Over 70% of motorists 'support lower drink-drive limit'

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The Independent Online

More than 70% of motorists would support a lowering of the legal drink-drive limit, according to a survey today.

And 92% would like to see a new anti drug-drive law introduced, the poll by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line found.

As many as 71% of the 800 drivers polled agreed the current drink-drive limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood should be cut.

More than half (55%) said the limit should be 20mg or lower, while 16% favoured a 50mg limit which is the figure in operation in a number of EU countries.

The poll also found 92% would like to see a drug-drive law similar to that used for drink-driving.

The results come ahead of a soon-to-be-published, Whitehall-commissioned report on drink-diving and drug-driving.

Brake deputy chief executive Cathy Keeler said today: "It's time for bold action by policymakers to demonstrate they are listening to public concerns on drink and drug-driving."

She went on: "Our drink-drive limit and drug-drive laws are hopelessly out-of-touch with public opinion and the weight of evidence showing just how dangerous it is to mix drink or drugs - or both - with driving.

"We desperately need a solid legal foundation for the clear messages of the Government's THINK! road safety campaign: don't drink any amount of alcohol and drive; don't take any impairing drugs (whether legal or illegal) and drive. The message is: Not a Drop, Not a Drag."

Andy Goldby, director of motor underwriting at Direct Line Insurance, said: "Drink or drug driving is one of the most serious crimes a driver can commit and one that needs to be tackled with real conviction.

"If we are to make any headway into achieving our goal of the safest roads in the world, we need to ensure that the right laws, limits and learning are in place here in the UK."

RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink said: "Our report last year found that 85% of UK motorists wanted more information on limits and units of alcohol. Reducing the drink-drive limit to 50mg would make it clear that any more than one pint of beer or glass of wine is likely to put you over the limit.

"Drink-driving ruins lives and has rightly become socially unacceptable over the last two decades. So it's a huge concern that the number of people killed in drink-driving related incidents went up 5% in 2008. We need to make sure that this is a one-off blip and not the start of an unacceptable trend."

He went on: "If the limit is reduced it's crucial that it is properly policed as a policy without enforcement is ultimately just a piece of paper.

"We have recently seen some high-profile campaigns on drug-driving. However, with almost 10% of 17-24 year olds and more than 20% of 25-34 year olds admitting to driving under the influence of a class B drug, clearly more still needs to be done to raise awareness.

"Greater education is needed on the effect of drug-driving, with 12% of young drivers believing that a motorist might be fit to drive after taking class B drugs such as cannabis or amphetamines.

"Roadside testing equipment must also be introduced as soon as possible to aid the police in enforcing the law."

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