Drink driving limit- another sensible bit of law reform

“I don’t understand why England and Wales have one of the highest drink drive limits in Europe and I’ve asked the Transport Minister in the Lords to explain exactly how this doesn’t make our roads more dangerous than other people’s?


Nearly two years ago Scotland lowered its drink driving limit from our 80mg per 100ml of blood, down to 50mg. Early evidence from Police Scotland said that in the nine months after the drink drive limit was introduced, the number of offences fell by 12.5 per cent.

The Government argue that very few of the serious collisions and deaths that are alcohol related involve drivers who have had the extra half glass of beer or wine that would see them tip over the Scottish 50mg limit. However, this misses the real lesson from the successful campaign to change the drunk driving culture of 1970s Britain.  Action by the government to change behaviour has always involved a mix of legal enforcement and education. The real success of the Scottish change in the law was that there is also evidence it has changed social attitudes. In December last year (2015) a survey suggested that 82 per cent of Scots now believe that drinking any alcohol before driving is unacceptable.

The Government has mumbled about not wanting a Nanny State, not wanting to stop people drinking. I don’t want to stop people drinking but I do want to stop them driving afterwards. That’s not the Nanny State, that’s about common sense; not killing and injuring other road users. Let’s hope the Government sees sense too.”


  • Drink driving led to 240 fatalities and 1,080 serious injuries in 2014
  • An analysis by the RAC Foundation said that lowering the limit (from 80 to 50 mg) would have saved 25 lives last year and prevented 95 people being seriously injured.
  • Many European countries have an even lower limit, which amounts to a near ban on alcohol.