer hospital admissions."
It is already illegal to drive while impaired by a drug, but a new offence could make it illegal to drive with specific drugs in the system at certain levels.
For both drink and drugs, the report – conducted by academic Sir Peter North – has considered the likely impacts of any changes on driver behavior and the practical steps needed to support introduction of any new or revised offence.
The number of drink-drive-related fatalities has been significantly reduced in the last 30 years, due to Government campaigns and police crackdowns.