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Last Updated:  Monday, 10 March, 2003, 14:50 GMT
MP wants lower drink driving limit
Don Foster MP
Mr Foster has tabled amendments to the Rail and Transport Bill
A Somerset MP has called for the drink driving limit to be reduced in line with much of Europe.

Don Foster, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, says the alcohol/blood limit should be cut from 80 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams (mg).

He has tabled amendments to the Railway and Transport Safety Bill to this effect.

Mr Foster, Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary, argues that the government's failure to cut the limit - promised before the 1997 election - is due to pressure from the alcohol industry.

The vast majority of people killed through drink driving accidents are way over the legal limit
Andrew Howard
AA head of road safety

"The UK, Ireland and Luxembourg are alone in the EU in sticking to the current limit.

"All other countries have reduced their limits to 50mg - with Sweden even lower at 20mg.

"The Department for Transport has failed to act despite acknowledging that drivers with blood alcohol levels of between 80mg and 50mg are a significant - but largely hidden - cause of accidents responsible for around 80 deaths a year," he said.

In March last year when the government rejected pressure to lower the limit, it said it preferred to "maintain the emphasis on enforcement and education through publicity".

'Disqualified'

Andrew Howard, the AA's head of road safety, told BBC News Online the proposal was part of "a long-running chestnut" and said it was a complex issue.

"Seventy five per cent of people support the reduction. But when you get them thinking, this support can fall away.

"The vast majority of people killed through drink driving accidents are way over the legal limit.

"And unlike in other countries, you are disqualified in the UK if you break the legal limit."

The amendment is due for debate on Tuesday 11 March.




SEE ALSO:
BMA seeks drink limit cut
17 Dec 02 |  Scotland


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