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Lower drink-drive limit ruled out

The Government has ruled out lowering the legal drink-drive limit.

The decision followed a recommendation in a Whitehall-commissioned report last year by Sir Peter North that the limit be reduced from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg.

In a response to the report, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said improving enforcement rather than lowering the limit is likely to have more impact on drivers who "flagrantly ignore" current regulations.

But Mr Hammond has given the green light to a package of measures to tackle drug-driving as well as drink-driving.

Improved testing equipment to detect drink and drug-drivers will be given the go-ahead and there will be key changes made to streamline enforcement of both crimes.

The Government will also examine the case for a new specific drug-driving offence - alongside the existing one - which would remove the need for the police to prove impairment on a case-by-case basis where a specified drug has been detected.

Mr Hammond said: "Drink-driving and drug-driving are serious offences and we are determined to ensure they are detected and punished effectively.

"It is just as dangerous to drive impaired by drugs as alcohol so we need to send a clear message that drug-drivers are as likely to be caught as drink-drivers and that drug-driving is as socially unacceptable as drink-driving has become. That is why we will approve drug-testing devices and change the law to speed up the testing process, ensuring the police can bring drug drivers to justice."

He went on: "The number of drink-driving deaths has fallen by more than 75% since 1979. But drink-driving still kills hundreds of people so we need to take tough action against the small minority of drivers who flagrantly ignore the limit.

"Their behaviour is entrenched and after careful consideration we have concluded that improving enforcement is likely to have more impact on these dangerous people than lowering the limit."


From Belfast Telegraph