Drivers could soon face tighter restrictions on drinking and driving, after an independent review of the current system was announced today.
Transport secretary Lord Adonis has asked a legal expert, Sir Peter North, to review the case for lowering the drink-drive limit, as well as creating more stringent laws to tackle drug-driving.
Drink-drive limits reviewed
Current limits state that drivers must have no more than 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood. Drivers caught exceeding the limit face a mandatory 12-month driving ban.
As well as looking at the case for revising the limit, Sir Peter will advise on whether to introduce graduated penalties to fit the crime. For example, a lower limit of 50mg/100ml would attract a less severe penalty than someone with 80mg/100ml alcohol in their bloodstream.
Lord Adonis said: 'Drink-driving was involved in 430 road deaths in 2008 and research suggests that drug-driving is also a key concern for the public.'
'The challenge is to see whether changes in the law and its processes can reduce casualties,' Sir Peter said. 'The legal and practical issues are not easy to resolve but I intend to consult widely on these matters.'
Drug-driving under the microscope, too
Despite concern about the impact of driving while under the influence of drugs, police find it difficult to enforce current laws difficult because they lack equipment to reliably and quickly identify substances that may have been taken.
Sir Peter will review whether there's a case for new legislation making it an offence to drive with a specific level of a named drug in the body.
The findings are due to be published by the end of March.
• A 1.2 million Christmas campaign to prevent drink-driving has been launched by the Government.