The legal drink-drive limit should be lowered to an “effectively zero” level but such a reduction is “too great a step at this stage”, a report by MPs has said.
The current level is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood and the Government should aim, in the long-term, for a reduction to 20mg, the report from the House of Commons Transport Committee said.
The MPs described 20mg as “effectively zero” and added that any reduction in the limit should only occur after an extensive Government education campaign about drink strengths and their effects on the body.
The report said there was “little evidence to suggest the public would support such a drastic, immediate change in the law”.
The committee also said that instead of an “interim” reduction to 50mg, the Government should concentrate on working with individual police forces to achieve a stricter enforcement of the current limit.
The MPs also called on the police to be given additional powers to breath test drivers in the course of a designated drink-drive enforcement operation. Currently, police may stop any vehicle but can only test the driver’s breath if there is an element of suspicion.
The MPs views came from an inquiry it conducted into the findings of the report of drink and drug driving law prepared for the Government by Sir Peter North.
One of his recommendations was a lowering of the legal limit to 50mg.
The report said: “While we agree that medical and statistical evidence supports a reduction in the current drink drive limit of 80mg, we note that currently 2% of drivers killed in road accidents have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 50mg and 80mg, while 18% have a BAC greater than 80mg.
“We are concerned that a reduction in the limit to 50mg would send out a mixed message with the Government’s official advice to not drink and drive at all, particularly in light of the strong evidence of public uncertainty about what constitutes a ‘legal drink’.”