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19 December 2014, 07:08
Three in four motorists would like to see a lower drink-drive legal limit in England and Wales, according to a survey.
As many as 43% want the limit to fall from the current 80mg level to just 20mg (effectively a zero-tolerance figure), while a further 31% favour a 50mg limit - the level just introduced in Scotland.
Only 26% want the limit to stay the same, the survey of 1,000 drivers by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line found.
The survey also showed that 95% of drivers wanted repeat drink-drive offenders to face higher penalties, with 89% saying these offenders should have special "alcolocks'' fitted to their vehicles to prevent them moving off if over the limit.
Brake is calling on politicians to commit to a 20mg limit in their parties' general election manifestos.
Brake deputy chief executive Julie Brake said: "It is often said that the UK has some of the safest roads in the world, but there is no room for complacency - not least on drink-driving, which remains one of the biggest killers.
"The UK has now slipped off the top of the European road safety rankings, and without critical progress, including the introduction of a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit, we will be left further behind.''
She went on: "The current drink-drive limit in England and Wales sends a confusing message and asks drivers to do the impossible - guess when they are under the limit, and guess when they are safe to drive.
"In reality, even very small amounts of alcohol impair driving, so the only safe choice is not to drink at all before driving. The law needs to make that crystal clear.
"We're also appealing to the public in in the run up to Christmas to show zero tolerance on drink-driving, and pledge to never get behind the wheel after any amount of alcohol.''
Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said: "Britain already has tough penalties to tackle drink-driving and the Government believes increased enforcement is a more effective deterrent than a change in the law.
"We are removing the automatic right for drivers who fail a breathalyser test to demand a blood and urine test. High-risk offenders are now also required to prove they are no longer alcohol-dependent before being allowed to drive.''
RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: "Having two different drink-drive limits within the UK is a recipe for confusion.
"Our own research of motorists found demand for a harmonised limit with 38% supportive of the new Scottish limit being rolled out across the UK. In fact, 23% of UK drivers would actually prefer to go a step further and have a total ban on consuming any alcohol before driving.
"There is a very clear underlying feeling among motorists that the current limit outside Scotland is too high and that the rest of the UK should be following Scotland's lead.''