Police chiefs call for reduction in drink drive limit weeks after Government says no


Crime commissioners want to cut the limit in England and Wales from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, where it has remained since 1967 – to 50mg, insisting it would bring a major improvement in road safety.

The change, which has already been brought about in Scotland, would put the rest of Britain into line with Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Republic of Ireland.

Scotland cut its limit in December 2014 – and since then the number of drink-driving offences has apparently dropped by an eighth.

But Roads Minister Andrew Jones said earlier this month current levels struck a “balance between safety and personal freedom”.

However, the police chiefs continue to push for a change. 

In a letter in today’s Times, three Labour police and crime commissioners – County Durham’s Ron Hogg, Vera Baird, from Northumbria, and Barry Coppinger, the PCC for Cleveland – say it is “proven that a lower drink-drive limit significantly improves road safety and reduces drink-drive related deaths”. 

It refers to a recent conference of alcohol reduction specialists in the northeast in which 94 per cent of those present supported a reduction.

Ministers have said they will meet members of the Scottish Government to work how effective the new limit is, but they have ruled out doing anything in the short term.

Labour peer Lord Brooke has introduced a private members bill in the House of Lords to introduce the change.