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Crime: Drink Driving

Volume 706: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they made of the effects of lowering the drink-drive limit when they published their consultation paper Combating Drink Driving: Next Steps in 1998. [HL344]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to assess the number of drivers with blood alcohol content of between 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres and 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres; and when any results will be published. [HL345]

The consultation paper, Combating Drink Driving: Next Steps, published in 1998, includes at Annex 2 an estimate of the effect on road casualties of amending the legal limit, including an explanation of the assumptions and exceptions it made. I explained in the House on 11 December (Official Report, col. 483) why we consider that additional information is required to make an appropriate assessment. Our consultation document, Road Safety Compliance Consultation, published on 20 November, summarises at paragraph 3.60 the various measures we are taking to gather additional evidence. It says that our intention is to review the new evidence in the course of finalising our road safety strategy beyond 2010.

The main elements of new work we have in hand are:

analysis of data from new digital screening equipment, including new information on the involvement in accidents of drivers below the present limit;

a drink-drive prevalence survey; and

other quantitative and qualitative research to paint a clearer picture of those who do drink and drive, and the circumstances in which they do so.

The consultation document also invites those consulted to contribute additional evidence they have, or which they think should be considered.