It was perhaps inevitable that when Scotland reduced its drink driving limit last year that many people would suggest that England and Wales should follow suit.

Now may be the time for a more serious consideration of such a possibility as the Police Federation, a police body that represents rank-and-file officers, wants the limit lowered from the current 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood to 50mg.

Road Safety for England and Wales

Victoria Martin, a chief inspector working at the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) said: “We would like to see road safety back on the national and local agenda.”

She suggested that the lower limit would bring England and Wales in line with other European countries as well as Scotland adding that it “saw a marked reduction in failed breathalyser tests as soon as the law was changed last year.”

The group also made distinct observations of the differences in drink driving trends between men and women. Figures from Social Research Associates showed that nearly one in six women who responded to a survey last year admitted to driving when they thought they were over the limit, while many were unaware how much alcohol would put them over the threshold.

Ms Martin said: “We’ve seen a steep decline in men drink-driving over the years, with targeted advertising campaigns, which is great, but women don’t seem to be getting the same message.”

She added: “It seems we have a worrying trend, with females still flouting the drink-drive limit, sometimes scarily unaware, putting themselves and others in danger as well as adding to the drain on police resources.”

High Risk Offenders

The Department for Transport said tackling drink-driving is its priority and that it had “strengthened enforcement by removing the automatic right for drivers who fail a breathalyser test to demand a blood or urine test. This has denied people the chance to sober up while waiting for the test to be taken.

“High risk offenders are now also required to prove they are no longer alcohol-dependent before being allowed to drive.”

It seems most probable that the drink drive limit will be reduced from its current cut-off with pressure mounting from various groups and authorities. The real questions are whether or not it will be brought down to the police federation’s specified level, to coincide with Scotland’s limit, and when the reduction will be made.

Another way of reducing the possibility of people attempting to drink drive may be to introduce breathalyser-activated ignition-systems in cars, only allowing a vehicle to be started up when the driver can provide a breath sample below a certain limit (link). This may seem like a simpler solution rather than changing legislation (or it may even compliment it), however determining how the technology can be best used may need some serious input from policy makers, car manufacturers and the public so this is another time dependant issue.