Drink and drug driving law - Transport Committee Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

1.  We recommend that individual police forces should be consulted to assess the respective cost-benefit implications of more effectively enforcing the current drink drive limit against any proposed reduction. (Paragraph 36)

2.  In the long term, the Government should aim for an "effectively zero" limit of 20mg/100ml but we acknowledge that this is too great a step at this stage. (Paragraph 38)

3.  We believe that any reduction in the legal drink drive limit should only occur after an extensive Government education campaign, run in conjunction with the pub, restaurant and hospitality industries, about drink strengths and their effect on the body. In doing so, the Government should look to learn from experiences in other countries which have successfully implemented a reduction in the drink drive limit to either 50mg/100ml or 20mg/100ml. (Paragraph 39)

4.  The success of Great Britain's drink driving policy has been largely attributable to the deterrent effect of the current 12-month mandatory disqualification penalty and we believe that it should remain even after a reduction in the legal BAC limit. (Paragraph 41)

5.  Effective police enforcement is equally as important to deter drink driving as the level of the legal blood alcohol limit. Enforcement of drink drive law in Great Britain must be much more visible, frequent, sustained and well-publicised. (Paragraph 50)

6.   The Government should amend the Road Traffic Act 1988 to give police an additional power to enable preliminary breath tests to be required and administered in the course of a designated drink drive enforcement operation. (Paragraph 54)

7.  Drug driving is as important an issue as drink driving, given the risks involved to other road users, the relative lack of public awareness and the current lack of adequate police enforcement. The Government should aim to improve the detection of drug driving so that it is as important a road safety priority as combating drink driving. We recommend that the Government develop a five-year strategy for tackling drug driving. (Paragraph 69)

8.  Improving public awareness about the likelihood of being caught by the police is essential in order to deter people from driving under the influence of drugs. A high-profile drug driving advertising and information campaign should be central to a five-year strategy. This should highlight the consequences of being caught and convicted for this crime. The campaign should also inform the public about the significant safety risks that a driver impaired on drugs poses to themself and others. (Paragraph 70)

9.  It is unfortunate that a drug screening device has not been type-approved seven years after police were granted the legal power to use them. However, we welcome the Government's commitment to install drug screening devices in every police station by 2012. We will monitor progress to ensure the Government meets its target so that no further time is lost. (Paragraph 84)

10.  Drug screening devices for use at the police station should only be an interim measure. The Government's aim for the medium-term should be to develop and type-approve a drug screening device for use at the roadside, drawing on experience in other parts of the world in developing such devices. (Paragraph 85)

11.  On balance we favour the adoption of a "zero-tolerance" offence for illegal drugs which are known to impair driving, which are widely misused, including among drivers, and which represent a substantial part of the drug driving problem. As with alcohol, "zero-tolerance" would not necessarily mean the detection of drugs in the bloodstream. An appropriate quantity would need to be detected in order to rule out, for example, passive inhalation. (Paragraph 98)

12.  If a new offence is created, the Government should retain the current impairment offence to cover other drugs that impair driving ability, such as medicines and 'legal highs'. (Paragraph 99)

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2010
Prepared 2 December 2010