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50mg Drink Drive Limit Sends Confused Message to Motorists, warns expert
19/05/2015

Proposals this week by the Police Federation to reduce drink-driving limits from 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood to 50mg in England and Wales sends a confused message to motorists.

According to road safety expert Graham Hurdle, who is managing director of online driver training specialists E-Training World, the 50mg message simply tempts drivers to have a drink and doesn’t tackle the problem severely enough.

“Road safety charity, Brake, has called for a 20mg limit, which is effectively ‘zero tolerance’,” said Hurdle. “I agree with them that we should be dealing with the matter once and for all and sending a clear message to all motorists that you must never drink and drive.

“When smoking was banned from public places, the rule wasn’t that you could have half a cigarette, or only smoke low strength tobacco. There was a complete ban, giving clarity to everyone, and I fail to see why we are pussy footing around with the drink driving issue and not making it crystal clear that if you have a drink you must not drive.

“If you imagine the scenario of someone who drives to a pub currently and has a pint under the 80mg law, that same person will now be wondering whether they can ‘risk’ having the same pint under the 50mg law.

“Why are we placing that indecision and risk-taking in people’s minds? If the law is made clear that any amount of alcohol takes you over the limit, then law-abiding drivers will know they cannot have a drink, without any need for chancing it or making a decision over whether to drink or not.”

Hurdle also believes that the Government should be doing far more to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, and that the fall in convictions in Scotland has had as much to do with the publicity that surrounded it’s implementation as it did with the law itself being changed.

“By adopting a different approach to England and Wales, Scotland put itself on the map. As a result, there was a lot of publicity regarding its changes and from the outset it was made clear that the Scottish police would be actively enforcing it.

“The track record in England and Wales has been less than impressive when it comes to large scale Government campaigns on this topic, and I fear that by simply aligning ourselves with Scotland won’t enjoy the same level of interest and could slide past a lot of people unnoticed.

“A 20mg law would, however, put England and Wales on the map globally and the resultant publicity could finally help to change people’s attitudes and behaviours once and for all.”

Source: E-Training World Ltd