Drink driving

Government decides not to cut the limit

21 March 2011

The Government has set out its response to the North Report on Drink and Drug Driving, which was published last year.

Despite two-thirds of AA members supporting a reduction in the drink-drive limit, according to AA/Populus research the Government has decided not to cut the limit. But, hardcore drink-drivers will be targeted by tighter procedures, providing the police have the resources to do it.

Drink driving

The Government will:

  • Revoke the right for people whose evidential breath test result is less than 40% over the limit to opt for a blood test.
  • Introduce a more robust drink drive rehabilitation scheme, so that drink drivers who are substantially in excess of the limit can be required to take remedial training and a linked driving assessment before recovering their licence.
  • Approve portable evidential breath testing equipment for the police to speed up the testing process and free up police time.close a loophole used by high risk offenders to delay their medical examinations.
  • Streamline the procedure for testing drink drivers in hospital.

Drug driving

The Government will:

  • Approve preliminary drug-testing equipment – initially for use in police stations, and at the roadside as soon as possible. Six drug-testing devices are currently being tested by the Home Office.
  • Allow custody nurses to advise the police whether or not a suspected driver has a condition that may be due to a drug – ensuring that drug drivers do not escape punishment because a doctor is not available and also freeing up police time.
  • 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.

Full details of the Government's response here »

We still need cops in cars to catch drink and drug drivers in the first place

Edmund King, AA President

AA response

As the evidential test will be conducted much sooner after drinking, there will be less time for the body to filter out alcohol and reduce the reading. This, in effect, creates a reduction in the legal limit.

The new process will also mean that policemen making an arrest will be back on patrol sooner, increasing the chances of drinking drivers being caught.

"Although an opportunity to cut the limit has been missed, drink drivers need to understand that new procedures will make them more likely to be caught" says Edmund King, the AA's president.

"The introduction of 'drugalysers' and simpler procedures will send out a strong message that drug drivers are more likely to be targeted and caught, but we still need cops in cars to catch drink and drug-drivers in the first place."