With the government planning to adopt a “two strikes and you’re out” rule for drink drivers, there are fears from road safety groups that this will send a confusing message to motorists.
In 2007, The Times revealed that ministers were planning to lower the drink driving limit from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood which is the equivalent of less than a pint or a glass of wine.
Under these new laws, drink drivers over the 50 mg limit would be allowed a second chance if they were caught exceeding the limit. The first instance would see a motorist receive 6 penalty points with disqualification only occurring if the driver reoffended within 5 years.
These plans bring fears that the new law will encourage some motorists to risk drinking and driving as the consequences first time will be less serious.
Cathy Keeler, head of campaigns at Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We will save the most lives by reducing the limit and keeping the automatic ban. We must not distort the simple message that being caught over the limit results in disqualification.”
Research by University College London has revealed that to lower the limit would save 65 lives and 230 injuries a year. The economy would also save £119 million a year.
The UK holds the highest drink-drive limit of any large European country. Many countries have already put a 50mg limit in place with some, including Poland and Sweden, have a 20mg limit.