In Brief

Road safety minister: 'no plans to change the drink-drive limit'

Government denies reports England and Wales were considering cutting alcohol limit to follow Scotland

The government has dismissed reports that the drink-drive limits in England and Wales could be cut by almost a third.

Road safety minister Andrew Jones has said there is "no review" and "no plans to change the drink-drive limit".

Writing in reply to a parliamentary question on the subject earlier this week, Jones said he would be discussing the impact of a reduction with ministers in Scotland, where the legal limit was cut in 2014.

"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," he said.

The statement prompted speculation that politicians were considering following Scotland's hard-line stance.

However, Jones has since clarified that there were no plans to change the limit.

"The government believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink-driving limit," he said today.

"Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world because we crack down on those who break the law. The government believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink-driving limit."

Since December 2014, the legal limit for drivers in Scotland is a blood-alcohol content of 0.05 per cent – roughly equivalent to a pint of beer or a large glass of wine for a man, or a half-pint of beer or a small glass of wine for a woman. In England and Wales, the legal limit is currently 0.08 per cent.

In the first nine months after the change of law in Scotland, police saw a 12.5 per cent fall in drink-driving offences.

England and Wales's current limit is also used in the US, Canada and New Zealand, but is still at the higher end of the scale globally. The majority of countries, including most of Europe, set the cut-off at 0.05 per cent or lower.

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