Drink-Driving News 2006

Note: All comments are those made at the time of the news item, and may have been superseded by later events.


  • Pubs ban over the limit motorists
  • Police launch 2006 drink-driving crackdown


  • Motorists who Take Drugs Face 'Zero-tolerance' Policy


  • Ministers Dismiss Drink Limit Cut


  • Drink-Drive Alarm on 24-hour Drinking

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December 2006

  • Pubs Ban Over the Limit Motorists

    MOTORISTS in Merseyside could face a three-month ban from city centre pubs if they fail a breathalyser test. The initiative is part of the Pub Watch scheme and affects drivers caught in Liverpool city centre with excess alcohol in their system. The scheme comes into force from 18th December and has the support of Merseyside Police, said Pub Watch manager Joe Curran. Over 120 city centre pubs, clubs and bars have signed up to the scheme. Mr Curran also added: “This I believe is a first in the UK where the police and the trade are directly targeting irresponsible individuals who consume too much alcohol and then become over confident and believe they can drive a motor vehicle. It is a clear message that if you drink and drive you will be banned from the city centre pubs and clubs.”This sounds more like a publicity stunt than anything that is really going to change behaviour. If it applies solely to drivers caught in the city centre, it is unlikely to affect more than a tiny handful of people anyway. Even if someone had been drinking in the city centre, chances are that he would be caught miles away, or on the “morning after”. And will similar bans be extended to those convicted of offences such as Drunk & Disorderly? Licensees should also be mindful of the fate of turkeys who vote for an early Christmas.

  • Police Launch 2006 Drink-Driving Crackdown

    POLICE have launched their annual crackdown on drink-driving in a bid to halt a recent rise in alcohol and drug-related road deaths. Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander paid credit to the 30-year-old Think! campaign, which he said had helped make drink-driving less socially acceptable. He said: “This is a great achievement, but we will not be satisfied until we are sure everyone understands the risk of driving even after one drink. With prison sentences of up to six months for those caught over the limit, drink-driving is an unnecessary gamble to take.” The need for drivers to be responsible over the Christmas period is always worth highlighting, so it is a pity that Douglas Alexander chose to blur the message with a misleading statement. The additional risk of driving after one drink is effectively zero – somehow I doubt whether the Government will be trying to convey this to the general public.

October 2006

  • Motorists who Take Drugs Face 'Zero-tolerance' Policy

    A POLICY of "zero-tolerance" towards motorists who take drugs and drive is being considered by the Home Office. Drivers caught with traces of drugs in their bodies, even if their driving is unaffected by the illegal substances, would be punished, under the tough proposals by police chiefs. The controversial plans could mean that motorists who had taken drugs several days before they were tested will be penalised because many illegal substances, such as cannabis, remain in the blood stream for weeks. The Department for Transport has also found that almost a fifth of those killed on the roads in 2004 were driving with drugs in their system, compared with 3 per cent in 1989. Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire and spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers' on roads policing, said: "My start point is to say if you take drugs you can't drive a car. If you want to take illegal drugs, catch a bus." This is a very dubious idea. Surely to convict someone for a driving offence, the police must demonstrate impairment. It is well understood that metabolites for various drugs remain in the body long after any impairment has dissipated. This seems more like a measure to reinforce drug prohibition via the back door than anything to do with road safety.

September 2006

  • Ministers Dismiss Drink Limit Cut

    A SUGGESTION by government advisers to toughen the drink-drive limit for young adults to try to reduce road accidents has been ruled out by ministers. A blood-alcohol limit of 50mg instead of 80mg would counter "poorer driving skills" among under-25s, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said. But there were no planned changes "for young drivers or anyone else", Stephen Ladyman, the transport minister, said. "We will continue to work with the police and others to drive home the message that drinking and driving kills," he added. "We continue to believe that education, robust enforcement and tough penalties are the most effective ways of persuading people not to drink and drive." It’s good to see government ministers taking such a robust line. Clearly reducing the drink-drive limit would do nothing to reduce road casualties and would criminalise law-abiding people. Having a lower limit for younger drivers would also send an undesirable signal that once they passed a certain age it was 'safe' to drink more before driving. And what road safety credentials do the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs have anyway?

January 2006

  • Drink-Drive Alarm on 24-hour Drinking

    A MANCHESTER solicitor has said calls from alleged drink drivers went up by 30 per cent during the party season, and believes the rise could be partly due to new 24-hour licensing laws. Jeanette Miller, of the firm Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, said the company was being contacted by more people who had been stopped by the police the morning after a night out and tested positive for drink. Ms Miller said: “The increase has coincided with the new licensing laws and perhaps that, combined with the Christmas party season, is making people more likely to end up over the limit. A large proportion of people have been caught the morning after a night out. One client stopped drinking at midnight and thought he had left enough time to drive to work before eight the next day, but when he was pulled over he was still over the limit.” This is hardly surprising if people are staying in pubs and bars an hour or two longer and still believing they will be fit to drive the following morning. The answer, of course, is meaningful information from the government to help drivers keep on the right side of the law. Simply saying “have nothing to drink in the twelve hours before driving” is blatantly unrealistic and will be generally ignored. A message effectively recommending that most people should not go to the pub in the evening if working the following day is simply not credible. Unfortunately honesty is unlikely to be forthcoming, so the problem of morning-after drink-driving will continue to escalate.

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