Good news today - for once - that Transport Secretary Philip Hammond is apparently “minded” to reject the call in the North Review to reduce the UK drink-driving limit to 50mg.
A source close to Mr Hammond said: “The minister is very sceptical indeed about this idea. The majority of people who cause fatal car accidents are so far over the limit that lowering it won't make any difference.”I have to say when he initially expressed scepticism about it a couple of months ago I had my fingers crossed – but we will have to wait until the formal policy announcement before it can be regarded as absolutely certain.
This will give a lifeline to thousands of pubs outside major town centres whose licensees must have been very fearful for their survival had the proposal been implemented. But the ever-growing reluctance of responsible younger people to drive after consuming any alcohol whatsoever is likely to lead to a continued leaching of trade away from pubs in the coming years. This is despite the fact that the legal limit hasn’t changed and in fact is probably enforced less intensively now than it was in the heyday of pubs in the late Seventies.
The report quotes Carole Whittingham, of the Campaign against Drinking and Driving, whose son was killed by a drink-driver, as saying: “We are extremely disappointed. Studies have shown that reducing the limit would reduce deaths on the roads.” But it would be interesting to know the blood-alcohol level of the driver who killed her son. I would be surprised if it hadn’t been well above the current limit, and thus already thoroughly illegal. This argument is very much like advocating the reduction of a reasonable 40 mph speed limit to 30 mph because boy-racers who couldn’t care for any limit are bombing through at 80.