Drink Driving and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety


This afternoon I attended a meeting of PACTS (the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety), of which I am a member. These are always well-attended meetings, although I was one of only two MPs at the meeting.
I have always argued that we should reduce the drink drive limit from 80mg to 50mg, and after a long campaign in Parliament, the Government changed its view. I have always suspected that this was due to a change of Ministerial personnel, as the former Minister Stephen Ladyman had been a staunch defender of the 80mg limit.
Sir Peter North has been placed in charge of reviewing drink and drug driving and he had met with PACTS on 27th January. One of the issues for discussion was the penalty for drink driving between the 50 and 80mg limit, and whether there should be a variable penalty regime.
I argued in the meeting that it would be a mistake to have lower penalties for those caught driving between 50-80mg. In my view, one of the reasons why we have managed to reduce the levels of drink-driving is because of the guarantee that a person would lose their license. Under no circumstances should we send out any message that might be misinterpreted as suggesting that being slightly over the limit is less serious than being significantly over the limit. Any drink-driving conviction should result in being banned from driving.

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