Drivers want a zero tolerance drink-drive limit

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 11:00
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46% want to see the drink-drive limit reduced to zero

Road users want immediate bans for those with only a single drink in their system

Despite the relative success of Christmas and New Year drink-drive campaigns, British drivers want to see even tighter limits and more severe punishments. A poll conducted for a UK-based car leasing company found that many are now favouring a zero tolerance solution, where even a single alcoholic drink could disqualify a driver.

With the current limit set at 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath in England, drivers want to see the limit reduced to at least 22 micrograms to match new Scottish limits, or even bring it down to zero, according to

In their survey, asked 3891 drivers in England and Wales for their opinions on drink-drive limits, and found:

  • 23% wanted the limit to stay as it is
  • 31% want the limit to be reduced to match the lower Scottish threshold
  • 46% want to see the drink-drive limit reduced to zero

Police forces in England and Wales say that – in general – the number of drivers caught drinking and driving fell over the Christmas period. In the West Midlands, for example, 225 failed a breath test or did not provide a specimen, down from 363 during the same period in 2013

Despite the fall in numbers, around one-in-ten people breathalysed were still over the limit and drivers need a harsh reminder of the realities of driving with alcohol, says That’s why drivers support harsher limits and tougher punishments:

  • 5% thought punishments for drink-drivers were too harsh
  • 31% thought punishments for drink-drivers were about right
  • 66% thought courts should be able to impose more serious punishments on drink-drivers

In fact, several of those questioned thought that drivers over a certain reading, or those who are repeat offenders, should face an immediate custodial sentence.
One driver told
“I’ve seen the damage one drink-driver can do to families and communities. We’ve got to stop these people getting behind the wheel.”

Another owned up to having been convicted of drink-driving: “I haven’t touched a drop for years, and it was the shame of the court case that did it for me. Zero tolerance is the only answer, because looking back, I could have been a killer.”

A third driver backed prison sentences for repeat offenders: “Life driving bans and prison terms need to be imposed on the most serious cases. As far as I’m concerned, a car is a weapon in the hands of a drunk, and even a single drink should be a fail.”