A change in the law to lower the drink-drive limit in line with other countries in Europe may have moved a step closer.
Proposals to cut the limit to 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood are to form part of a Government consultation later this year.
The current limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood but 50mg would mean that motorists could be driving illegally after just one drink.
Road Safety Minister Stephen Ladyman said the government, which has already been reviewing the law, was in favour of cutting the limit.
But he said that ministers wanted first to see evidence that the police are able to enforce the current level.
He told The Times: ‘I think it will happen. The consultation will include lowering the limit.
‘It depends on how quickly we get enforcement at 80mg. If you go to 50mg before you have effective enforcement at 80mg people will just ignore the 50mg level.’
A Transport Department spokeswoman said: ‘As part of our latest road safety review in February we said we would keep under review the case for a lower drink drive limit.
‘The UK already has stringent penalties for drink driving, and better enforcement than many countries, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better.
‘We have said many times that we plan to explore ways of making drink driving enforcement easier for police.
‘This will take the form of a consultation later in the year – and until that is complete it is impossible to say what measures may or may not be taken forward.’
The proposals come as it emerged the UK no longer has the safest roads in Europe, according to a report.
The country has lost its top ranking position in the European road safety league as progress on reducing the number of road deaths has been slower than in other countries.
The UK now has a higher number of road deaths per million population than the Netherlands and Sweden, according to the European Transport Safety Council’s (ETSC) first Road Safety PIN Report.
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