Select Committee on European Communities Sixteenth Report


17 March 1998

  By the Select Committee appointed to consider Community proposals, whether in draft or otherwise, to obtain all necessary information about them, and to make reports on those which, in the opinion of the Committee, raise important questions of policy or principle, and on other questions to which the Committee considers that the special attention of the House should be drawn.



2452/89 (COM(88) 707 final): Draft Directive relating to the maximum permitted blood alcohol concentration for vehicle drivers


  1.    A package of measures rather than any one single measure would be the most effective way to tackle drink driving (paragraphs 85 and 115).

  2.    Drivers with Blood Alcohol Concentrations (BACs) well in excess of the legal limit and new, young drivers are the most important target groups (paragraph 86).

  3.    Concentration on drinking drivers is out of proportion to the effort put into reducing other causes of road accidents in the United Kingdom (paragraph 88).

  4.    More research should be undertaken into the effects of drugs on driving performance (paragraph 89).

  5.    Much of the progress made in reducing the number of casualties caused by drink driving is due to the stringent penalties on those who disregard the law (paragraph 90).

  6.    The permitted BAC for drivers in the United Kingdom should be reduced from 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml (paragraph 114).

  7.    There should be no reduction in the minimum disqualification period of 12 months at the 50mg/100ml level in the United Kingdom (paragraph 91).

  8.    A second-tier limit of 150mg/100ml should be introduced in the United Kingdom (paragraph 92). At 150mg/100ml, more stringent minimum penalties should apply (paragraph 93).

  9.    At a level of 150mg/100ml a convicted drink driver in the United Kingdom should be classified a High Risk Offender (HRO) (paragraph 98).

  10.    The HRO scheme in the United Kingdom should be improved by incorporating many features of schemes currently existing in Sweden and Germany (paragraph 99).

  11.    The Committee does not favour different limits or different penalties for new young drivers, for whom specific targeted education is particularly important (paragraph 100).

  12.    The Committee considers that police officers in Great Britain should receive better training on the extent of their powers to stop and breathalyse motorists (paragraph 102).

  13.    The Committee considers that United Kingdom legislation gives the police sufficient powers and, therefore, does not support the introduction of random breath testing or of unfettered discretion in police powers (paragraphs 103-104). The Committee does, however, support targeted enforcement by the police (paragraph 105).

  14.    Evidential roadside testing should be introduced in the United Kingdom as a priority (paragraph 106).

  15.    Road policing should be made a core policing priority in Great Britain (paragraph 107).

  16.    The Committee supports the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' message "None for the road" in restating that it is not safe to drink and drive at all (paragraph 108).

  17.    The specific problems of combining drinking and driving should be emphasised in general education about alcohol in United Kingdom schools (paragraph 109).

  18.    The use of home breathalysers and ignition interlock devices would encourage more personal responsibility in the decision whether to drink and drive (paragraph 110).

  19.    Whilst the Committee supports a reduction in the permitted BAC level for drivers in the United Kingdom (paragraph 114), we do not support a European Community Directive harmonising drink driving limits. Setting the permitted BAC for drivers is a matter for Member States (paragraph 116).

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