Northern Ireland's environment minister has outlined his proposals to change the drink-driving laws.Alex Attwood says he wants to cut the blood alcohol limit from the current level of 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml. There would be another, lower, limit of 20mg/100ml for young drivers and people who earn their living from driving. Mr Attwood also wants to give police powers to randomly stop drivers without the need for reasonable suspicion. He also proposes, in certain circumstances, removing drivers' right to opt for a blood or urine sample instead of a breath test.
Other plans include:
- A new graduated penalty regime that will allow for fixed penalties for first offences at lower limits and court prosecution for high level first offences or any second or subsequent offences
- Automatic referral of offenders to an approved drink-drive rehabilitation scheme.
He also said "I would like to see a 20mg limit across the
and we have got evidence that the majority of drivers would actually support that tougher stance. ” UK
The minister said that while much progress had been made towards eliminating a drink-drive culture, more work needed to be done. He said that over the past five years, 75 people had been killed and 463 seriously injured by drivers impaired on drink or drugs. "This is totally unacceptable and I am determined to do what I can to tackle this issue once and for all," Mr Attwood added.
"I have listened to the public on this. There is widespread public support for a step change in how we deal with drink drivers and I believe that what I am proposing will make a real difference."
Having read his speech it contains a number of assumptions, half-truths and miss-use of statistics. he also shows disregard for the decisions of the government.
Firstly, where is the evidence that drivers support a lowering of the drink -drive limit? I've never met anyone who's mooted this idea.
Why remove the right to a urine or blood test? The breathalyser is notoriously innacurate.
"I've listened to the public on this." The public may quite rightly want to see drink drivers caught, but that doesn't mean they want to criminalise many thousands more drivers.
"Over the past five years 75 people had been killed and 463 seriously injured by drivers impaired on drink or drugs. Note my highlighting. I'm not by any means saying that deaths on the roads are anything but a tragedy. But from the figures some of the deaths were due to drug use and he doesn't say how many of the deaths were casued my drivers with between less than the existing 80mg but more than the proposed 50mg limit in their blood if indeed such statistics exist. Also, some of the deaths may have had nothing to do with drink and were caused by bad drivers who are a menace sober or drunk.
"I would like to see a 20mg limit across the
Of course. once this law takes hold in Northern Ireland, the pressure will be on for rest of the U.K. to follow and there will be thousands of innocent and safe drinkers prosecuted because they had a few drinks the night before and the current rate of pub closures will become a landslide.
Just to conclude I am firmy against drink driving and always walk or use public transport when drinking. But this development really threatens all responsible drinkers and would be a further nail in the pub trade.