Sunday, 25 September 2011

Alex Attwood wants tougher drink-driving laws

Breathalyser Alex Attwood proposes the most radical change to drink-driving laws in 40 years
Northern Ireland's environment minister has outlined his proposals to change the drink-driving laws.
Alex Attwood says he wants to cut the limit from its current level of 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml, in line with many countries in Europe.
There would be another, lower, limit of 20mg/100ml for young drivers and people who earn their living from driving.
Mr Attwood also wants to give police powers to randomly stop drivers without the need for reasonable suspicion.
He also proposes, in certain circumstances, removing drivers' right to opt for a blood or urine sample instead of a breath test.
Other plans include:
The minister said that while much progress had been made towards eliminating a drink-drive culture, more work needed to be done.
He said that over the past five years, 75 people had been killed and 463 seriously injured by drivers impaired on drink or drugs.
"This is totally unacceptable and I am determined to do what I can to tackle this issue once and for all," Mr Attwood added.
"I have listened to the public on this. There is widespread public support for a step change in how we deal with drink drivers and I believe that what I am proposing will make a real difference."
Such a change would put Northern Ireland on a different legal standing to the rest of the UK.
However, there have recently been discussions about dropping the drink-driving limit in the Republic of Ireland.
The 50mg/100ml applies in several European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Some of the countries have variations, with newly-qualified drivers in Spain having a lower limit.



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