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Driving under Influence

Department for Transport written question – answered on 3rd November 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Shadow Spokesperson (Equalities and Women's Issues), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have reviewed (1) the drink driving limits across Europe, and (2) the proposed changes to the limit in Malta; and what assessment they have made of the limit in England and Wales in the light of those limits.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Our assessment of Home Office figures on breath tests is that the proportion of drivers providing a positive or refused to provide a sample over recent years has remained constant, with only a slight rise in 2014 to 11% compared to 10.5% in 2013. By contrast, it was 20% in 2003.

With Malta due to change their drink drive limit, all other European countries will have a lower alcohol limit, but they do not necessarily have a better record on reducing drink drive casualties. The TRL Report ‘PPR 796’ prepared for the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety (PACTS) shows that Britain, rather than having a higher level of road casualties in collisions involving alcohol than other European countries, has a comparable level despite the higher limit. Harmonisation with other countries’ limits is not a reason on its own for lowering the limit.

We therefore have no plans to lower the drink drive limit in England and Wales. Our approach in tackling drink driving is through rigorous enforcement, tough penalties, and changing the social acceptability of drink driving – including through our award-winning THINK! campaigns.

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