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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2007, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Glass of wine driving limit plans
Breathalyser
Almost 1,000 people have been apprehended this year in NI
Lower drink-driving limits could soon be introduced across Ireland, in line with most European countries.

In both jurisdictions, it is currently 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

However, Stormont Environment Minister Arlene Foster has told the assembly her department is looking at bringing in a lower limit.

In Dublin, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is expected to announce measures putting drivers who drink a half pint of strong beer or glass of wine at risk of a ban.

The new 50mg/100ml limit would come into effect in the Republic of Ireland early next year.

EUROPEAN DRINK DRIVE LIMITS (Grams of alcohol per litre of blood)
0.8g = UK, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta
0.5g = Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany Greece, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain
0.4g = Lithuania
0.2g = Norway, Poland, Sweden
Zero tolerance = Estonia, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary
Source: European Road Safety Observatory
In Poland, Sweden and Norway the maximum limit is 20mg.

In 2002, the British government ruled out reducing the limit, saying it preferred to concentrate on education and enforcement of the current 80mg limit.

However, a consultation is under way on whether it should be reduced, and the Scottish executive is also considering similar plans.

Last year almost 1,500 motorists were caught drink-driving on Northern Ireland's roads. Almost 1,000 people have been apprehended so far this year.

Exceeding the limit is punishable by a mandatory minimum one-year driving disqualification, plus a fine of up to 5,000.

It also carries a possible maximum prison sentence of six months.

SEE ALSO
NI drink drive limit 'may be cut'
22 Oct 07 |  Northern Ireland
Drink drive limit cut considered
16 Sep 07 |  Scotland

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