For newly qualified or young drivers, it could be last orders on having even a small tipple before getting behind the wheel.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety report says that the current 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood should be cut to 50mg per 100ml of blood.

This will bring England and Wales’ limits in line with Scotland and most other European countries.

Critically, there is a recommendation that the drink-drive limit should be reduced down to 0mg for newly qualified and young drivers.

Time for change

The report believes that the current laws simply aren’t deterring enough people from driving over the limit as there has been a 63% drop in police enforcement of drink-diving laws since 2009.

This has led to some drivers thinking they won’t get caught if they are over the limit.

The net result? Data reveals that since 2010, 230-40 people on average a year have died due to a collision with a driver over the limit.

Pandemic making matters worse

The study highlights a concern that the pandemic has led to an increase in people with alcohol issues.

It states: “The Covid pandemic is likely to have worsened the risks as alcohol consumption, mental health pressures and traffic speeds have all increased, as other countries have reported increases in road deaths during lockdown periods, partly due to drink driving.”

More powers for the police

The report calls for several additional measures to support the reduction including an increase in level of police enforcement and more powers for the police so they can carry out alcohol testing on any driver.

The current system only allows police to carry out a breath test on a driver if they believe the motorist has been driving, has committed a moving traffic offence, or has been involved in an accident.

The government has said it is taking the report’s findings under consideration.

How much is too much?

Under the current 80mg per 100ml limit, one pint or a glass of wine for most us is the absolute limit before we risk testing positive for drink driving.

Bear in mind though that this is not an exact science and is dependent on a myriad of factors from age, weight and tolerance levels through to how much alcohol is in, say, that pint of high strength lager.

In other words, just a single pint or a glass of wine could be enough to push you over the limit.

Game over

If caught drink-driving, the ramifications for your driving career are huge. You may get:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a driving ban for at least one year
  • oh, and good luck finding an insurer to insure you at an even remotely affordable price once your driving ban is over.

Our advice? If you are driving, don’t drink full stop.

As a newly qualified driver, it’s best to be in total control at all times – and even a small amount of alcohol can impact on awareness.

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Main image © West Midlands Police