PCC backs bid to lower drink-drive limit

Northumbria PCC Vera Baird.
Northumbria PCC Vera Baird.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird is calling on peers to support the bill to lower the drink-driving limit this week.

On Friday, the House of Lords will debate lowering the drink-driving limit as part of the Road Traffic Act.

Commissioner Baird, along with her colleagues, Ron Hogg, PCC for Durham and Barry Coppinger, PCC for Cleveland, have written to the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, making him aware of their support for Lord Brooke’s Private Members' Bill to reduce the limit.

Northumberland is in a situation whereby residents could be driving from home in Berwick over the border, thinking it is safe to do so as the limit is 80mg/100ml, while in Scotland it is much lower at 50mg.

Lowering the limit would also save lives and prevent many more road accidents. When Scotland lowered the drink-driving limit, offences went down by 17 per cent in the first three months alone. Lowering the limit would also save an estimated £300million annually, by reducing the cost to the police and ambulance services and cutting hospital admissions.

Ms Baird said: "The three PCCs for the North East are determined to do all that we can to make our roads safer. The Government continues to tell us that tackling drink-driving 'remains a priority' – but they have done very little to make change happen. The peers now have an opportunity to deliver a message to government – that one way to reduce death and injury on our roads is to lower the current drink-drive limit in England and Wales."

A survey by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, found that 84 per cent of residents supported the reduction measure.

Ms Baird added: "I'm adding my support to the many local residents calling for a lower drink-drive limit. If we can get this into law now, I know that many lives will be saved in the weeks, months and years ahead. As the Northumbria force borders onto Scotland, many local residents could be abiding the drink-drive limit in our region, but find themselves breaking the law in Scotland."