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Government to consider report on reducing drink-drive limit

Coalition ministers receive report commissioned by outgoing Labour Transport Secretary

The government is considering a report commissioned by former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis that recommends cutting the drink-drive limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg.

The Labour peer commissioned the report last December, which was compiled by government advisor Sir Peter North and submitted on 21 May, but according to the BBC, the Department for Transport (DfT) has said that at this stage, no decision has been reached as to whether to change existing laws.

An earlier report in the Daily Telegraph had claimed that the new coalition government would proceed with the lower limit, as well as implementing a recommendation that an automatic 12-month ban be given to drivers testing positive, including those who were only just over the limit.

Lord Adonis’s successor, Philip Hammond, will now consider how to proceed with the report’s recommendations, which besides cutting the drink-drive limit, include:

  • Introducing random breath-testing of drivers;
  • Taking away the right to have a second breath test conducted at a police station;
  • Reducing the limit to 20mg for new drivers; and
  • Bringing in a new offence of driving with an illegal substance in the bloodstream that impairs the ability to drive.

According to the DfT's Think! campaign, "If you drive at twice the legal alcohol limit you are at least 30 times more likely to cause a road crash, than a driver who hasn't been drinking."

A DfT spokesman told the BBC: "We need to tackle drink driving in the most effective way possible to protect law abiding motorists. We are considering Sir Peter's report carefully and will respond in due course."

When he was interviewed by the Sunday Times in March this year, Lord Adonis said that he believed that Sir Peter would recommend changing the law.
In response, then Shadow Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers said she was "not convinced that a change would be justified".

Meanwhile, police forces across England are launching campaigns to warn of the dangers of drink-driving during the World Cup.

Thames Valley Police, which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire is also targeting those who may still be over the limit when taking to the wheel the morning after the night before.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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