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Should drink driving be banned?

08:49 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Ministers have been urged to cut the drink-drive limit by nearly half in a government-commissioned report. What do you think?

The review, commissioned by the previous government, suggests cutting the current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg. Combined with the current mandatory 12-month ban, this would give the UK one of the toughest regimes in Europe.

However, a limit set at the new proposed level would still allow most people to have a single drink before driving and the police argue that any amount of alcohol can affect a person's ability to drive. They suggest simply not drinking.

How should drink driving be tackled? Do you drink within the limits or abstain completely before driving? Would you welcome a zero tolerance approach?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    > Would you welcome a zero tolerance approach?

    No - I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance.

  • Comment number 2.

    The law should be if you want to drive a car you cannot drink alcohol.

    People have different tolerance levels to alcohol therefore drinking and driving should be totally banned. Driving a car whilst sober demands your full attention and alcohol diminishes reaction time.

    The law needs to be tightened up in an attempt to deal with the people who think they can drive under the influence.

  • Comment number 3.

    In real terms the present limits will prevent you from having a pint of average strength beer, so I don't really see the need.

    But then if I'm driving I don't drink anyway.

  • Comment number 4.

    This will just penalise people who have only had one drink - it will do nothing to prevent the worst drink drivers who have had 10 pints.

    We need a stepped penalty system where 50-80mg is points/fine and >80mg is a ban. Otherwise, we ban people for a very marginal risk and then have more drivers without insurance, and more people turning to crime because they lost their jobs.

    Let's face it. Drink driving is not the biggest problems on the roads - clueless idiots are!

  • Comment number 5.

    Lowering the limit to 50mg would NOT "give Britain one of the toughest regimes in Europe". Get your facts straight BBC - it would in fact simply bring it into line with the de facto standard elsewhere in Europe, from being one of the most lax - along with Ireland, who are also planning to change to 50mg.

    These figures are available in the article itself. There are even some countries which have a 0mg limit.

    I agree with lowering the limit to 50mg. There is good evidence that a person's judgement is significantly affected between 50 and 80mg, and having it as high as 80 simply encourages people to believe that a having couple of drinks is safe.

    I don't agree with reducing it to zero - that means that anyone with even the slightest trace of alcohol, well below the level it could possibly affect them, could be found guilty. How do you define 'not drinking at all before driving'? Not drinking the same day? Not drinking the evening before? Not drinking more than one unit of alcohol in whatever time period you choose? If you're going to set a limit like that it needs to be defined properly.

  • Comment number 6.

    return to eh old licencing houra all pubs and bars closing wy 10,30 pm and make sure super stores and the rest do the same by isolating the liceneced drinks from the rest of the store so to put temptation out of reach ,

  • Comment number 7.

    Yes, and anyone caught drink driving should lose their license for life.

  • Comment number 8.

    "This will make a lot more money for the goverment, in the short term and put many more pubs and clubs out of business.But people who drink and drive now seem much fewer? Not that many cars, in pub car parks today, How about drugs and driving? that would bring a great deal of money in many citys.

  • Comment number 9.

    With a total ban we need to be careful about 'the morning after effect' - this could result in thousands of people being banned for having minimal alcohol in their bloodstream the morning after drinking.

    I don't disagree with the idea of not drinking at all if you're driving, but I think a far bigger problem is driving with no insurance is for more common problem than drink driving nowadays.

  • Comment number 10.

    150 lives per year could be saved by introducing a mandatory driving test for push bikes. Or ensuring all road users get their eyes tested at least once a decade. But we don’t because in a population of 6 million the inconvenience to the many is, correctly, considered to outweigh the risk to the few.

    ... and of course most of the 150 lives saved will be the people who had been drinking. There a very few drink driving 'victims'. Most just hit a tree and injure only themself.

  • Comment number 11.

    Yes, all drink driving should be banned. The alcohol limit should take into consideration small amount of alcohol found in other medicines or foods. Although, this will send out the message that anyone who consumes alcohol, even a small bit, will be prosecuted under the law.

    Want to drive? Don't drink. Want to drink? Take public transport, or find alternative arrangements.

  • Comment number 12.

    This is a difficult one because if you have been affected by drink driving then you would support a total ban. A total ban certainly would not work only if the police are sitting at the entrance of pub car parks breathalysing every driver as they leave.

    Then is the zero tolerance approach really something so high priority and a concern of society that it requires so much effect, money and resources? Should we not have a zero tolerance for many other things in our society?

  • Comment number 13.

    when i lived in Germany there was a NO alcohol policy and you weren't even allowed to smell of the stuff.
    Instead of lowering the limit, which people will still ignore. Make it the same as Germany.

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't know why you'd drink if you knew you had to drive. Sorry.

  • Comment number 15.

    I don't understand the logic behind some of the calls to lower the limit. Several relatives of victims have been on the BBC saying 'my loved one was killed by someone 4 times over the limit so we need to lower the limit'.

    It makes no sense at all. If you halve the limit then their relatives would have been killed by someone 8 times over the limit. 4 times over our current limit is REALLY drunk. Its not a case of someone slightly misjudging what they've drunk.

    More significantly 50mg of alcohol is about the French limit but in France driving at this level is punished with a small fine and points, not potentially a year in jail.

    Incidentally I have NEVER driven after drinking... not even half a pint but I object to this proposal as it will heavily punish basically safe, responsible drivers who are posing relatively little risk to the public while doing nothing to stop those who drive while really drunk, on drugs or in uninsured or un-MOTd vehicles. As a hayfever sufferer I'd suggest that I'm probably more impaired while (legally) driving after taking antihistamine or sneezing my head off than if I'd drunk half a pint of lager. I'd strongly suggest that someone quite legally driving with full on influenza is even more dangerous than a drunk but again that is quite legal.

    After all how many people have been killed by sober truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel this year because of sleep apneia? There's no breathalyser test for lack of sleep.

  • Comment number 16.

    A law should only be brought in to stop a person causing injury to another, not to penalise a persons freedom. Drink driving affects others because they often come off the worst from a drink driver. I know there are a lot of people who can handle a drink and then drive yet I also know people who fall over after 1 drink (lightweights)!

    Personally I prefer to drink at home but then I am a fan of the spirits and its a lot cheaper buying the bottle. Yet I am upset that many pubs are closing and hope we dont have a situation where the local pub is too far for people to wander out for a drink.

    If drinking and driving is to be ruled out I would expect the smoking ban on pubs to be reviewed to allow them to choose their own policy (smoking or non-smoking pub) which will keep more british pubs open.

    I would also like all the speed limits revisiting as well as the signpost issue britain currently suffers. The speed limits are being lowered everywhere, especially where its not needed. So many good roads being restricted without reason unless your from the cotton wool brigade. Signposts are added to roads but never removed. Driving around some areas is insane and requires a sat nav just so you can get some clear instructions.

    Around here there are many road signs which are less than unnecessary and there are some which fail to tell you what you need to know.

    So if such a change is to be made I would like other useless aspects of interference to be revised and in some cases reversed

  • Comment number 17.

    1. At 09:39am on 16 Jun 2010, Jacques Cartier wrote:

    > Would you welcome a zero tolerance approach?

    No - I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance.


    Perfect opening comment! Recomended

  • Comment number 18.

    Absolutely. Anyone who drives should give up drinking, after all its ok to tell smokers to give up so no problem there. Oh no, wait, what's that I hear? The roar of double standards approaching........

  • Comment number 19.

    I agree with the police, even a small amount of alcohol can have an effect on a person’s ability to drive safely. Let’s not forget that a car is a dangerous piece of machinery and if used in the wrong hands can cause death and destruction.

    I also often disappointed at the people who come out with remark such as "alcohol doesn't affect me, I can handle my drink". That's not the point, get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence and you're putting other people lives at risk!


  • Comment number 20.

    The problem with banning altogether is that 'false positive' results from trace alcohol (which could be got from food or sources other than alcoholic drinks) would then result in a conviction. This would be a nightmare for the legal system. It makes sense to keep a small positive limit to remove this possibility. I think the limit should be easy to adhere to so a nice round number or something easily defined in terms of size of drinks - e.g 1/2 a pint of average strength lager (and not, say, 0.5317 of a pint of lager).

  • Comment number 21.

    Dropping the limit from 80mg to 50mg will save 150 lives a year? How many would dropping it to 0mg save? How many lives would banning alcohol altogether save?

  • Comment number 22.

    You read court cases of people who drive when they've drunk too much following arguments with their partner etc...
    You will never stop drink driving unless cars are fitted with a mechanism for a person to blow into to prove he/she is not over the limit, before the engine starts.
    Most people are responsible and I only have one drink now, if we go out.
    The fact so many pubs are closing is evidence that fewer people are going out to drink and stay at home, so they don't need to worry about drink driving laws.

  • Comment number 23.

    You've got to be a real numpty to drink and drive in the first place, so yes, ban it altogether.

  • Comment number 24.

    What i want to know is where the government have magically obtained a figure of 150 lives they say a cut in the drink drive limit would save? The limit is fine where it is, lowering the limit would not reduce accidents as the responsible will stil be responsible and the idiots will still be idiots.

  • Comment number 25.

    2. At 09:44am on 16 Jun 2010, ziggyboy wrote:
    The law should be if you want to drive a car you cannot drink alcohol.


    I'd agree in pricipal, but its worth remembering that it is quite easy to unknowingly take alcohol into your system through mouth wash, medication even inhaling freshly sprayed perfume so the limit shouldd allow for trace alcohol rather han impose an absolute zero tolerance rule.

  • Comment number 26.

    The supporting story on this issue on your own website gives information that shows that a new 50mg limit would NOT make the UK "one of the toughest regimes in Europe". It would, in fact, bring us into line with limits set in most other European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, apparently, have all adopted a 50mg limit, with the Irish Republic is "pledged to reduce to 50mg in 2010".

    So far from being the draconian police state that you would like to imply, the UK has some of the laxest drink-drive restrictions in Europe.

    That aside, there is only one sensible and responsible course of action to take when driving: don't drink.

  • Comment number 27.

    I don't support a reduction in the limit at all. We already have very strong enforcement of drink-driving law. It is enforcement, not the limit, that makes a difference, as evidenced by the UK's record in comparison with much of the rest of Europe.
    Zero tolerance is a ridiculous idea. Do we want to see people lose their licence on their way to work the next morning for having the smallest trace of alcohol in their blood? I don't.

  • Comment number 28.

    The purpose of a drink drive limit is to ensure that people do not have their driving impaired sufficiently to cause an accident (or to fail to avoid one that they could have avoided is they were stone cold sober).

    Whilst the police may argue that any alcohol impairs driving to some extent if the impairment is so minor that it makes little practical significance then I see no reason to have a limit that low.

    There is a danger that we end up in a situation where any person who drives has to abstain totally from all alcohol (do alcohol based mouth washes count?) for at least 24 hours before driving which seems impractical.

    I do not know what 50 ml limit means in practice to me. Under the current rules I have a simple system: one drink in the evening, by it a glass of wine or a pint of beer - although I usually go for a pint and a half of shandy which has less alcohol than a pint of beer. And that has to last me a couple of hours. I am always therefore under the limit by some considerable distance.

  • Comment number 29.

    Is there any evidence that alcohol levels of above 50mg but below 80mg increases the chance of having an accident? I want to see the statistics.

    What it will increase is the chance of being accidentally above the 50mg limit. Four pints of medium strength bitter or three pints of lager in the evening and washing your mouth out with certain types of dental care mouthwash the following morning could put you above the suggested new limit for the drive to work.

  • Comment number 30.

    UK has already the lowest drink driving ofences in Europe even though the limit is higher than all the other countries. However because in the other countries the limit is lower it just catches more people and they actually have a higher number of offences.

    Can I smell revenue generator?

  • Comment number 31.

    There should be the zero tolerance approach.

    What would you do if you thought your drink had been spiked or perhaps it just tasted different because of something in the water, that wasn't alcohol, but could be just as dangerous?

    Would you know the difference between solvent/detergent in a glass and cheap vodka and water?

    I doubt this would come up in an alcohol breathalyser. But would in a blood test.

    There are too many unknowns. Some of the arguments for are too grim to think about.

    Taxis should be made safer and more available.

    Education could be a great deal more available and clearer too. On recent review of a government produced pamphlet. Key facts were missing.

  • Comment number 32.

    Once again we are idiots and the nanny state knows best. Yes drunk driving causes deaths but what we have to be careful here is people who have traces of alcohol the next day who would be caught by this and that’s wrong.

    What annoys me with this is its same "tee totalling do gooders" that always know best blah blah too much salt, too much fat, too much smoking blah blah binge drinking blah blah early death.


  • Comment number 33.

    This will be the final death knell for a lot of rural pubs and restaurants.

    Few couples (the mainstay of the industry) want to go out for a meal and just drink water, and those that do won't help the industry much as restaurants make far more profit from alcohol sales than food. Taxis are expensive and can almost double the cost of the meal out.

    Coupled with this are increasingly sophisticated offerings from the supermarkets with a number of "dine in" ranges and excellent bottles of wine in the ten pounds plus bracket. People will still go out of course, but much less often, and the resulting reduction in the usual profit from alcohol sales will kill off many rural outlets.

  • Comment number 34.

    18. At 10:04am on 16 Jun 2010, Richard wrote:
    Absolutely. Anyone who drives should give up drinking, after all its ok to tell smokers to give up so no problem there. Oh no, wait, what's that I hear? The roar of double standards approaching........

    I'd get your hearing checked. Who told smokers to give up ? They are simply restricted on where they can smoke in public. Isn't it time to let it go ?

  • Comment number 35.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of variables involved drink and driving. Don't have a drink if you are driving is sound advice, but what about having a drink with a meal 4 hours before driving?
    We need to have proof that the blood/alcohol limit chosen has an observable effect on driving performance. I also suggest that a staggered penalty should apply, I have a suspicion that the majority of accidents are caused by people well over the current limit, not people who have had slightly more than is wise.

    I do not condone drink-driving, I am just aware that it is one amongst many debilitating effects on your driving - I suspect having kids in the back of the car counts as a couple of units of alcohol.

  • Comment number 36.

    Well, this should finish off what NuLabour started with the closure of the majority of pubs across the land. There is nothing wrong with most people have a couple of glasses of wine with a meal and it does not adversley affect their driving ability.

    There is nothing more irratating than the self rightous brigade banging their sad little drum about the evils of alcohol and trying to make anyone who likes to drink in moderation feel like an alcoholic on the edge of society.

    All this new proposal will do is see more sensible people loose their licence because they are found to be a couple of mgs over the limit and it won't stop those that drink to excess because they just don't care.

    The Goverenment needs to tackle the real alcohol problem and it's not about price. It's the towns and cities across the land who have given permission for bars to target youngsters and get them drunk. Stop these bars now and get to the route of the problem before you pick on the hard working sensible drinkers in society.

  • Comment number 37.

    #5, John, the UK is one of the toughest when it comes to the punishment for drink driving.

    I am more worried that if you are "marginal", you may not have the right to a blood/urine test. Breth testers maybe better than previously, but they are not as good as blood tests etc.

  • Comment number 38.

    clifford feary wrote:
    return to eh old licencing houra all pubs and bars closing wy 10,30 pm and make sure super stores and the rest do the same by isolating the liceneced drinks from the rest of the store so to put temptation out of reach ,

    But drink driving was at its peak in the 1980's! I've been out to pubs till gone 1am and I've caught the night bus home. Why should I be told my bed time to because other idiots can't behave themselves? Anyway learn to spell properly before posting comments on here please.

  • Comment number 39.

    I would say perhaps keep the limit at 80mg but anyone who is found to be over that limit then they lose their license permanently and anyone causing death through drink driving is automatically tried for manslaughter.
    I would also suggest that all new driving license applicants have to sign a declaration to the effect that they will not drive whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, who knows it might go towards making people take a bit more responsibility for their own actions.

  • Comment number 40.

    Reducing the limit to 50mg is a very good idea. However I doubt that it would actually deter more people from drink driving. What is really needed is a rigorous enforcement programme.

    Laws are useless without proper enforcement. It is illegal to use a mobile phone (unless it is hands-free) while driving, but how many drivers still use their mobile phones?

  • Comment number 41.

    Ben Essada wrote: "and of course most of the 150 lives saved will be the people who had been drinking. There a very few drink driving 'victims'. Most just hit a tree and injure only themself."

    How about this, Ben?

    Drink-driver killed six in crash

    Family demand drink drive law change after son's death

    Drunk driver who killed pensioner in hit and run jailed

    Mother's drink-drive death plea

    And those are just four found with a quick search. Perhaps you'd like to repeat your statement to the families of those victims?

  • Comment number 42.

    Driving under the influence of any drugs that alter reaction times, attention, judgement should really be banned. But alcohol is a good start.

    I've long given up drinking and driving. There was a time when I might have drunk just a little but traffic conditions these days aren't the same as they were 25 years ago.

    Just keep safe; keep other people safe - avoid the booze if you're going to drive.

  • Comment number 43.

    What about drugs, I'm sure there's hundreds of thousands of people driving on our roads daily as high as a kite, what's going to be done about them. Drinking is part of our social fabric, the original law has decimated country pubs. If you live in a town or city there's plenty of transport available to get you to and from your pub of choice. Before things are set to zero, set in place a proper transport network for country areas so those not fortunate enough to have a bus every 10 minutes can enjoy a social night out. Some people are incapable after one pint whist others are still very capable and lucid after many more, so don't put in place new laws that imprison people in their homes. What is needed is to put in place a law that punishes you properly to fit the crime, if you kill someone then you lose you license for good and a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years. People won't break laws if the deterrent is harsh and fits the gravity of the crime, we seem to have developed a society that punishes people before they've done anything wrong.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'd like it in plain language... 80mg per 100mls; 50mg in 100mls doesn't mean anything. Zero mg per 100mls is not workable; what about two pints on a Friday night then being stopped on Sunday morning; would there still be trace amounts of alcohol in your blood.

    What's needed is a 12 stone bloke can have 1 pint and still drive safely. Or half a pint or whatever it is.

  • Comment number 45.

    I agree with this proposal.

    Its very simple - if you are driving then you don't drink any alcohol.

    Also people need to remember that after a skin full they may be over the limit the next day too.

    There really are no excuses.

  • Comment number 46.

    Drinking alcohol is not a necessity. Why should someone's social life take precedence over other people's lives?

    The trouble is, we will never have a situation where any level of drink driving is considered unacceptable until we have a society that doesn't place so much importance on alcohol and doesn't consider it necessary and central to having a good time. Non-alcoholic drinks need to be seen as an equally good choice and not a punishment for people who need to drive.

  • Comment number 47.

    In Sweden the alcohol blood level is set so low that diabetics have to carry a card otherwise they would fail the breathtest. Apparently certain diabetic conditions cause the body to manufacture low levels of blood alcohol.
    The road safety position would appear to be moving towards 'if you are drive, don't drink at all'. It would certainly remove the dilemma of 'am I or aren't I, just one more won't hurt'.
    Whether the coalition adopt the proposal is another matter.

  • Comment number 48.

    At 09:49am on 16 Jun 2010, Simon Ward wrote:
    "......Let's face it. Drink driving is not the biggest problems on the roads - clueless idiots are!"
    Some people might say that a disproportionate number of those clueless idiots are the people who drink and drive.

  • Comment number 49.

    Not wishing to sound too mercenary about it but 150 deaths per year is an insignificantly small number (obviously if you are one of those 150 or a relative of them then it's significant to you but in the overall scheme of road deaths it is a small number).

    The cost of debating and enacting this legislation (don't forget, this will require the replacement or re-calibration of every breathalyser in use by the police) will be considerable and such funds would undoubtedly be more effectively spent saving lives in other ways (more police patrols actually on the roads stopping people who are driving badly despite being entirely sober, for instance).

    Reducing the permissible level to zero would be a better solution but alongside this ensure that violators can only be prosecuted for drunk driving if they also commit some other motoring offence. If they are found to have been drinking prior to committing that offence then the penalty for that offence should be doubled. Those who cause death or injury to others in such a state should have their actions regarded as pre-meditated (you chose to drink and drive, you knew the risk) so deaths would be treated as murder (not manslaughter or death by dangerous driving) and injuries as GBH and penalised appropriately.

  • Comment number 50.

    Here we go with the bleating on about how driving requires your full attention. Alas I must be unusual as I don't EVER use my full attention whilst driving. My feet and hands manage the controls instinctively without a second thought and I watch the road with out staring at it intently as so many other drives I see do.

    As to the subject, yes, to an extent, but a total ban is not feasible. As many have pointed out we all have differing tolerances to alcohol and that could lead to false positives on people that have not been drinking for 24 / 48 hours!

  • Comment number 51.

    What a lovely bunch of fascists we have on the Have your say today. Im just glad that NuLabour are no longer in power as I dont see the coalition accepting the recommendations - there are some (but very few) advantages in having a party that is financed by big business in power. We dont need a further reduction - just enforce the current levels and if we really want to reduce death on the roads the police should be at motorway junctions pulling in the idiots who cut in at the last minute. But its not about cutting road deaths - its about controlling our lives.

  • Comment number 52.

    28. At 10:18am on 16 Jun 2010, Justin150 wrote:

    I do not know what 50 ml limit means in practice to me. Under the current rules I have a simple system: one drink in the evening, by it a glass of wine or a pint of beer - although I usually go for a pint and a half of shandy which has less alcohol than a pint of beer. And that has to last me a couple of hours. I am always therefore under the limit by some considerable distance.


    You want to be careful with that. the 3 units = 3 halves of beer or lager only applies to lager or beer around 3.5% abv. A single pint of 4.5% abv will put a lot of people very close to the limit. A single pint of 'premium' lager will put most people over.

    If you don't want to risk your licence abstinence is by far the best policy.

  • Comment number 53.

    "33. At 10:20am on 16 Jun 2010, zzkevinm wrote:
    This will be the final death knell for a lot of rural pubs and restaurants."

    So true, I grew up in the country side and my parents still live there. The nearest pub is 2.5 miles away and the nearest nice one circa 5 miles away. My Dad meets his friends there every Thursday for 2 pints, noone lives near each other so they all drive and drive back safely. The change in the law would allow them only 1 pint, with the result that they will probably stop going. This is fine in towns where people can walk, get public transport or live close enough together to organise a designated driver, but it will kill some of the last remaining rural pubs.

  • Comment number 54.

    I would say leave things as they are or change to a system of graduated penalties. As for spot checks, definitely not. The police have too many powers already which they abuse. There are bigger dangers on the road like lorry drivers falling asleep.

    Many of the countries mentioned with lower limits have far better public transport. Ours is likely to get worse, especially in the evenings, with the forthcoming spending cuts.

  • Comment number 55.

    I'm all for zero tolerance for drink driving, but what about the morning after? Also, what about zero tolerance for mobiles whilst driving (I see more each day), zero tolerance for uninsured drivers, zero tolerance for eye tests for driving, zero tolerance bad driving, zero tolerance for middle lane hoggers, zero tolerance for texting messages, zero tolerance for eating whilst driving, zero tolerance for women applying make-up whilst driving, zero tolerance for men shaving whilst driving, zero tolerance for drinking a mug tea\coffee, zero tolerance for other people to ding your car and drive off, zero tolerance for other bad drivers hitting your car and driving off..... you see where I'm going with this? No? ....

  • Comment number 56.

    To those of you advocating a impractical zero alcohol limit you are taking things too far. Whats next, no passangers allowed as talking distracts the driver? No Radio as singing and listening to the radio is surely taking your attention from being 100% on driving?

    Its stupid, quite frankly the current limit is acceptable and the government should look at increasing the difficulty of the driving test if they want to reduce the number of accidents by removing poor drivers rather than take the easy ineffective target of people who enjoy a responsible level of alcohol.

  • Comment number 57.

    If anyone would like further information on this topic I recomend-

    There are lies, damn lies and statistics. Also it points out other statistical twists as well as alcohol.

  • Comment number 58.

    So, in other words, if either you or your loved-one were to be knocked down and killed by a drunk driver, that would be all right with you, would it?
    It's simple: if you want to drive, then you don't drink alcohol. If you want to drink, then you don't drive.
    I take responsibility for my own actions - why can't you?

  • Comment number 59.

    The general standard of driving in this country leaves a great deal to be desired whether the driver has had a drink or not.
    Exactly who would police this, people are still driving with mobile phones clamped to their ears, they are still driving with one hand whilst eating, drinking or sending stupid text messages, they are still driving at excess speeds in areas that have a speed limit. I see it every single day.
    Alchohol tolerence varies from person to person but this no excuse.
    Why are drivers that use the so called recreational drugs not being targetted, surely they are just as impaired as those who are over the current drink and drive limit?
    Many prescription drugs advise, 'do not drive or operate machinery' how many people ignore this?
    I have zero sympathy for any driver or motorcyclist who kills themselves are a result of having drunk too much but unfortunately so many innocent people lose their lives or are seriously injured by these irresponsible and selfish idiots.
    Even in the most responsible and experienced hands, a motorised vehicle is or can be a lethal weapon.

  • Comment number 60.

    "return to eh old licencing houra all pubs and bars closing wy 10,30 pm"

    ho ho. Is that a joke? I remember back in the seventies people used to line up pints in a row at last orders. I'll think you'll find that drink driving was a bigger problem back then.
    Scotland was even worse; for a while they had a 10pm limit!

  • Comment number 61.

    Cars can so easily become lethal projectiles. The limit should not be halved. It should be Zero.

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes. The limit should be none, so that it is perfectly clear to one and all that you cannot have even one drink and drive afterwards. I know there will always be situations where the unexpected happens, and that's for a judge to decide. But no one should ever be sitting and thinking that they could have one in the bar, or maybe two if you are at a meal etc. It should be clear and definitive and apply to everyone. As for people with 'natural levels' of alcohol in their system, then maybe, as with diabetics and those with epilepsy, then we should re think their suitability to drive.

  • Comment number 63.

    If there is good factual evidence that reducing the alcohol limit from 80Mg to 50mg per 100ml blood would make our roads safer then, yes of course, it should be introduced.

    I think a much bigger problem is that of people turning into brainless aggressive idiots when they get behind the wheel of a car; I think bad, reckless or dangerous driving, and using mobile phone while driving laws need to be more rigorously enforced

  • Comment number 64.

    Why Labour commissioned the report if they knew it would not be finished until the election?
    Was it to spend money leaving more debt to the next government and so that the next government is to have to make a decision that would be controversial whatever they decide?

  • Comment number 65.

    Ban it completely, then there would be no doubt about the amount of units being consumed.

  • Comment number 66.

    The people who need telling don't listen, and the people who listen don't need telling.

  • Comment number 67.

    Is a soldier or policeman allowed to be under the influence of alcohol while on duty, or teachers, nurses or bus drivers or train drivers.

    Alcohol is a substance that has varient effects on most people.

    A single unit can have double the negative effect on some in comparison to others.

    To mess around with a serious killer and destructor of peoples lives is just pathetic.

    We ban firearms for a single incident which results in the death of a group of people, yet the horrendous YEARLY numbers of death and carnage from alcohol on our roads is deemed less serious to not ban it totally for those who drive, I just do not see ANY inteligent reasoning behind such a situation other than to put profit and tax income before life.

    I would though suggest that local pubs should be allowed to provide a section - "public bar" in which smoking is allowed. Previously public bars were totally seperate to "saloon" areas" seperated by partitioning walls and even different entrances and consenting adults should be allowed to make a personal freedom of choice decision whether to access and use such an environment.

    As it stands currently, the UK government (taxpayers) are paying £MILLIONS in fines to the EU, because air quality in various places around the UK, especially many citys, does not meet European standards.

    Its a crazy nonsensical reality because basically each and every UK taxpayer is paying the EU because we are poisoning ourselves.

    It is MORE than a bit hypercritical of government to demand air quality standards in pubs when they themselves TOTALLY fail to comply to rules regulations to ensure acceptable air quality outside of pubs, which in itself is NO LESS harmful to children, pregnant women etc, especially in citys and which is responsible for rise in childrens breathing health problems.

  • Comment number 68.

    Looks like this government doesn't learn from experience either. Mobile phones are banned whilst driving but I always see people using them. They don't think they'll be caught. And they're mostly right. Cuting down the alcohol limit is a similar thing. If people don't think they'll be caught it won't make a shred of difference whether it's 80, 50 or Zero.

  • Comment number 69.

    This is just another example of Nanny at large.
    The current limit is working and doesn't need fixing.
    What does need fixing is Nanny.
    Nanny always wants more rules, more restrictions and more banning of other people's recreational activities.
    Currently Nanny has her underwear in a bunch over booze. Apparently, some people like it. And it's too cheap. And some people drive with harmless amounts of booze in their blood. Imagine.
    So, Nanny's on the warpath again.

  • Comment number 70.

    There are many more important issues to be addressed in this country today than this.

    But if we really need a zero tolerance approach, what about drug driving?

    Other issues that need to be addressed are old people driving, licensing of cyclists, mandatory insurance for cyclists - in fact cyclists generally!

    How many people will watch cyclists disregard a red light today? How many people will watch cyclists take to the pavement today? The answer a lot more than will see a drunk driver - but nothing is done about this menace!

  • Comment number 71.

    Drink driving WAS banned. I can remember the motion being passed in Parliament.
    Despite all the Civil Liberties Abusers groups complaining, all the MPs then went to the pub to celebrate, then they realised they couldn't get home, so all staggered back to the House of Commons and renegotiated a "Safe Limit".
    Thus effectively, giving the Civil Liberties Abuser groups something to shout victory about. Since then thousands of innocent victims have been maimed or killed by drink drivers.

  • Comment number 72.

    24. At 10:11am on 16 Jun 2010, Huntinio wrote:
    The limit is fine where it is, lowering the limit would not reduce accidents as the responsible will stil be responsible and the idiots will still be idiots.

    Whilst I totally agree with this, there should be clarification around the drink-driving limit - whether it changes or not. I would consider myself a responsible drinker but until today couldn't tell you what the drink-drive limit is and I still couldn't tell you how much I would have to drink to achieve 80/100mg alcohol in my bloodstream. There needs to be a wholesale review of alcohol regulation and a unification of terminology because we've got %abv/units/mg coming out of our ears and it is all meaningless to the layman.

  • Comment number 73.

    It won't make the slightest difference to road safety. The ten pints and drive home lot will still drive home and the rest will just get to pay for the cleanup through fines levied for getting nicked after half of lager. If it works leave it alone and find something else worth spending time and money on.

  • Comment number 74.

    I have adopted the 12 hour rule which means I do not drive a vehicle until 12 hours after my last drink. This means I am never unsure about being under or over the limit.

  • Comment number 75.

    It is a no brainer.If you drink and drive and then cause an accident which kills someone could you live with it?Its a selfish attitude to take when you hear and see that drivers continue to think that drinking is ok.
    No doubt they also feel that killing someone is also ok? Just like seat belts had opposition so does drinking and driving.Ban ALL drinking and driving and then everyone knows where they stand.After,if you drink and drive your banned for life.If you want to drink either use public transport or a taxi its that simple.

  • Comment number 76.

    If I go socially to a pub in the car, i'll have one pint and make sure its not one of the stronger ones .. therafter i'll have a coke or something

    But that pint is important ... I won't go

    All this will do is further reduce pub income

    There are plenty of other problems on the roads that can be sorted out - I was nearly run down on a pedestrian crossing last week ; driver was screaming at me - I was in the middle of the crossing when the light changed to amber so he accelerated at me. He looked foreign but worked for a large Taxi company.

    Driver education and liability for starters.

  • Comment number 77.

    Jonathan (41) wrote: "How about this, Ben?

    Drink-driver killed six in crash

    Family demand drink drive law change after son's death

    Drunk driver who killed pensioner in hit and run jailed

    Mother's drink-drive death plea

    And those are just four found with a quick search. Perhaps you'd like to repeat your statement to the families of those victims?"

    You were both missing the point here Jonathan, no reduction in drinking limit would prevent these accidents where the drivers ignore the limit anyway. There will always be deaths casued by drivers several times over the limit, this is inevitable as there will always be a selfish, ignorant and supid minority who wil drive whilst drunk.

    However this is all irrelevent to debate since we are dealing within the legal limit whereby a reduction in the limit is needless and a poor attempt to tackle dangerous driving by taking the easy ineffective target

  • Comment number 78.

    Having seen some of the driving on the streets of York on me way to and from work, I think we need to start looking at tightening the laws on driving whilst sober.
    Another way to improve road safety (as proposed a few years back by the people of Vyšehad, Prague) would be to ban all driving and make drinking compulsary. Considering the way the country is going, this might not be such a bad idea. . .

  • Comment number 79.

    I assume that this proposal will not apply to MPs and members of the House of Lords for whom there appear to be different driving regulations. Come to think of it there are many celebrities and soccer players for whom these laws will not be applied.
    Now why are people like me so cynical?

  • Comment number 80.

    Yes................Full Stop!

  • Comment number 81.

    Another legacy from the Labour Government's penalty and impediment culture which should be rejected.

    Obviously no one should drink and drive and drink related deaths are awful, but the new lower limits would mean 10,000+ people perfectly capable of driving would be caught out for being a few mgs over the limit from having one drink where they would have been under the limit and legal before.

    The existing drink drive limits are there to catch serious offenders but lowering the level would mean it would be open season for the police to persecute motorists even more with fines, with people losing heir licences, their jobs and their homes etc.

    I would imagine it would help kill off even quicker our remaining country pubs. We have a culture of drink in this country as in many countries. Do we really want to live in a country that has zero tolerance to everything. Leave us alone and leave the current effective limits intact.

  • Comment number 82.

    I am not convinced that there is a need to lower the limit. There does not appear to be proof that many accidents are caused by people between 50 and 80 mg. Most drink drive accidents are caused by people numerous times over the limit and this would still be the case where the law is changed. I've not checked the road statistics for some years now but I remember that drink driving and speeding accounted for about 6% of accidents whereas poor driving accounts for most of the remainder. Yet it's never the bad driver thats targeted. Why?, is it because it's easier to prove alcohol consumption and speeding in court.

  • Comment number 83.

    Different people take alcohol differently. Some people get tipsy or drunk after fewer drinks than other people, so it's undoubtedly safer all round not to drive if you're going to drink alcohol at all, the limit should be zero. There are seemingly innocuous everyday products (medicines, mouthwashes) that contain small traces of alcohol though, so how do you enforce a limit?

  • Comment number 84.

    I'm not an advocate of zero tolerance, BUT with zero tolerance there is no ambiguity. The current unit system is confusing, and does not take into account peoples tolerances. As an infrwquent drinker, I can be hammered on two glasses of wine, but I know people who can drink the better part of a bottle and be in a better 'state' than me after 1/2 a glass. In this respect, zero tolerance would be an easier approach as it is more bacl and white.

  • Comment number 85.

    If these people that drink and drive don't give a damn about others why should the rest of us bother if they get a 12 month ban personally I wouldn't give them a second chance. A driving licence should be a privilege not a right.

  • Comment number 86.

    Yes, a complete ban would make things very clear...and should apply to drink and drugs....

  • Comment number 87.

    Zero tolerance - yes!

    Drive = no alcolhol AT ALL
    Drink = no drive!

  • Comment number 88.

    @ 29:
    What it will increase is the chance of being accidentally above the 50mg limit. Four pints of medium strength bitter or three pints of lager in the evening and washing your mouth out with certain types of dental care mouthwash the following morning could put you above the suggested new limit for the drive to work

    Four pints of medium strength bitter or three pints of lager puts you way over the limit as it already is.

    Zero tolerance (trace levels for mouthwash etc) is the only solution when people have no idea what they're taking in.

  • Comment number 89.

    I think it's ok as it is. Most people involved in accidents are way over the limit, so reducing it makes no difference. All those examples given by #41 for example.

    And as has been pointed out, the penalties for just being caught over the limit are severe. (and rightly so).

    We also, thankfully, do have a social stigma around drink driving. Most people think it is wrong to do it. This has more affect on stopping people from drink driving than anything else.

    We should continue to educate people and work on this aspect.

    My personal feelings are that you shouldn't have anything to drink if you are driving, but I know that's not a view shared by everyone and a zero tolerance would be difficult, due to day after driving and certain products such as mouthwash, food like sherry trifle and illnesses such as diabetes etc.

  • Comment number 90.

    No 50. Robert Geake. i hope to God I never have the misfortune to encounter you on the road. If you don't use your full attention, what is the rest of it occupied with?
    Yet another arrogant male who belives he is invincible. I wouldn't mind betting your car has every safety device going and every idiot light plus in all probabilty loud blaring music or a 'satnav'
    On the subject of loud music, this is soemthing else that should be cracked down on.

  • Comment number 91.

    Alcohol is a depressant and increases one's reaction times.

  • Comment number 92.

    This is ludicrous!
    Will this stop the many people who don't care about the current limit from drinking and driving? No.
    Will this catch out sensible people who enjoy driving to a country pub for a pint? Yes.
    Target the people who have a skinfull and then drive home. It's them who cause the accidents and who don't care about the law or other people on the road.
    But leave the rest of us alone.

  • Comment number 93.

    ed_butt wrote: "So, in other words, if either you or your loved-one were to be knocked down and killed by a drunk driver, that would be all right with you, would it?
    It's simple: if you want to drive, then you don't drink alcohol. If you want to drink, then you don't drive.
    I take responsibility for my own actions - why can't you?"

    People are taking responsibility by only drinking within the accepted safety limit. There are many people like yourself taking this topic out of context. Nobody has said that driving over the limit is acceptable (i.e drunk driver). However advocating a very low limit of alcohol is not irresponsible and totally rational.

    You echo the words of many others with the statement dont drink if you want to drive but infact you should be saying "If you want to drive, ensure you do so within the law" If everyone followed this statement there would be no issue

  • Comment number 94.

    Zero tolerance is a non-starter. If I use mouthwash in the morning, I'd technically be over the limit when I start driving despite not having touched a drop. There has to be a minimum. Keep it as it is. Those who intend to drink to excess and drive won't care anyway.

  • Comment number 95.

    Plenty of contributions from the "ban everything I don't agree with" brigade, as one would expect. Wish they'd go and live somewhere else, and leave this country to those who appreciate freedom.

    Sure, drink driving creates a risk to other road users, and that's the only justification for any control at all ... other road users, not the driver who has been drinking. The risk likelihood is really quite small, but the impact could be huge (i.e. death). The scale of risk will vary with the degree of drunkeness ... a small amount of alcohol = almost no risk at all, a large amount = considerable risk.

    Bearing in mind we tolerate (and quite rightly so) people taking risks in their lives (climbing mountains, parachuting, riding motorcycles, etc., etc.), small risk should equate to small punishment, and large risk to large punishment.

    So, if you've just got a little alcohol in your system, and you therefore pose little risk, the most you should get is a modest fine and maybe a point or two on your licence. If you're falling over drunk then lock you up and throw away the key.

    Oh, and what applies to alcohol consumption should also apply to the taking of 'recreational' drugs. It won't of course, because drugs can't be measured as easily as alcohol.

  • Comment number 96.

    A person, starting on the engine, should, in the first place, think of the responsibility he/she carries out in the light of endangering the lives of pedestrians and other drivers. Really, I agree with a number of people there, that the alcohol limit for each one is uniquely individual: someone can drink a glass of beer and become drunk and for the other person this quantity does not affect any body functions. To my mind, responsibility for your own deeds and the lives of other people should go in the limelight and none governmental issues can prevent numerous accidents.

  • Comment number 97.

    This proposed reduction in the drink drive limit is just another attack by the anti alcohol anti motoring extremists.
    Does the government have actual figures for the number of people who were driving and had a crash with an alcohol level between the present limit and the proposed lower limit? What percentage of crashes has the driver been drinking compared with those who have not been drinking?
    Until these questions have been answered any proposal to reduce the alcohol limit is just pandering to extremists.

  • Comment number 98.

    I find drinking and driving causes me to spill some so i don't do it but the limit as it is, is OK.
    The main problem we have is a lack of police patroling the roads. This does not mean random testing because all that will produce is a revenue raising operation with 50 policemen at one location. The police powers to stop vehicles for moving traffic offences from a broken light to weaving all over the road are sufficient. They arev then free to breathalise any driver woh they have stopped.
    The very fact that the police want random testing means it should be denied to them.

  • Comment number 99.

    People who ignore the current limit will not change their actions in the least - its the same as trying to slow someone who drives through a 40mph zone at 80mph by changing the limit to 30mph.

    The only people this will affect are the people who drink 1-1.5 pints to stay within the limit, who will now find they are limited to half a pint. As usual the people within the law will suffer for those who ignore it.

  • Comment number 100.

    Two things:
    a) Police the current laws properly before implementing new ones. The police don't catch drunk drivers with speed cameras or seeing how fast their latest foreign sports car can be driven on the motorway. When they catch 100% of drunk drivers under the current rules then, and only then, is it worth tightening things. Besides, driving too fast in cities, towns and villages kills far more people and is common place.
    b) If you are going down this route then you need to force pubs to sell non-alcholic drinks cheaper than beer - after all a glass of coke with zero alcohol and zero duty is more expensive than the same size glass of beer is a ridiculous situation and one that is doing more damage to UK pubs than the smoking ban. If I can't go in with some friends and not get ripped off I won't go in, thus they sell nothing, worse, I will probably have a bbq or drinks at home and my friends won't go in either! Perhaps pubs could also consider free (nonalocholoic) drinks for 'designated drivers' in a group - this occurs in many countries and very very very infrequently here, despite the fact the driver usually brings some friends with them.

    In short, stop trying to punish people for responding to the situation, try changing the situation to encourage sensible behaviour - so make it possible to have a night out without drinking!


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