Police Commissioner backs calls to lower drink-driving limit

Vera Baird is backing calls to bring the drink-drive limit in line with Scotland's.
Vera Baird is backing calls to bring the drink-drive limit in line with Scotland's.
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Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has today backed calls to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales.

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, is calling for the legal limit to be reduced from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

I would absolutely welcome a change in the law to lower the legal drink-drive limit, and wholeheartedly back the calls for this to happen.

Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

This would put England and Wales in line with Scotland, where changes were introduced in December 2014.

The call for the cut is being made at the Federation’s annual conference in Brighton, where how to stop women drink-driving is a topic of debate.

It follows figures which show the number of men caught drink-driving in the last 10 years has halved, while female levels stayed the same.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird made her stance on the debate clear.

She said: “I would absolutely welcome a change in the law to lower the legal drink-drive limit, and wholeheartedly back the calls for this to happen.

“I ensure our officers in Northumbria promote the message to not drive after consuming any amount of alcohol.

“These changes would hopefully discourage people from having a drink at all, as even a small amount could put them over the legal limit to drive - and it’s just not worth it.

“Those who drink and drive show a blatant disregard for not only their own safety, but the safety of other road users and pedestrians.

“Motorists should be aware that this reduced legal limit already exists in Scotland, and as Northumbria is the most northerly force, someone who is legally allowed behind the wheel of a car in England faces arrest if they cross the border and are tested by Police Scotland.

“Bringing England and Wales in line with Scotland would bring uniformity in the legal limit and minimise any confusion amongst drivers on how much they can legally drink before driving.

“Northumbria Police works hard to keep the roads safe and is committed to doing so through the Operation Dragoon campaign, which focuses on all aspects of road safety, including targeting drink drivers.”

Commissioner Baird has previously urged the Government to get tough on motorists caught for a second time using a mobile phone at the wheel and ban them from the roads.

She added: “It’s time to put equally strong penalties in place for those caught using a phone whilst driving as drink-driving.

“I want the courts to have stronger sentencing available to them – whether it is drink-driving or using a mobile the consequences can be horrific, often with innocent people being killed.”