Single drink can put drivers over limit: Britain

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London, Dec 1 (UNI) Drivers in Britain can soon find themselves over the legal alcohol limit just after a peg.

In a drive to reduce the drink drive limit, the government was proposing a lower alcohol limit and random breath tests.

Police would also be given the power to stop and breathalyse drivers at random, even if their driving gives no cause for concern.

A Department for Transport consultation to be launched next year would propose reducing the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving by almost half.

It is thought that the limit could be cut from 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood to 50mg. The present limit allows as many as four units of alcohol, or two pints of normal-strength beer for men.

Women can drink three units, the equivalent of a large glass of average strength wine.

The new law would bring Britain into line with most other European nations.

Road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick yesterday said the Government would consider a lower limit.

''There is always an argument for zero tolerance. We are going to be consulting early in the new year on whether to keep the limit as it stands or drop it, and whether to introduce random breath testing of motorists.'' There is concern that the new generation of drivers has no memory of the highly effective campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s to make drink-driving socially unacceptable.

Some road safety experts believe recently qualified drivers were more likely to take the wheel under the influence of alcohol than their parents were.

Nonetheless, almost half of drivers think that it was acceptable to have at least one drink before getting behind the wheel.

The plans were called ''gesture politics'' by Paul Smith, who heads the Safe Speed road safety campaign group. ''This is completely useless,'' he said, adding the only effective way of reducing accidents was putting more police on the roads.

UNI

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