The country’s most high profile motoring lawyer is calling on the government to introduce tougher legislation for drink drivers in England.
The call from Nick Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, comes as Scotland prepares to push through a bill to lower the legal limit from 80 to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
This lower blood-alcohol level, part of new legislation proposed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, is expected to be passed into law at a special session of Parliament in August, having gained widespread support in Holyrood.
It will bring Scotland into line with much of continental Europe who have already introduced the 50mg limit.
Mr Freeman says that it is “time the rest of the United Kingdom follows suit”, and is insisting Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin takes decisive action.
In 2012, the Department for Transport estimated the number of casualties in reported drink drive accidents that year to be almost 10,000. The figure includes some 280 fatalities – 16 per cent of all road deaths in 2012.
Mr Freeman said: “The time to introduce tougher legislation for drink driving is long overdue.
“The vast majority of countries in Europe have already reduced the legal limit to this 50mg level and for good reason.
“At the current level the chances of a driver having an accident increase four-fold. This doesn’t sit comfortably with a government which professes to be concerned about road safety.
“In the last 20 years we have seen the number of casualties resulting from drink driving in this country fall by two thirds, but we are still seeing 10,000 a year – that is far, far too many.
“A 50mg limit means that for many people just one drink is likely to render them unable to drive legally and the risk of prosecution will deter most from having that drink at all.”
Mr Freeman added: “With Scotland preparing to introduce this lower limit, we are now facing a situation whereby somebody could, in theory, have a drink and still drive in England, yet on crossing the border to Scotland be over the limit.
“By reducing England’s drink drive limit to 50mg, not only would we be eliminating any confusion along the border, we would bring ourselves into line with the rest of Europe.
“It would send an extremely strong message to motorists; that is simply do not drink and drive!”
Mr Freeman added: “We all know the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol; its massive impact on judgement and reaction times, but clearly awareness isn’t enough.
“That is why I am calling on the Transport Secretary to employ a greater deterrent by reducing the legal limit to 50mg per 100ml of blood, improving the safety of our roads.”
For Further Information, please contact:
Nick Freeman, 0161 236 7007
David Simister, Different PR, on 0845 389 26 26 / 07870 550 760