Drink-driving limit could be cut by a third in England and Wales, ministers say

Transport minister Andrew Jones suggested the limit could be lowered to match Scotland - but a government spokesman says they have 'no plans' to change the rules

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The Independent Online

The drink-driving limit in England and Wales could be slashed by a third - making it illegal to drive after just one pint of beer or a glass of wine, a transport minister has suggested. 

Transport minister Andrew Jones has suggested Westminster could follow the example of Scotland which lowered the limit from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg in 2014.

The proposed limit would be equivalent to a pint of beer or a large glass of wine for men and half a pint or a small glass for women. 

In response to a parliamentary question Mr Jones said he will meet with his Scottish counterpart to discuss the impact of the proposed change. 

He said: "I am intending to discuss with the Scottish Minister about the experience of the lower limit in Scotland and about the timescales to get access to robust evidence of the road safety impact.

"It is important to base our decisions on evidence and the Scottish experience will be crucial to that before we consider any possible changes to the limits in England and Wales.

"This Government's current position however remains to focus resources on enforcing against the most serious offenders."

But a spokesman for the Department of Transport said the government had "no plans" to change the rules in a statement on Wednesday.

The UK government has previously rejected calls by road safety campaigners and health experts to lower the limit south of the border saying it "strikes an important balance between safety and personal freedom". 

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said that the Government is "right to remain open minded" about the possibility of lowering the limit.

He said: "It would be a poor argument to say cut the drink-drive limit just because others have done it, but there is now plenty of data to suggest a change would have a marked improvement in road safety terms.

"Our own research estimates a cut in the limit could save around 25 lives annually."

Mr Gooding said although the number of people killed due to drink-driving has fallen significantly "the weight of evidence is that we could do more".

He said it should be up to people who want the limit to stay the same to "make their case" for it rather than those who want to make the change.

Additional reporting by PA